AND…….TheRestOfTheTrip.

6 02 2011

Items I have learned:
-swags – the Australian version of a sleeping bag.. kinda. Its complete with a mattress pad in the bottom!

-Australians, or at least the ones in the outback, are incredibly PROUD of the scores of dangerous animals/creatures/whatever around… If they are ever biten by one its pretty much considered the best thing ever. Scott (our tour guide) shared multiple stories of him and his friends being bitten by spiders. The key being how long they all waited to seek medical treatment because “it wasn’t so bad.” Scott actually got bit by a spider.. and then decided to go surfing for a weekend! He came back and his huge ass bite burst. It took blood gushing all over his bed before he FINALLY decided that oh I dunno.. maybe he should go to the hospital. Ok, if I was EVER bitten by ANYTHING… I would be at the hospital within minutes… not decide to take a weekend surfing trip and sort it out when I get back! Nuts.

Helen, Sonya and I sitting on our swags

Helen, Sonya and I sitting on our swags


So finishing off day one, we went to a lookout to watch the sunset over Uluru and have dinner. I was impressed with Scott’s cooking abilities, especially considering he could cook better than I can with out ANY kitchen appliances!
After sunset we drove into the Ayers Rock campgrounds.. and set up camp.
We didn’t actually have any tents, we all slept outside in our swags. The weather was still so HOT that many people just slept on top of them. Being the wuss that I am, I slept inside as I didn’t want any bugs/insects/spiders/ANYTHING crawling on me.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Day 2 – Kata Tjuta and the Valley of the Winds Walk

It was up at 4:30am the next morning to see the sunrise. Now given the fact that I HATE the mornings, I expected to be pissed and cranky. But surprisingly, I was wide awake and ready for the day.

Now there are flies pretty much EVERYWHERE out there. They are a different breed than the ones at home. They are smaller, and pretty much live to annoy humans. Ok, well maybe that’s not a factual statement but whatever. They are drawn to sweat/liquid, so they will fly to eye balls, nostrils, ear.. etc. And don’t batting them away does anything… they are aggressive little bastards. ANYWAY. We wake up to go and see the sunrise. Because we were sitting and not moving around.. the flies seemed to be about 10 times worse. They were relentless, and arrived even before the sun!

After quality time with the sun/flies it was off to eat breakfast and drive over to Kata Tjuta. Kata Tjuta consists of 36 domes, it’s name means “many heads.”

Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta

We did the Valley of the Winds walk in the morning. Because we were out and about at 7:30am, I was actually able to enjoy this walk. It was ONLY about 30 degrees rather than the 45 it was the day before. The other great thing about this walk was that there was a pretty constant breeze the entire time. The walk took about 3 hours and ended up with us making it to this amazing lookout.

Valley of the winds walk

Valley of the winds walk

Helen and I

Helen and I


Scott talked all about the geology of the place, but not being so incredibly interested in the types of sediment around.. all I could pretty much tell you is that it is all held together by sandstone… I think? Meh.

 

After the trek it was back to the campsite for some lunch. We then drove off to Kings Canyon where we would be camping that night and exploring the following day.

Now Scott was not a bad looking Australian, he had that whole mountain man/scruffy thing going on for him. But BECAUSE of that.. I got the wonderful pleasure of having this girl on the tour basically monopolize my seat on the bus (I was sitting right in back if the drivers seat). In her attempt to impress our tour guide I got to hear ALL about how many jello wrestling competitions she won, how many baskets of fruit she was able to pick, how strong she is, how everyone under estimates her, and finally how she doesn’t need a man. Whatever. A few minutes of this and it got annoying.. but we are not just talking about about a few minutes.. she sat there and “chatted” pretty much every second we were in the bus..

So the car rides were REALLY fun. Anyway, we drove to kings canyon and set up camp. Stopping briefly along the way to pick up, literally PICK off the trees.. some fire wood. My contribution was pretty much just standing there and watching everyone else tear down the trees (I found out later that the bark was toxic and that if you happened to get a splinter, you would need to seek medical attention)

There was a pool at the camping grounds (and HUGE spiders in the toilets… I kid you not). We cooled off in the pool only to go back to a bonfire and warm right back up again. Why the hell Scott felt the need to have a bonfire when it was 40 something degrees that day… Im’ not sure.
It was a full moon that night, it was actually pretty amazing to see.

Day 3 – Kings Canyon
The last and final day of the tour. Again we were up bright and early to go to Kings Canyon. Kings Canyon consists of a really steep hike for the first 15 minutes. I literally felt like my legs were made of jelly during part of it.. obviously I am INCREDIBLY fit… not. Anyway. You have to climb to the top of the canyon first, but after that you have this amazing 2-3 hour walk, with gorgeous lookouts and amazing scenery. Uluru was my favorite thing to see on this trip, but Kings Canyon was my favorite walk.

Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon

So there is a watering hole in the middle of the walk. Now, all I heard was the other tour guides talk about how dirty the water is, and how there had been a brown snake in there the week before. So, some how I opted to not jump in. But half the group did.

watering hole in Kings Canyon

watering hole in Kings Canyon

After Kings Canyon, we stopped and ate lunch, and then made the drive back to Alice Springs. That night we all made plans to meet back up at “the rock bar” (yes the tour company I went with ALSO owns a bar) later on that night to eat dinner and hang out. The evening was fun, but Scott left with out saying good bye. We had managed to make a few friends with some of the other tour guides.. and you know being the nice considerate person that I am.. I decided to share with them just how thrilled we all were with Scotts disappearing act (meaning.. we weren’t at all).

Anyway, long story short the next day I was wandering around Alice Springs (I had one last day in Alice Springs before I would fly back to Melb) and I ran into Scott. Well.. it turns out that his house was broken into and his roommate was beaten up. Yeaaaah.. awesome. I felt like a jack ass. Whoops.

Day 4 – Alice Springs

Given the tempature and my lazyness, the majority of the day was spent in the pool at the hostel. But, I did manage to make it out in the morning and go to the Aboriginal musuem. As I stated earlier, what I really liked about this trip was being able to learn a bit more about the aboriginal community. The museum itself was nice, and I really did like the fact that they were showcasing Aboriginal Art. The only fact that I didnot like, is that there is a lot of infomration that the Aborigine people keep to themselves, info that they have to go through ceremonies/study/etc in order to be able to access it, and parts of this museum sort of made some of that information readily available. Granted, I understand why they would do that, the goal is to educate the world about the aborigine culture and traditions, but at the same time if the aborigines themselves want this information to be secret, then shouldn’t we respect their wishes?
Anyway, one artist in particular stood out to me. Her name was Emily Kame Kngwarreye. She only learned to paint when she was 80 years old. 80! She gained a lot of success towards the end of her life, and her paintings were used to provide income to her whole community. I was able to see a painting called the “earth’s creation” which sold for just over $1 million, which at the time was a world record price for aboriginal art. In her description of her work, Emily wrote that she painted “a whole lot.”

Earths Creation - photo courtesy of www.aboriginalartnews.com.au

Earths Creation - photo courtesy of http://www.aboriginalartnews.com.au

After my adventures in the city, it was back to the hostel to relax, unwind and fly back to Melb.

Our Group - The Rock Tour

Our Group - The Rock Tour

All in all – it was a FANTASTIC trip. Probably the best tour I have EVER done. I highly recommend it to anyone who happens to get a chance to go.

 


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