To the Alice

Alice Springs Travel Blog

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Smiling at Uluru

After a delightful day in Adelaide with the family it’s time already to make for Alice Springs, that town in the middle of nowhere, ages away from anything else. Surrounded by outback, Alice Springs is a base for tours to the beating heart of Australia, Uluru, and other attractions ‘in the neighbourhood’ (meaning up to six hours in the car), Kata Tjuta and King’s Canyon. Originally I planned to go here in my first four months in Australia but I lacked time and money. I’m happy to see it now as you can’t really go to Australia twice and not see anything other the coast and the bush. It would be a shame, as the outback is pretty awesome.

 

It’s cold in Alice Springs when we arrive.

Ape in Kata Tjuta
While in the desert, it’s still winter and the cold wind cools down everything the sun managed to warm up. Out of the blowing winds it’s lovely though. Red sands, big mountain ranges and dust are everywhere. After a short day in a resort we get up before the crack of dawn to go on an outback tour taking us to all the hotties of southern Northern Territory. We pick up a Belgian-Dutch family and head for nothingness. The two families stay on their own side of the bus during the ride, but late at the campfire we do some bonding. The stories are pretty similar; the family’s coming over to Australia to pick up their child, is their case their youngest daughter Laura, who did a high school program near Perth. While they were at it they decided to travel the country for a bit. I find myself talking with their eldest daughter Suzanne a lot, who studied in Peru for a year. She’s got some great stories and I can’t wait to do something similar myself.
Great skies above Kata Tjuta

 

To my horror I notice I haven’t got my camera with me. Did I lose it somewhere in Alice, or is it in my bag back at the hotel? My fear gets bigger as I realize I haven’t stored any photos on CD since Bangkok, more than a month ago. Northern Thailand, Laos, the Thai islands, Malaysia and Singapore, gone? Please tell me this isn’t true. I figure my camera must’ve slipped from my pocket while taking a cab in Alice and the next couple of days after the tour we try everything to get it back; calling cabbies, report is missing and putting up a reward; it doesn’t lead to anything.

Uluru sunrise
Gone with the wind, I’m afraid. At least I stored the most important photos until Phuket on TravBuddy, but after that I haven’t got any pictures. Ouch, cry, sigh.

 

That afternoon we drive to Kata Tjuta, the rock formation near Uluru. Slightly less famous but in my opinion better than Uluru, albeit a bit less special. Kata Tjuta consists of different rocks and boulders (so not a monolith as Uluru) with valleys and passageways in between them; they make for a stunning walk. We walk and talk our way up to the lookout point before we return to drive to Uluru; it’s time for the sun to set. Unfortunately is cloudy and shitty weather, so instead of the famous Uluru colour scheme we get a dull grey rock that only becomes greyer the longer you look at it. Not worth the digital photograph. The champagne makes up for it though! That night we sleep in tents at the camp; it’s freezing, but after the help of some beers and a campfire I fall asleep, content.

** EXCLUSIVE ** BEHIND THE SCENES

 

We get woken up before dawn, once again. This better not become a habit. We’re taken to Uluru, this time for sunrise. While there are easily a couple of hundred people out there, it’s pretty apesome nonetheless. We take a score of photos, pose here and there and enjoy the colour changing rock like we never enjoyed a colour changing rock before. Some people, when talking about Uluru told me not to go there, as it is just a rock, and always will be just a rock. True in a way, it’s just a rock; but it’s still a rock that you just have to see. We walk around it which takes us almost two hours. I would’ve liked to climb it, but unfortunately for me the climb has been closed due to strong winds.

 

We load up the bus once again and set out for our second camp, near Kings Canyon.

Uluru - arty, no?
On the way there we collect firewood at the side of the road for the campfire that night. Another nightly campfire and travel story (and beer) session, loving it. In the morning we ride to the canyon I when we’re all unloaded I suddenly have the need to get away from everything and everyone. Although the general atmosphere is pretty good, suddenly I have to put up with all the irritations and stupid fights that come with a family of six. I don’t need this shit. I’m someone who really appreciates his alone time and it’s just too much now. I’ve been travelling solo for eight months and now I have to put up with five other people with all different ages and different states of fitness? It’s driving me mad. I take off and climb the canyon on my own to enjoy some alone time, then wait at the top for the other to catch up with me.

 

The canyon is nice enough, although I wouldn’t say a must if you’ve seen Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

Ape at Kings Canyon
The walk takes us a couple of hours, the bus ride back to Alice an eternity. The landscape is boring and fascinating at the same time, but most of us use the drive to catch up on some sleep. Back in Alice we enjoy a group meal with the two Dutch families and our two guides. The restaurant has an 800 gram steak on the menu, for which you get a certificate if you finish it completely. My eyes find my brothers eyes and we both nod. That certificate is ours. Daniel finishes his before I finish mine, and somehow he finds room for his fries and half a desert as well. It’s incredible. We say goodbye to the other family and leave the restaurant satisfied. Quite an understatement, that last one.

 

I’m flying to Darwin a day later than the rest of the family because there was some miscommunication about the flight dates.

Diandra and me at Uluru
I join them to the airport, make my way back and search out a hostel. That task turns out harder than I thought; most hostels are full and it takes me a while to find a bed. I get lucky at Toddy’s backpackers where I get their last bed available. Toddy’s a bit of a boring hostel but to be honest, after an outback tour I’m don’t have the energy to party anyways. What I want is internet and an early night. That last one turns out to be a bit of a problem as it’s freezing outside and I don’t have a blanket. It takes the personnel ages and ages to get me a blanket, and when they do get me one they’re pretty fucking rude about it as well. It’s not that strange to ask for a blanket when it’s minus five outside now is it? Why would you give your guests a single sheet in the winter desert? Not a place I’d recommend, Toddy’s.

Ape says:
Nope, never found it... I still have some insurance going, so I decided against buying a new one on the spot. I hope I can get a nice upgrade when getting a replacement camera. Plus, with six people travelling there where some eight other camera's around I could use for snaps ;)
Posted on: Aug 06, 2008
pinchora says:
yeah... I always wondered if you ever found your camera or if you were able to buy a new one?
Posted on: Aug 06, 2008
cmgervais says:
I am backing up my photos RIGHT NOW!
Posted on: Aug 01, 2008
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Smiling at Uluru
Smiling at Uluru
Ape in Kata Tjuta
Ape in Kata Tjuta
Great skies above Kata Tjuta
Great skies above Kata Tjuta
Uluru sunrise
Uluru sunrise
** EXCLUSIVE ** BEHIND THE SCENES
** EXCLUSIVE ** BEHIND THE SCENES
Uluru - arty, no?
Uluru - arty, no?
Ape at Kings Canyon
Ape at Kings Canyon
Diandra and me at Uluru
Diandra and me at Uluru
Camel riding in the outback
Camel riding in the outback
Camels are ust slightly overrated
Camels are ust slightly overrated
Gazing
Gazing
Gazing
Gazing
Ape at sunrise
Ape at sunrise
Ape in the pocket
Ape in the pocket
Uluru in the sun
Uluru in the sun
Ape at Uluru
Ape at Uluru
Ape at the walking trail to the top
Ape at the walking trail to the top
Collecting firewood
Collecting firewood
Mums helping out, too
Mum's helping out, too
Behind the scenes EXCLUSIVE ON TRA…
Behind the scenes EXCLUSIVE ON TR…
Collecting firewood for that night…
Collecting firewood for that nigh…
Hmm, Mums load was bigger Daniël!
Hmm, Mums load was bigger Daniël!
Uluru in the distance
Uluru in the distance
Behind the scenes at Daniël: The …
Behind the scenes at Daniël: The…
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
Kata Tjuta
Kata Tjuta
Kata Tjuta walk
Kata Tjuta walk
Beautiful mountainscapes!
Beautiful mountainscapes!
Kata Tjuta rock formation
Kata Tjuta rock formation
The Olgas
The Olgas
Guide Brett
Guide Brett
Lookout point on the Valley of the…
Lookout point on the Valley of th…
Filmcrew
Filmcrew
The tourbus in front of Kata Tjuta
The tourbus in front of Kata Tjuta
Champagne sippin
Champagne sippin'
A Korean buffet
A Korean buffet
Dad and Mum in front of the rock
Dad and Mum in front of the rock
No comment
No comment
Shit sunset no?
Shit sunset no?
Sunrise, beauty!
Sunrise, beauty!
Diandra, me, Dad
Diandra, me, Dad
Uluru, the big one
Uluru, the big one
Uluru face
Uluru face
Ape at Uluru
Ape at Uluru
With my sister. Apes in there, to…
With my sister. Ape's in there, t…
Sis and Dad
Sis and Dad
Uluru slope
Uluru slope
Ape being ape at Uluru
Ape being ape at Uluru
Uluru
Uluru
Mount Connor - not Uluru
Mount Connor - not Uluru
With mum, chillin
With mum, chillin'
Barren outback
Barren outback
In the desert
In the desert
Ape at Kings
Ape at Kings
me, Diandra, Janacy and Mum checki…
me, Diandra, Janacy and Mum check…
Me and Diandra discussing the mean…
Me and Diandra discussing the mea…
Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon
With Mum
With Mum
Canyon life
Canyon life
Canyon overhang
Canyon overhang
Kata Tjuta
Kata Tjuta
Tjuta Tjuta
Tjuta Tjuta
Kata Tjuta valley
Kata Tjuta valley
Ape at the Olgas
Ape at the Olgas
Ape in Kata Tjuta
Ape in Kata Tjuta
Mum and Sis battling the mountain …
Mum and Sis battling the mountain…
Ape at Kata Tjuta
Ape at Kata Tjuta
Lookout point at the Olgas
Lookout point at the Olgas
Ape and Daniël
Ape and Daniël
Ape in front of the rest of the gr…
Ape in front of the rest of the g…
Ape with Dad
Ape with Dad
Ape at the Olgas
Ape at the Olgas
Ape with Daniël
Ape with Daniël
Ape at Uluru
Ape at Uluru
Ape at Uluru
Ape at Uluru
The red sands
The red sands
Champagne at sunset
Champagne at sunset
Shootin and snappin
Shootin' and snappin'
Ape at Uluru sunrise
Ape at Uluru sunrise
Not alone
Not alone
The family, minus Mum
The family, minus Mum
Ape at Uluru
Ape at Uluru
Ayers Rock
Ayers Rock
Dan and Dian
Dan and Dian
Ape
Ape
Ape at the Canyon
Ape at the Canyon
Brothers
Brothers
Sister and brother, complete again
Sister and brother, complete again
Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon
Ape at Kings
Ape at Kings
Ape in Kings Canyon
Ape in Kings Canyon
Barren Kings Canyon
Barren Kings Canyon
800 gram?
800 gram?
Alice Springs
photo by: WandaMichelle