Make ‘Tracks’ downunder, part 1

Happy days all !

Last week I went to the cinema for the first time in ages ! I rarely go to watch a film as firstly, there isn’t a lot that captures my imagination but secondly, I just can’t sit still that long anymore…….. But there was a movie that had grabbed me, mostly because it brought back my memories of my trip through the Red Center in Australia earlier this year on a small bus with 20 strangers and a crazy tour guide. The movie was called Tracks, and a story about a young woman’s adventure : her 2000 mile walk from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robyn_Davidson#Tracks). It was an enthralling story and brought a tear to my eye !

I had found this tour before l left the UK and it sounded like my type of trip – lots to see, great value for money and took me the way I wanted to go : from Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory to Adelaide in South Australia !!(http://www.groovygrape.com.au/our-tours/tours/rock-2-water).

Groovy Grape adventure bus
Groovy Grape adventure bus

As ‘Groovy Grapers’ we were going to be on the road for 6 days and 5 nights, sleeping in swags (an outer sleeping bag with the required ‘monster flap’), under the stars with all the wild creatures your imagination can conjure up and a new friend, Simon the scorpion

A SWAG, my bed for 4 nights !
A SWAG, my bed for 4 nights !

I don’t think I have really appreciated the vastness of Australia until I embarked on this tour. Australia is big, I knew that ! It had taken me 12 days to work my way from Sydney to Cairns, there was a time difference between the east coast and Alice Springs, but ‘vast’ has a different to connotations to me – it means more than just BIG and the impression came through loud and clear. Miles and miles and miles of red sand, huge blue skies and very few people.

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Our first overnight stop after leaving Alice Springs was Kings Canyon. After a short valley walk, we made camp and sat down for dinner –  and I have to admit that I was starting to think about what I was going to be like sleeping under the stars, surrounded by surrounded by all sorts of poisonous creatures : spiders, snakes etc. I know, I know extreme thoughts but that’s me……… throughout the night I heard every single noise and managed about 2 hours sleep in total !

Kings Canyon, valley walk
Kings Canyon, valley walk

We greeted the sunrise the next day with a walk around the rim of Kings Canyon. The photos do not do it justice – fabulous sunrise, rising temperatures and some incredible views. It was definitely worth the 5am alarm call.

Sunrise over Kings Canyon
Sunrise over Kings Canyon
View from the top of the rim, Kings Canyon
View from the top of the rim, Kings Canyon
Don't lean too far !
Don’t lean too far !

After we returned to camp and eating our 2nd breakfast, we packed up and set off in the happy bus knowing that our next stop was Ayres Rock campground to spend a couple of days in the presence of the renowned Uluru.

When I decided my route around Australia I had written a list of things that ‘make Australia, Australia’ and Uluru was right at the top. I can remember seeing it on TV when I was a child and was fascinated by this natural wonder. My visit only confirmed its mystique. The Aboriginal history and customs that surround this sacred location is fascinating and its most recent history will ensure it is protected for generations to come.

We stayed 2 nights on this camp ground and the evening of the first night we took the short walk to a look out point and witnessed the best sunset I have ever seen.

Uluru at sunset
Uluru at sunset

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After an interesting night’s sleep having met Simon the scorpion, we headed off to experience an Uluru sunrise. How different it looked in the morning, seemed smaller than we saw the night before. I can’t really explain the emotions or the atmosphere I was feeling – I was very much in awe of what was in front of me.

Uluru at sunset
Uluru at sunset

After eating a substantial breakfast back, we spent some time in Kata Tjuta, I guess you would call her the big sister of Uluru. This was a much larger area to visit and walk around. Unfortunately given the temperature we were only able to touch a small part of the hike – but what I saw took my breath away.

A walk in Kata Tjuta
A walk in Kata Tjuta

During the afternoon we visited the Cultural centre which was fascinating and then we set off to ‘walk the base’ – a 10km path that takes you around Uluru, pointing out the spiritual stories that have formed the interesting rock formations. The photos can only begin to show the beauty but I’ll let them do the talking at this point I think !

Uluru basewalk
Uluru base walk
Uluru basewalk
Uluru basewalk
Uluru basewalk
Uluru basewalk
Mutitjulu Waterhole
Mutitjulu Waterhole
Base walk done !
Base walk done !

Wow, what an experience !

Then it was off to witness another moment of magic as Uluru disappeared again at sunset !

You don't call me 'ironman' for nothing :)
You don’t call me ‘ironman’ for nothing 🙂

What a couple of days………….. full of cultural mystique, varying emotions around what I was seeing and experiencing. I know it wasn’t quite the same as Robyn Davidson’s solo adventure, but I felt like an explorer 🙂

At this point in the Outback adventure, I’m going to wrap up this blog. It feels like a good place to stop for a while.

The rest of the trip was different but I think I’ll save that for another blog : long days covering 100s of miles on long straight roads, Coober Pedy with its underground living and opal mining, Flinders ranges and our arrival in Adelaide.

Live life loud

Catherine

Age Group girl

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