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Into the Outback

sunny 43 °C
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So it turns out that flights to Uluru are really quite expensive so I flew from Syndey to Alice Springs and decided to go on a three day tour to visit Uluru.

Alice Springs is the biggest place for hours and hours in Australia's Red Centre and so it has kind of a weird mixture of people living there. It would seem that not many people are from Alice Springs, they tend to move there for work, or for many of the Aboriginal people living there, because they have been thrown out of their communities elsewhere.

Unfortunately, many of the Aboriginal people in Alice Springs have turned to drink and drugs, and so many tourists who meet an Aboriginal for the first time, really see those struggling to adapt to a life outside of their upbringing, this does nothing to mend a historically terrible relationship between the rest of Australia (mostly white Australians nee colonists, but not exclusively).

It's a pretty small town, considering it serves pretty much the whole of the middle of Australia. The most exciting thing I did when I arrived it purchase a rather expensive leather hat and fly net (very attractive and extremely necessary!). I'm actually very pleased with my hat, as you'll see from my photos!

The next morning I was picked up from my hostel at 6.30am but Justin, our tour leader for the next few days for my Alice to Alice tour with Adventure Tours.

Now I knew the Outback was huge, but let me just clarify, it's a really bloody large place. Alice Springs is 6 hours away from Uluru, and there is exactly one right turn. That's right, it's something like fourth ours on the first road, the big turn, followed by another two hours on the second road, and there's not a whole lot to see on the way.

We did stop at one service station that claims to be at the centre of the centre, but apparently there are many different definitions for that...I had a photo there anyway, because it seemed unlikely that I'd be at any of the other centres of the centre.

After we'd picked up some passengers from Uluru airport, we went straight to Kata Tjuta for a short walk through the domes. Kata Tjuta is not a very well known landmark, it gets forgotten next to the better known Uluru, or Ayers Rock, which you can just about see from there. But it's a beautiful natural landmark that really is worth a visit if you're in the area.

It was a short walk because it was a mere 43 degrees, which is, well very hot. Too hot to go for a long hike at any rate. That evening we went to watch the sunset at Uluru, which as you may know, glows a brilliant red when the sun sets and rises, as we saw the following morning.

Following a rather spectacular sunrise (it's absolutely worth the early morning), we went for the half base walk around Uluru. It was the first day of the year the the authorities had opened the path to climb Ayers Rock, and we were given the opportunity to do so. We were also given all the reasons why we shouldn't, the main one being that it's hugely disrespectful to the Aboriginal people who ask that people do not climb. I was therefore quite surprised and a bit disappointed that half of our group decided to climb it.

I however went on the half base walk, where you can read the aboriginal story which explains how Uluru came to exist, followed by a visit to the cultural centre during the hottest part of the day.

We then made the four hour journey to the Kings Canyon camp site, where for the second night we prepared to sleep in our swags, under the stars. Before we went to sleep, we joined another tour group for spot of star gazing and explanation of our breathtaking view of outer space.

We were up again at the crack of dawn to drive to Kings Canyon itself, for a hike. We went early firstly because it's far too hot in the middle of the day, and also because we had a six hour drive back to Alice Springs that afternoon.

Kings Canyon is actually a gorge, with a stunning view from the top, a Garden of Eden in the middle, a peaceful spot to rest out of the burning Outback sun. A lot of people miss this walk, but if you have the time and means to visit, then do stop by.

My visit to the Outback was unique to anywhere else I went on my trip, the distances are massive, and there are natural dangers (like 43 degree heat and snakes and such like, which thankfully I didn't see!) but if you're prepared and careful, it's an adventure worth having.

Posted by Rebecca Heller 07:01 Archived in Australia Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises desert uluru tour

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