On Monday 18th Feb we said goodbye to Perth and carried on our merry way to Alice Springs. The flight took about 2 hours and it was a clear day so looking out the window you would have been able to see everything down below except there wasn't anything to see apart from red desert! Alice Spings is weirdly half an hour ahead of Perth so at the moment we are +9 1/2 hrs ahead of the UK. The main words you can describe Alice Springs by are hot, hot and very hot!!
The Hostel we stayed in was called Alice's Secret and our room was nice and big and we even had our own sink! On the downside though there was a cockroach in our bed - you can't have everything! We spent 2 nights here and our first day was spent wondering around Alice Springs in the heat trying to find the most economical way of getting up to Darwin.
After looking at prices of tours to Uluru and then either a flight or train up to Darwin, it was cheaper to get ourselves another campervan for a week! yay! This meant we could do the 5 hour journey to Uluru on our own and not with a tour which are so expensive, and then get up to Darwin stopping off wherever we liked along the way! Hooray!
We set off to Uluru the next day in our new Campervan. This campervan, although we loved Fluff, was much better. It had air con which we wouldn't have been able to sleep without - being so hot and all, a toaster, kettle. We even bought a couple of microwave meals (for those days when we didn't have steaks for tea!) to cook in our 'microwave' which in fact turned out to be the air con unit. Oooppps!
Seeing Uluru was absolutely amazing (but bloody hot!).
Kit - our kitted out Camper
I've always wanted to see it and we arrived just before sunset to watch all the beautiful colours reflected on it as the sun went down. Even Adam was impressed after describing it as 'just a rock'... The next morning we went back to see Uluru and have a walk around it (not all the way though!). We didn't last long as we were attacked by clouds of flies. We were so glad to have our (highly fashionable) fly nets over our hats! Near Uluru are the 'Olgas' which are pretty impressive round rock formations which look a bit like a row of big heads! We didn't dare get out of the car to have a closer look but we got a couple of pics! Same with Mount Connor too!
Later that day we drove back to Alice springs and stayed in a caravan park there before heading up North towards Darwin. On the way we stopped at the Devils Marbles.
Devils Marbles (Strong Adam)
This is a sacred site to the Aborigines but you are still allowed to climb on them and stuff so we messed about here for a bit and took some silly pics! That night we stayed in another Caravan park in Tennants creek which was lovely apart from at about 8pm the electricity went dead... The lady who owned the caravan park told us that she had just phoned the only electrician in town who was too drunk to come out and fix it! Well it was Friday night... Anyway through Adam's genius idea we ended up, along with our next door neighbours caravan, having to park right next to the campers kitchen and plugging our van into one of the sockets in there. We ended up getting a free nights rent which wasn't so bad and in the morning we didn't have to walk far to get our cup of coffee!
The next day, on our way up to a town called Katherine the worst thing happened.
... we got a flat tire in the outback! Luckily we were able to pull into a lay-by to change the tire. Well we managed to get the spare tire from underneath the van but when it got to loosening the wheel nuts on the flat tire it was too difficult without a metal pipe or something to give us a bit more leveridge! We decided to call someone from the van rental but there was no signal! This is when I started to panic! We were in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire and no phone signal! We decided all we could do was wait for the next vehicle to come past and flag it down and beg the driver to help. Our prayers were answered half an hour later when a massive 'road train' pulled over. They have these really long trucks over here called road trains as they pull more than one carriage behind them.
This one was pulling 4! It was so big! And luckily so was the driver, Neville. He luckily had a pipe to make the wheelnuts come undone easier (yes, a strange man in the outback walking towards us with a metal pipe in hand, hmmm). While the boys got down to changing the tire with (boring) I chatted to Nev's wife, Margret who was with him and she let me have a look inside the big truck! I got to sit in the drivers seat and everything! They have a bed in the back and a little fridge. Once the boys had finished (Adam was covered in red dust) we said thankyou to them about a hundered times and carried on our way, but not before Maggie got us a couple of cold drinks for the journey!
After stopping to buy a new tire, we got to our next campsite in a town called kathrine. This town is nearer to the top end and so it was much more green and lush.
.. and wet. The Campsite was really lovely though and we were the only people there just about! We had massive steaks for tea (see pics - these steaks cost us about $11 which is about 6 quid!) and well deserved cold drinks. The next morning we awoke to find loads of wallabies on the campsite grounds! Ace!
We went to visit Katherine Gorge the next day and went on a little boat trip along the river that goes through the gorge. It was pouring down but it was so worth it! halfway along, the guide took us on a walk along the riverbank and showed us some Aboriginal painting on the rocks which were thousands of years old. We then stopped at Edith Falls where there were croc's in the water! Afterwards we carried on up North to Kakadu national park which is the biggest National Park in Oz.
At the campsite here we saw some Dingo's!!! Can you believe that? they were just wondering around the campsite! We heard the howling like wolves later that night and that sounded very scary! Again it was very wet here and alot of the main sights were closed as the roads had been cut off by floods. See pictures of us driving through a road of water (luckily only about 0.4 metres of water).
We had a choice the next morning of seeing a sacred aboriganal rock and paintings or a jumping crocodile boat trip and obviously we chose the latter! It was amazing! The crocs were wild and just lived in the river but they come up to the boat in the hope of it sinking so they could eat all the tourists!! Oh and to get fed bits of meat by the guide! They have the meat on a bit of string which they dangle near the croc and eventually it jumps up out of the water to get the meat.
Apparently they do this in the wild but I'm not so sure... We saw lots of crocs going up the river but on the way back down we only saw logodiles and they don't jump much... The guides also fed tiny bits of meat to some Kytes which were in the trees along the river.
Last night was our last night in the van so we stayed in a campsite near Darwin as thats where we had to take the van back to. We met another 'interesting' character here who got talking to Adam in the gents and told him to come to his caravan in half an hour as he had something to show him... oh and bring your camera... LOL!!! We were so intrigued we just had to go along and see what it was. He turned out not to be an axe murderer or anything but he had 2 lovely pet cockatoo's to introduce to us! Yay!
Well we have spent today looking around Darwin (and in an internet cafe!).
his claws hurt
Tonight we are going to try Barra and chips then on Thursday we fly to Cairns
to start our East coast adventure!
Bye for now!