Australasia | Australia | Northern Territory | Alice Springs – Facing the outback
There’s loads to tell you now as we’ve just finished a fantastic tour from Adelaide to Alice Springs. We spent eight days travelling across the outback with a great group of people and had some amazing experiences.
We set off from Adelaide and travelled through the Clare Valley wine region, stopping for a quick tasting at a winery and to purchase some wine for evenings around the camp fire. Our first night was spent camping at Wilpena Pound – a circle of mountains in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. The following morning we went on a strenuous walk up Mt Ohlssen Bagge – hard work but worth it – with spectacular views. Got a chance to rest and sleep on the bus all afternoon.
The next day was spent mostly travelling, with stops to see sheep shearing, coal mines and Aboriginal ochre pits. That night we had a meal at William Creek Pub. William Creek is said to be the smallest town in Australia – it has a population of about eight. We slept in swags (canvas sleeping bag covers) and looked up at the stars.
Next was one of our favourite stops, Coober Pedy. We had a tour of the town, which is very unusual – most people live underground. The holes were mostly dug out by people searching for opals, with the advantage that you build a naturally cooled underground home as you search. Surface temperatures can get up to 50C in summer, and down to 0C at night, so having a home with a constant temperature of 23C is very useful. We experienced this for ourselves, as our accomodation that night was an underground bunkhouse. We had a birthday party for a member of our group at the pizza place, and a few drinks in an underground pub.
The following day was spent mostly on the bus, but we stopped off at the Breakaways – a stark but colourful area of hills and scarps which was used in the films Mad Max III and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. We arrived at Uluru (Ayers Rock) just in time for a breathtaking sunset.
We camped at Yulara (Ayers Rock Resort) for two nights. During our final day there, we watched the sunrise and walked around the base of the rock (10 km). (We chose not to climb the rock to respect Uluru as an Aboriginal sacred site). That evening we took drinks and nibbles and watched the sun set.
In the morning we went to see sunrise at Kata-Tjuta (The Olgas), a collection of smaller, rounded rocks in the Uluru-Kata-Tjuta national park, followed by the Valley of the Winds walk through the rocks. In the afternnon we drove to our campsite at Kings Creek cattle station.
The next day, our last on the tour, we had just about enough energy left for a three hour walk around the rim of King’s Canyon. We saw the sandstone domes of the ‘Lost City’, and the Garden of Eden pool in the canyon. The water was a bit too cold for a swim though. We arrived in Alice Springs that evening. Everyone was dropped off at their accomodation, but we all met up again two hours later at the pub!
So we have spent the last two days in Alice Springs. We spent a lot of time with our tour group as we all got on so well. It is a bit sad now that we are all going off in different directions. In Alice Springs, we visited the ‘School of the Air’, which provides radio lessons to children on outback properties. We also went to the Reptile Centre and saw a Taipan – the most venomous snake in the world. We really liked the Thorny Devils – they are so cute.
Now we are off on the ‘Ghan’ train back to Adelaide, then on the ‘Indian Pacific’ from Adelaide to Sydney. We will spend ten days in Sydney before, sadly, it is the end of our year in Oz and we must go home.
We have posted some pictures taken by our tour guide on this site for you to look at.