Saturday, 15 June 2013

Alice springs, Uluru and much more

If Uluru is Australia's world recognized figure as it stands on most postcards, it is easily thought that the rock is the only thing standing in the middle of no-where... which is not quite right. For this new post from the Australian Outback, here is what we've seen in our time in Central Australia, more less near the booming town of Alice Springs! 


Alice Springs, the not that lost town

Here in Australia, Alice Springs can't be named a town but a city. Over 20,000 people live full time here in Alice, right in the middle of the Australian continent. There "is" a river here, but most of the year it is just sand that runs in it, and  the city itself lives for it's major part from Tourism and some left over of old-days gold rushes, mining and cattle farming. 

We never planned to stay too much in town since nearly everybody encouraged us to not do so. So we booked ourselves onto a three days camping tour to cruise us around the regional highlights that are Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. If the first one sounds famous, listen up and remember this. The two others are actually much more worth the trip! So don't come out here just for Uluru, or you are just wasting your time and money. 

Three days around Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon 

Day 1 - Uluru 

 On the first day of our tour, we directly head over Uluru. The rock isn't close to town, it is about 450km south west of Alice. Arrived there, the view is as expected. Impressive. The massive rock just stands there as in the post cards. The Australian government made a great job to surround it with a national park that protects it since the 70s from the touristic fever.

At the rock we have two options. Walking around or climbing to the top. The second is not very well taken by aboriginals that worship Uluru (it's a bit like pissing on the wall of a cathedral some said), so we went for the base walk. Uluru is a massive rock. It took us about 3 hours to complete the 9km base walk around it before heading to the sunset viewing area.  

At night, we return to camp, prepare dinner (bbq of course) and make a fire. After that we climb a nearby hill with our swags (Australian style tent+sleeping bag all-in-one) and sleep there under the stars.  

Day 2 - Kata Tjuta 

The next day, we wake up early and rush with the bus to the Kata Tjuta sunrise viewing spot. There the colors were highly spectacular. I had some fun again shooting this short time lapse sequence of the sun rising over Kata Tjuta. The sun up, we head to that place called Kata Tjuta. It's a very old mountain formation near Uluru (40min drive) that's mean many heads (36 in total).

 There, time has carved the place in several remaining rocks that in some places created gaps, canyons and overall incredible views. There was some rain the week before we arrive in the region, so don't worry for the green in all the pictures, most of the time it isn't there. 

Back at camp for lunch, we cook up some mince for preparing wraps and jump back on the bus to drive all the way back to visit the Kings canyon on the next day. But before that, we make sure to pick up enough wood to have the most epic camp fire in da place!  

We arrived at the Kings Canyon camp at the end of the afternoon. What's up there? Well guess .... BBQ, beer, camp fire, beer and more beer. Again sleeping under the stars with our swags. Since our tour group is only made of 5, the evening went really well, and we all enjoyed having some marshmallows over the fire for desert.

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