I woke up at 3:20am and caught the bus to Brisbane. (This trip was sponsored by the international office so everything was organized for us.) In Brisbane we caught a flight to Alice Springs and were on the ground in central Australia by noon. I don't know what I expected when I got to Alice Springs, but I didn't expect to see a green wonderland! Because of all the rain Australia has been getting, the Outback was green... not a red desert! So it was a unique chance to be there for a week!
All in all, there were about 23 students (I think) and three instructors. We got divided up into three groups, each with seven or eight students. Two groups traveled the route counter clockwise and one group traveled it clockwise. I ended up in the smaller group traveling by ourselves, which turned out to be perfect! I loved our small group and it was so neat to be able to do our own thing. "Jude's Tour Group" as we joking became known composed of myself, Amy, Ashley, Julia, Alyson, Kurt, Trent, Brain, and Jude - our guide.
After organizing food and eating lunch we headed out to Ellory Creek Big Hole about an hour or two drive away from Alice. Ellory Creek was a fun first camp site because it had a nice (cold!) waterhole and was perfect for day one of our journey. We got to sleep on the sand under the stars and it was amazing.
After waking up and eating a meal of Milo (similar to hot chocolate), powered milk, and cereal we packed up the rental Ute (truck) and headed to Ormistin Gorge. It was a beautiful gorge that was cut deep into the earth. We hiked the gorge and pound walk wich was about a three hour walk. The Ormostin Pound was a huge valley that would typically be red desert, but it looked at parts more like an oasis than desert.
Day three was madness... in the fact that we all got up at 2am to hike Mount Sonder. The hike was 18 kms round trip and it was hard. I came back with several blisters from that and I learned I am not a hiker. I'll stick to horses. But the hike was worth it to see the sunrise, but it was so windy and cold! Brrr!
We woke up, packed up, and headed out towards Kings Canyon on day four. The drive was long and all on red dirt roads. The roads were in good shape, but every so often we would hit a huge dip and send everyone in the back flying!
Today we walked about from the Amphitheater down to the car park and broke away from the other group. At the car park we ate some lunch and then hiked the rest of the King's Canyon circuit. The walk was really neat, but very touristy. King's Canyon itself was amazing! It was so unique and interesting. A fun hike for sure!
After making the loop we headed out into the middle of nowhere and made camp along the side of the road. We also had the best firewood getting experience ever. It involved knocking over trees with the bull grill on the front of the truck! So much fun!! We also told riddles around the fire and became a much closer group.
This was the day that we drove to Yulara (near Ayer's Rock). We stopped at Mt Conner Lookout, but otherwise the drive was pretty long. When I first saw Uluru (Ayer's Rock) in the distance it was really neat, but I was actually more excited to hike Kata Tjuata. Kata Tjuata is more sacred to the Aboriginal population and, to me, it was actually much prettier. It was one of my favorite hikes if I had to pick!
After the 2.5 hour walk we decided to walk up Walpa Gorge and watch the sunset. Apparently you aren't supposed to do this as a park ranger informed us when we got back to our truck, but it was worth it. It was so neat to chill with the group and tell stories. Plus we kept making echos in the canyon so it was neat!
Day Six was also neat because we got to go eat out at a restaurant called Pioneer Tavern. I'm sure I could have ordered something really interesting (like roo or croc) but I had steak. Yummy yummy steak. There was also live music and dancing so it was a fun night.
We headed back to Alice and then home to Lismore. I wish this could have lasted longer because I loved it. I love sleeping under the stars surrounded by people who love the same things I do. It was a great adventure! (All in all we hiked somewhere around 65kms and drove 1600 miles. A huge journey if you ask me!)
Dingos (Heard them at night, sounds like a coyote!)
Whistling Kites (Bird)
[Aussie Words Used this Trip]
Give it a Think