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My Journey to the Red Centre of OZ
It has been just over a week since my last update, yet it feels I have crammed in a couple of weeks worth of travel and sightseeing. My journey this week has seen me travel down the centre of Australia, and to Alice Springs, and more importantly, Uluru.
In Darwin I had the opportunity to take a one day tour of Litchfield National Park. As it turns out, the tour itself was a unforgettable experience. The day was packed full of interesting and exciting activities. I don’t know how we managed to fit it all in, especially as there was over 400km of travelling completed today in the mini bus.
We begun the day feeding the crocodiles, and watching as they leapt out of the water to grab their food. It was astonishing to see just how far these crocs could jump. We had free tea and coffee before heading onwards.
The rest of the day was spent visiting and swimming under beautiful waterfalls, tasting a few ants and termites, and discovering a little bit about the local plant life, as well as relaxing in a cool river. All in all, it was a really good day, spent with some cool people.
The journey south would be on the Ghan train, and would take approximately 23 hours to complete. It seemed an incredibly long time to be on a train, but we had a 3 hour stop off at Katherine to stretch the legs. Although the seats were spacious enough, they lacked in comfort somewhat, and this hindered the possibility of sleep. The train is painfully slow as well, stopping frequently for one reason or another. It was good to get a glimpse of the outback at any rate.
The arrival into Alice Springs was very welcome, and the following tour to Uluru was immensely enjoyable. It always helps to have a good group of people with you on tour, and I think this is one of the best I have been on in Australia in terms of the people. I really enjoyed every second.
Uluru (Ayres Rock) is a sight to behold as you travel ever nearer through the desert, passing through the absolute centre of Australia as you go. All about us were green trees and bushes, due to the wettest wet season on record last season. We also passed wild animals such as horse and camel. We did see one kangaroo, and it fell head over shoulders as we passed by, receiving a cheer from the guys on the coach, and sympathy from the girls. Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta were both incredible places to see as well. None of it is particularly red at the moment though, which is what I wanted to see, but I guess we are lucky to have seen the Red Centre looking so green. Our guide said it is the greenest he has ever seen it.
We completed a lot of walking on this tour, and saw many inspiring sights. I personally learnt a lot about the local Aboriginal people from our cool guide Max, and understand the reasons behind them not wanting people to climb the rock. I didn’t feel I wanted to be disrespectful, and so passed on the option to climb it, as did almost everyone on our bus. We did walk all around Uluru though, and I was impressed with the size and shape of it. I had imagined something different to what I eventually saw, but I was as amazed as I thought I would be.
We watched the sun set, and rise the following morning, and camped under a billion stars in our swag bags. The food was great and the company more so. A painful camel ride completed the tour, and although exhausted, I have had the best time, and have gained many new memories to stick with me forever.
I am extremely sad now at the parting of company with the friends I made, and feel equally as sad now at the thought of going home. Whereas I am excited to see my family, I wish I could see all the good friends I have made along the way, as I don’t know if I will see many of them again.
I am booked on the Ghan train again tomorrow, destination Adelaide, and I am imagining the 24 hour ride, but not looking forward to it much. Soon I will be home, and it feels all too sudden, but these are the highs and lows of travelling. I guess I need some sleep now.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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