So off I went to Alice Springs for a few days to visit the centre of Australia and more importantly to go and see the one and only other thing I had on my (not very extensive) ‘must do whilst I’m in Australia’ list – go to Uluru.
Alice Springs was kind of what I expected, a small-ish town/city, with not a lot to do there. Although we did visit the Flying Doctors. As a tourist, any longer than a week and I think you’d struggle for things to do. But I did have a didgeridoo lesson…Rolf Harris is quaking in fear.
Whilst we were there they also held the Henley-On-Todd Regatta – a boat race, without water. In fact it was called off one year because there was too much rain. Apart from running up and down a dry river bed with home made ‘boats’. Amongst the highlights were sand skiing, sand shovelling and a bath tub derby. It all sounds a bit yokel-ish, but it was actually good fun.
We started our 3 day camping tour to the rock, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6am on the Sunday morning and after a few hours drive walked around Kings Canyon. After getting up so called Heart Attack Hill, it was a nice walk with some amazing views.
After a brief stop to collect firewood at the side of the road, we arrived at where we would sleep for the night – it was just in the middle of nowhere, no facilities to speak of. The good thing about that was that I’ve never seen so many stars in my life. Looking up at the sky was like being in a planetarium – (or is a planetarium like being out in the Australian outback?).
Our sleeping facilities for the next 2 nights was inside a swag – basically a big canvas sleeping bag which you put a normal sleeping bag inside. At this time of year it was needed as it got down to about 4 degrees at night. Getting to sleep wasn’t easy though as there were jumping mice running all over the place. Just as I’d start to nod off, one would be running up the side or across the top of the swag.
Next day we went to Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), which was an amazing walk. I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t looked into what The Olgas were but again, some of the views were spectacular
After that we went onto Uluru, done a small walk around the base and then off to aviewing point to watch sunset.
A few beers where had whilst trying to pose for typical tourist pictures. We stayed at a different camp site that night, one with proper toilets and showers (I quite like roughing it, so I was disappointed I could get washed). Another early start the next day to see sunrise meant not a lot of sleep again, but seeing the sunrise come up just to the left of Uluru was fantastic.
My mum passed away 10 years ago and whilst I was at Uluru it was her birthday. So that was kind of weird given it was a big thing for me to be there. To be there on what would’ve been her birthday was odd. Even more of a coincidence that it was my friend who picked all the dates we went, without knowing it was significant to me. I’m sure my mum would be proud if she was still alive “look at the state of him at Uluru..Ayers Rock…or whatever you call it…” 🙂
For me, it was quite surreal being there, even now a week later, I’m still looking at the pictures amazed I was there. People keep asking me if it was spiritual experience or anything like that. I don’t know. I didn’t feel anything like that, but like the TV series Lost, I feel like I want to go back, but I’m not sure why!