C U in the NT and the Festival State
The seven-day trip from Alice Springs to Adelaide showed me the true Australia. The Outback in all its glory! I took a plane from Sydney to Alice Springs and the landscape was beautiful to watch change, from the intense city landscape to the beauty of the barren centre of the country. I decided to take this journey with a tour company. I barely trusted myself to drive in Tassie and driving in the Outback sounded overwhelming. I decided to join up with Groovy Grape as a mate told me they had a great time on the same tour. After spending a leisurely day in Alice Springs, I woke up the following day at 6 am to join the tour group to head to Kings Canyon. We stopped on the way at a camel farm at Kings Creek Station, which I opted not to ride a camel as I have done before. I hadn’t done much research apart from Uluru so King’s Canyon was a welcome surprise. We started the afternoon trek and it had some absolutely stunning views. I would definitely suggest anyone heading to Uluru to check this place out. The Garden of Eden was beautiful and serene. It was absolutely still and it felt untouched. Apart from the massive hill at the beginning of the trek it’s relatively easy.
The following day we headed off to Uluru, stopping on the way at Mount Conner Lookout and the salt field close to it. Also popping in at Curtin Springs which seemed like the only place for a crazy amount of miles. Then we had our first glimpses of Uluru. Our first stop was the cultural centre to learn more about the rock and the Aboriginal people of the region. After this short tour we did a base walk of Uluru. This is not for the faint of heart on a sunny day. I drank so much water. I was told the key to trekking in the Outback is you should have to pee on the bushwalks. If you aren’t then you started drinking either too late or not enough. It was surreal seeing Uluru in person. I’ve seen millions of images of this site and nothing prepared for me the up close and personal experience. The rock is huge and our base walk was about 11km. Our guide was kind enough to explain the stories of the rock and the legends that the rock shows. It was so interesting! It’s so much more than what it seems. I had no idea about how sacred this site was and that it is inappropriate to even climb Uluru. The day ended with a great sunset over Uluru with a good beer. The changing colors were fantastic and the beer I had was much needed after that day. The only downside is we were there during the super moon, the moon looked great but we didn’t get the epic night sky of the Outback. That has been a true downer for me. All the more reason to head back, right?
We had a 4 am wakeup call the next day to make sunrise at Uluru. It was surprisingly chilly in the morning which I felt unprepared for with my light rain jacket. However, the view made up for it and it quickly warmed up. After the epic sunrise, we headed off to Kata Tjuta (Valley of the Winds) which was my favorite part of the trip. I didn’t know what I was up for on this trek. It was amazing! I didn’t expect this at all. The views were stunning. We started off by going to the viewing point to take in the site then we set off for a trek in the site. It was a hot day so we started quite early and left before noon. The pictures should tell enough. I didn’t realize how sacred this site was so apparently you aren’t supposed to take pictures (oops!). It was a truly picturesque place however and I was astounded by what was around me. That night we watched sunset of Uluru and Kata Tjuta from our campsite before a long day of driving crossing the border into South Australia.
The next morning was an early one too. We stopped over in Coober Pedy for the night. This is been claimed as Australia’s weirdest city because people live in caves. They’re not actually caves but everyone lives underground because it’s too hot to have a house on top of the ground. It’s pretty unusual. We took a tour at their tourism centre to see how they found opal their and how they dig the opal mines. It was interesting to learn about how they polish the opal and the difference in what makes a good opal. After this tour, we walked around the tiny city of Coober Pedy going to the Catholic church that’s also underground. We stopped by the Kangaroo orphanage that’s located in Coober Pedy and got to pet a young roo. I love learning about the wildlife of Australia! Plus petting a kangaroo always tops my list of a good time. That night we had pizza and went to an underground bar that was filled with mainly locals and a few tourists. We got to request music so we had a good time. We stayed in a cave that was the coolest thing ever. So dark and cool! Had an amazing sleep!
The next day we were off on the road again. We had a few stops that day. The first up was Lake Hart which is a massive salt field. It seemed like it was never ending. Just a massive expanse of white salt. I even bothered to lick it and yes it was rather salty, who would’ve thought? We were told that sometimes they test cars for going the fastest out there but I couldn’t find anything to confirm it. It was still beautiful. The next stop was Woomera a little town known for the RAAF testing range. We went to the cultural center and looked around at all the missiles they had around the town. Our last big stop of the day was Alligator Gorge at Mt Remarkable National Park. After the last few days this site seemed a bit underwhelming for me. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs for bit. That night we spent at a campsite in Wilmington. I was quite ready to have a mini-lie in before heading off to Adelaide and sleep in a bed.
The next day we headed to our final destination. I was so excited for wine tasting in the Clare Valley! I wanted to have a day to relax after days of hiking and too much sunshine (I didn’t even know that was possible). We went to Jeannert Wines and I quite possibly had the best cider ever. I could’ve had so many of them too. It was great to try a decent selection. There was a wine for everyone in the group. It was extra special because they also had beers and cider. The location was truly lovely! I loved all the flowers. It seemed so quaint. We had our last lunch together as a group and headed off to Adelaide.
Adelaide is Radelaide! There’s so many parks and the city was so easy to walk. However, I felt like there wasn’t that much to see as a whole. I suppose coming from Sydney I am jaded. I still found stuff to do in the extra day I had before flying back to Sydney. I headed to the South Australian Museum. This was the highlight of Adelaide. They had some cool exhibits on but I really liked the Australian Aboriginal Cultures section. It was really insightful as I can definitely say I don’t much about the history of Australia. Also, I enjoyed the minerals exhibit on one of the top floors. After that I went to a restaurant to get tacos- Latino Cocino. I got the tostada and it hit my Mexican food spot. I’m always on the search for the best Mexican food around the world. Then, I took a nice stroll around the botanical gardens with a mate of mine followed by going to Koko Black to have the salted caramel delice. The desserts there were to die for. Finally heading to the airport to head back home.
Overall, the week was exhausting and inspirational. Seeing this much of Australia and seeing such iconic places as Uluru was a gift. Australia is truly a beautiful country and I’m so glad to call it my home away from home. I would suggest anyone to do this trip and in the least go to Uluru and be amazed by all its beauty.