A few years ago we made an amazing round trip through Australia. One of the largest countries on earth, so large that it is actually a continent! I wanted to share our experiences with you all together, but as the country is so big and we have seen so much, I will break up my blogs in different themed posts to make our tips more clear and specific:)
I felt that the most unique experience we had in Australia was our 4 day outback safari in the red heart of the country!
Most of the land in Australia is hot and dry desert, called the outback, which stretches for thousands of km from east to west, and from north to south. It is so hot and dry in the outback that there are not many people living there. The only well-known town far inland is Alice Springs, home to only 25,000 people. 320 kilometers from Alice Springs is an enormous and very special rock Uluru, which is also called Ayers Rock, and is actually a massive piece of sandstone.
We took a flight from Melbourne to Ayers Rock airport and started from there travelling upwards, according to below right map. We visited Ayers Rock, The Olgas, Valley of the Winds, Kings Canyon and Alice Springs.
The distances on the map look small but as the country is so big, the distances are as well. We really had to choose what we wanted to see in these 4 days to make it fit, as an average drive between destinations was generally more than 5 hours. We were only driving on dirt roads, so in general we also had to stay overnight between destinations.
First we arrived at Ayers Rock, which can already be seen from the airplane when you arrive, but as you get closer the views are even more amazing. The indigenous Australian people respect it as a sacred site, so you are not allowed to climb the rock anymore, but it is possible to walk around it.
We did the walk around the holy rock, which in total takes over 2 hours. As it is very hot in the outback and there were a lot of flies around this area when we visited, this is quite a challenge, but the sights and colours up close are worth it! Do make sure to catch the sundown over Uluru, very special because in the light of the sunset Uluru turns to a beautiful deep orange and after that dark red within minutes, as you can see here below.
The Olga’s, also known as Mount Olga or by its traditional name Kata Tjuta, are also sacred for the Aboriginal people. We visited the Olga’s at sunrise, which is spectacular as well! Seeing the sun come up behind these magnificent rocks with beautiful coloured skies above them is worth the early morning rise!
A word of advice: be prepared for a lot of flies! We went in April which is a good traveling period for the country, but still quite hot! I don’t know if that caused it but there were so many flies, it was just unbelievable how many there were. And they were quite aggressive, because they are looking for enzymes, so they constantly try to sit on you and go for the eyes:S So not cool…
Some of our group’s travelers were prepared for this, but we were not! Luckily I had a fan and tried to whip them away, which helped a little, but as you can see this is quite difficult while posing for pictures:)
The Olga’s are next to the Valley of the Winds, which consists of 36 boulder shaped rocks and is a very big and beautiful area to hike through. Do wear good hiking shoes as the paths are tricky! But it’s a great walk with magnificent views.
After staying in that area for a few days, bbq-ing and watching the milkyway each night, as the clear skies and multitude of stars at night are amazing in the outback. We went on the road for a long drive towards Kings Canyon.
The Walk through Kings Canyon is the most amazing one of this trip in my opinion, but to get to the prettiest areas you really have to work! It’s a long hike and really hot, so bring enough water and your stamina! First you have to walk up heart attack hill, quite a steep climb, which is called that for a reason!
And if u survive the hill, be ready for a 3-4 hours walk through a rocky area with little shade. On the way to the Garden of Eden you pass by lots of different and unique outback flora and fauna and fossilized reminders of water lakes in this area from long ago.
Then finally you get to the canyon cliffs, which are really big, steep and impressive, but make it all worthwhile! For me the walks were quite tough, as I am not an experienced hiker and especially because of the heat..After 12 am it went up to 40 degrees Celsius when we were there..But it is truly a once in a lifetime experience!
The drives in between destinations are only possible by dirt road, so it is a long drive. But on the way you get great views of huge meteor craters, wild horses and camels walking around, once brought here by foreigners and set free. An occasional salt plain, and of course lots of scrubs and red earth!
The last destination for our 4 day outback safari was a sleepy town called Alice. Not much to do here, as Alice Springs is just a small quiet town for the few people working and living in this red centre of the country. It is interesting to see though how Australian and Aboriginals live here together. And a good place to catch a flight towards the more inhabited areas again!
In my next blog post about Australia I tell you all about our roundtrip through the country, in which we visited many other beautiful cities and nature areas all around the East coast of Australia: Aussie East coast roundtrip in only 3 weeks
>> Uluru NT 0872, Australië