The Red Center
13.08.2008 - 20.08.2008 24 °C
So after a few days off in Adelaide it was a shakey start as we headed off towards the red center. Our guide, Erin, nearlt took off a wing mirror and got slightly lost as we made our way to the Flinders Range. This is South Australia's largest mountain range and named after the European explorer Matthew Flinders who mapped the coastline of Australia. After seeing some of the range and viewing some Aborigional rock art we stayed at Parachilna which consists of a pub and not much else, they do serve the best puddings ever though! I also sampled the local home brew and Kangeroo, Emu and Camel were on the menu tonight.
Next we headed to Wilpena Pound which is a natural amphitheatre of mountains which was used as place to graze cattle as there was only one way in and out of the place it meant it acted as a natural barrier. Here we climbed Mt Ohlssen-Bagge for amazing views of the range. Tonight we stayed at a sheep station and watched the sunset over the mountains.
On the way to our next destiantion we stopped at an amazing salt lake (Lake Hart) which used to be part of an inland sea millions of years ago. This sea is also what created the Opals found at Coober Pedy the town is known as the opal capital of the world because of the quantity of precious opals that are mined there. The name 'Coober Pedy' comes from the local Aboriginal term kupa-piti, which means 'white man underground'. The minors used to live in the holes they had dug when looking for opals and because it was so cool and remaind a fairly constant temp the idea took off and now everyone lives like this. Temperatures often exceed 40 degrees Celsius outside where as underground it is between 24 and 27 degrees.
Today we had a whopping 700km to cover in order to reach the destiantion of the day, Uluru (Ayers Rock) so a very early start of 4:30am which meant we saw the sunrise which was really cool. On the way up we collected firewood some of which had termites inside. WHen we threw down the wood they all fell out and were promptly butchered by the hundreds of ants that were running around, it was a very interesting sight! We alse left South Australia and crossed into the Northern Territory (NT). We arrived at Uluru to watch the sunset which was amazing. Tomorrow we will walk around it! That evening we stayed in camp and slept in an Aussie Swag which is a waterproof canvas bag in effect with a foam mattress inside it. Quite cosy and warm once you've got a sleeping bag and a warm hoodie on!
Today we visited Uluru up close, it's a mighty rock and you can't quite grasp it's size until you get right up to it. It's 9.6km around but the size of the Rock is even more incredible when you consider that an estimated two thirds of it lies beneath the surface. Around much of the rock the sites are sacred to the Aborigional people and you are requested not to photograph these areas. It is also 'requested' that you do not climb the rock although it is not forbidden to do so. I decided not to climb it. After our 2hr stroll around Uluru we headed over to Kata Tjuta also known as the Olgas which are a group of large domed rock formations. The Pitjantjajara name Kata Tjuta means 'many heads'. The site is as sacred to the Indigenous people as Uluru. That evening we camped at Kings Canyon and had an awesome meal cooked on the campfire which included some beer bread make on the fire.
An early start saw some Dingos hanging around our camp before we headed up to the very impressive Kings Canyon for the 3 hr rim walk, this is a really cool place with spectacular views of the gorge below and of the surrounding landscape. About half way during the walk, a detour descends to Garden of Eden, a permanent waterhole surrounded by lush plant life. Towards the end of the walk sees views of the Lost City so called because the rocks look like a city in the distance. The rest of the day saw us head into Alice Springs where we headed to Bo's Saloon for a few beers and some tasty tucker, I had Camel and Ale pie, very tasy!