Catsnstuff Down Under – 4.3: Alice Springs to Adelaide. Really!

When I flew from Perth to Alice Springs, I was really excited, because you fly over Uluru (Ayers Rock). Of course, I was having a conversation with the guy next to me and managed to miss the announcement of the pilot and the fact that half the plane had run over to the side where you could see the rock. Also, I was sitting next to the engine of the plane, which blocked the window (I had no vision whatsoever) and made a shitload of noise, so there went the possibility to see what I think is biggest monolith on earth from the sky. Hey, that can happen you know!

When I arrived in Alice Springs, I stayed in a lovely hostel. The guy that picked me up, Rex, mentioned that he had a friend in Amsterdam. When I asked him what her name was he said ‘Bregtje’. She just happens to be one of my best friends, so that was a nice coincidence in the middle of the desert of Australia! I was to be picked up early in the morning by the tour company, so I made it an early night. I was kind of dreading it, because I heard from two different people that the company had one terrible tour guide who could only swear a lot and get drunk and who was really rude. His name is Nathan, they told me, so if you get him, you’re screwed.

So there I was, waiting for the tour bus. When it arrived, an unshaven guy staggered over to me and announced in a voice that indicated years of dedicated smoking that his name was Nathan. Wow. In the bus he yelled to the group that there would be loads of drinking the coming week, and my heart sank. I don’t drink, and being around drunk people is no fun for me. But BOY was I proven wrong. In the week that followed I had so much fun and I loved everyone on the bus (yes, Nathan too), made great friends and I can’t remember laughing that much ever. Just a reminder to myself that everybody experiences things different and that not everything is always as it seems. Ok, enough reflection, time for the rest of the story!

The first day of the tour, we didn’t do much, just a lot of driving (which I did a lot of in Australia, on this tour about 3000 kilometers). We slept by the campfire in swags. For those of you who don’t know, swags are basically matresses with a canvas exterior where you crawl in to with your sleeping bag. Also, you have to stuff the swag with all the clothes and other warm stuff you have, because when you sleep in the desert it can become very cold at night. When we were there is was around two to ten degrees Celcius a.k.a. freezing your t*ts of as Nathan so eloquently pointed out. It looks a little something like this:

Thanks Craig!
Picture stolen from Craig’s Facebook ;).

After a very cold night indeed we headed for a walk in Kings Canyon. It was a lovely walk, except for the beginning where a climb called Heart attack Hill nearly killed me. I’m still a bit lazy, and on Fijian relaxing mode, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:


Miniature rock formations in Kings Canyon.


Petrified sand that used to be at the bottom of the sea.


Close up of the formation of Kings Canyon.

Then it was on to  Uluru (Ayers Rock) to see the sunset there. But then our bus, Cricket, became seriously bogged in the loose desert sand while we were collecting firewood:

It took a giant tour bus to pull us out, but in the end we did make the sunset:

The next day, we woke up to see the sunrise at Uluru, which was really gorgeous. I heard the Rock changes colour, from brown to bright orange, and that was totally true:

After the sunrise, we were of to Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) for a walk. The shape of the hills there is very unique, and the Aboriginals believe them to be the heads of their ancestors. I hope I never turn into a rock, especially since my head was looking like this because of the cold:

Charming no? Anyway, the walk was great, and the scenery was really breathtaking:

Then we had to walk up to the Valley of the Winds, a beautiful spot in Kata Tjuta where most of the time, the wind is blowing quite hard. Getting up there was sadly reminiscent of Heart attack Hill, so they really should think of a name for that amble to, like Cardiac Climb.


Valley of the Winds

Then we were of to Uluru, to walk around the base of the Rock. It was gorgeous, up close there are so many things to see that you never see in pictures. This is because it is illegal to photograph most of the sites because they are sacred to Aboriginals. Some are not, so luckily I can at least post some pics:


Wave rock


Drawings


More drawings

After the walk, we made our way back to the cultural centre. I thought it would be located near the Rock, but no, we had to walk another half hour in the heat, and I had a more than full bladder. When we arrived at the center, we found out the shop with food and drink had just closed. Since we were the hungriest group I’ve ever travelled with the morale was very low. We waited for Nathan to come and bring us snacks, and when he did, we attacked like a pack of wolves. It was like we hadn’t eaten in days, and the enormous amounts of snacks were devoured literally within minutes:

Look at the ecstasy on those faces people!

The next day was a lot of fun. Even though we just drove and drove and drove all day, the bus was going crazy. We were playing hangman on the bus windows with whiteboard markers and charades in the front of the bus.


Drawing in the bus. For an x-rated sheep cartoon, check out my Flickr page


Lukas playing charades.

We spent the night in Coober Pedy, a town where the main source of income is opal. Since people have been digging in Coober’s hills for such a long time, they have perfected making houses in them. So, we slept in a cave and explored the underground museum the day after:

The next day was another day of driving and bus hilarity, and we spent the night in a hostel that we had all to ourselves. Which was a good thing, because our group was so loud that I think the whole town was shaking from our roars and laughter. We spent most of the night playing pool, and as more and more people got a little boozed up, the louder we got.

After a very good night and quite a short sleep, we were of to Adelaide. We stopped for a nice barbecue with Nathan’s dad and uncle, so it was like a little family reunion. In Adelaide, the whole group went out for one last dinner together and after that we said goodbye. Thankfully, me, Lukas, Rahel and Jonas (hi guys!) booked a reservation at the same hostel, so we stayed together a little longer. Rahel and Jonas left on another tour shortly after, and I went to the airport to take my plane to Brisbane, leaving just Lukas behind. But not for long! Oh no, because my shuttle bus was delayed for 40 minutes which resulted in me missing my plane and trashing my glasses in a fit of rage. Hey, I have a bit of a temper sometimes (right Lukas).


Oops…

Well, the next day I made my flight to Brisbane, and since I only spent one night here I won’t be writing about it. Hopefully, my Fiji stories will be up here a little sooner. I can already tell you that I had a great time, met many wonderful people and fell in love with the country. The only downside is that I’m still pale as ever, because I never really got around to sunbathe a lot. But that’s a snag I’m more than happy to cope with! Love you all, and hopefully I’ll see you all soon when I’m back. Just a little more than a week to go…

Kisses, Lotte

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One Response to “Catsnstuff Down Under – 4.3: Alice Springs to Adelaide. Really!”

  1. shussmallworld Says:

    I am transported and transfixed by your story and by the incredible pictures. You have truly been living/enjoying a dream of mine that I don’t know if I’ll ever get to enjoy now. So I am so grateful to you for how perfectly your writing and sharing just puts me right there enjoying it all with you. But fortunately I don’t have the sore muscles from all the walking! 🙂

    I can’t wait to hear more!!!!

    Breathlessly,
    Shu

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