Friday, April 17, 2009
Last week, I spent my spring break in the Australian Outback. After spending a couple of months in Sydney, it was great to see another side of Australia. The "Red Centre" is an amazing place, and I'm sure I'll never forget my time in Central Australia.
On Sunday, we flew into Ayers Rock Airport. Ayers Rock (also know by its aboriginal name, Uluru) is one of Australia's icons. Uluru rises 348 meters above the surrounding desert, making it a highly visible landmark. Iron minerals in the rock give it a red color, although the shades of red change throughout the day based on the position of the sun.
The first night, we went to a sunset dinner. Our bus took us out in the desert where the was a three course meal awaiting. After champagne and h'doeuvres at sunset, we had a buffet including kangaroo steak and barramundi and then a yummy desert bar. There was also a speaker who explained some of the stars and constellations. She pointed out the Southern Cross (which is on Australia's flag), Orion, and approximately half of the Zodiac signs. The other half are currently visible in the Northern hemisphere. Then we got to look through a telescope to see the rings on Saturn.
Monday morning we drove to Uluru. We did the Liru walk along the base led by two aboriginal guides and two translators. Along the way, they shared dreaming stories, taught us how to build a fire, showed us how some traditional tools were created, and even let us try spear throwing. Later that afternoon we did the Valley of the Winds hike at Kata Tjuta, also known as the Olgas. After a long day of hiking, we went to Mount Connor Bush Camp, where we were spent the night. After relaxing around the campfire, we literally slept out under the stars. The night sky was beautiful and we even saw a few shooting stars.
Tuesday morning we hiked to watch the sunrise. Even though we had to wake up at 6:30, it was definitely worth it!
Later that day we went to Kings Canyon where we did yet another hike around the rim of the canyon and down to a waterhole known as the Garden of Eden. That night we stayed in Safari tents and made s'mores around the campfire. Australia doesn't have graham crackers, but we made do with some cookies and of course chocolate and marshmallows.
Wednesday we had a pretty long drive from Kings Creek Station down to Alice Springs. Once we arrived in Alice Springs, we checked into the Desert Palms Resort, where we stayed for two nights. Also that night, we rode a camel to dinner. The camel ride was a lot of fun! For dinner, I had kangaroo steak again and I also tried some camel.
Our last day of the trip, we explored Alice Springs. We did some shopping and climbed Anzac Hill and Billy Goat Hill. Then we spent some time relaxing at the pool. Thursday night we had dinner and attended a digeridoo concert. For dinner, I had kangaroo steak again! The digeridoo concert was interesting, although it's not music I would listen to everyday. Finally, we went to the casino near the resort where I lost $2 playing slots.
I am very glad I got to make a trip to the Outback. It was really hot, there were flies everywhere, all of my stuff got covered in red dust, and I was exhausted from so much hiking, but I loved it. Seeing Uluru, sleeping under the stars, watching the sunrise, and many other experiences were simply incredible.
Now I am back in Sydney and the city life. It was weird coming back to Sydney, it was almost like being home. However, Sydney will never be able to compete with Transfer! Yesterday, Becky and I went to the Surry Hills Festival in one of Sydney's suburbs. There was live music and stalls with jewelry, art, clothes, food, and much more. Last night we met up with Wesley Buckwalter, a friend from PA. We went to see the Opera House and Bridge and the went out for dinner and drinks in the Rocks.
The next couple of weeks I have a lot of school work to do, but I also have another trip to look forward to...New Zealand! Becky and I leave in under two weeks for a 9 day trip.
Last, but not least, here are the links to some of my pictures from the Outback: