So I don’t even know where to start. I feel like I’m on the other side of this planet right now.
We flew from Melbourne to the red center of Australia in order to spend some time in Uluru, Alice Springs and Kings Canyon. The flight took about 3,5 hours, which is insane since we are still in the same country.
Before we landed, I noticed this little airport in the middle of red dessert with only one tiny building. I was making fun that we’re definitely not landing on this airport with our Airbus, however I nearly passed out when the pilot changed our direction and started to descent towards this mini-airport in the middle of nowhere. We really landed on it. When we got out of the airplane, there was absolutely nothing here. Just tons of red sand. Maybe that’s why it’s so magical. The closest town is 1000 km away Alice Springs.
We planned quite a big roundtrip Uluru-Alice Springs-Kings Canyon, total of 1600 km in three days. Right after arrival, the rental company made our day by upgrading our car to a 4-WD for free, saying “we don’t have anything else available now”.
The local temperature was about 45°C in the shade, so hiking would be impossible in such weather. The water is unbelievably expensive here, one cold bottle costs $6, while a juice is only $1! The gas stations are the same as you see them in movies, 300 km apart. The red center is unfortunately also know for its over-abundant flies, so everyone wears these ridiculous nets over their head. We thought we could survive without them, but once we got out of the car, they were everywhere on our bodies. They were getting into our eyes, ears and even mouths; I even had a feeling that they bite. We couldn’t stand it, so we bought those ridiculous nets as fast as possible. Taking pictures was the most unpleasant thing ever, because we ran for a few seconds, so we would run away from the flies, stopped for two seconds, ripped the net off, smiled, took the picture and then we we spitting the flies for another fifteen minutes.
On our way to the first destination Alice Springs, we stopped by the wonderful Rainbow Valley, which we saw during the sunset. Actually all these red rocks are the most beautiful at the sunset, when they look even more red than they really are. It all reminds me of Utah a lot, only with more sandy desserts.
Alice Springs has a population of about 20.000 people and is the biggest town in central Australia. Most of the residents are the native Aborigines, to whom this whole central region, including Ayer’s Rock belongs. The city is surrounded by several emu and camel farms, so in all restaurants they serve apart from emu and camel steaks and burgers, also crocodile meat and barracudas. We couldn’t leave without tasting it, so we had a tasting platter with all kinds of meat in one of the restaurants. When we were leaving, we noticed a Czech group, so we joined them and talked till the restaurant closed with a few bottles of delicious Australian red wine.
Early in the morning we got going towards Kings Canyon, which was only 300 km away from Alice Springs, even though it took us 8 hours to get there. Not because the road would be winding or ran through a dessert, but because there was so many things to see and we stopped by every single one. The temperature wasn’t lower than the first day, so we chose only short walks, but not less beautiful. The last 150 km the road was somehow missing, so we had to drive this red dusty path and that was hell of a drive! We were soo glad that we got the 4-WD. We didn’t meet a single car on this path, yet we saw some wild camels and horses. I had no idea that there are wild camels in Australia!
We arrived in Kings Canyon – as usually – when it was already dark.
Everyone here gets up around 4 in the morning and starts hiking before the sunrise, because all the tracks close at 11AM for safety reasons. Mainly it’s because of the unbearable heat. Well we also got up a little bit after 4AM and were already hiking when the sun rose. The hike went through red rocks, canyons and valleys and the view from the highest peak of this hike was just stunning.
After this three-hour hike we got into our car again and headed to the purpose of this trip – Ayer’s Rock, also called Uluru. It’s a sacred rock of Aboriginal people. There is a path around the whole formation as well as a road. We didn’t have time, neither the mood to walk around it, so we just drove to every parking lot, where we walked to each side for a bit. The sunset was absolutely fantastic though.
We were planning on sleeping in the car, so we didn’t even book an accommodation here. We wanted to see the sunrise above Uluru and checking out and driving about 80 km back to the national park would force us to get up really early. Fortunately there was a huge storm this night, so it wasn’t even that hot and we slept like babies.
After watching the sunrise at Uluru, we headed to another sacred rock called Kata Tjuta, where we hiked in the Valley of the Winds for another 2 hours.
We arrived at the airport at noon and finally flew back to Melbourne, where we are spending the last three days of this great and unforgettable adventure.