While I was in the Alice Springs area I was booked onto a 3-day Gonna Dreaming 4WD Tour, details of which can be found here.
Sunday 9th September 2018
The 6:10am flight from Perth to Alice Springs went well and I arrived in time, a shuttle bus service took me to the hostel, which is basic but OK for what I’m looking for. After I checked in I took a stroll around town, but with it being a Sunday quite a few shops were closed. I had a meal in a Chinese restaurant then ventured into a local tavern for a pint of the local ale, Great Northern, which was alright.
My tour left early in the morning and I had to check my luggage into their storage area by 8:00pm the previous evening, so I had another early night.
Monday 10th September 2018
Day 1 of the tour, Alice Springs to Ayers Rock
After being picked up from the accommodation in Alice Springs bright and early, we hit the road on our adventure of a lifetime (or so it said in their brochure).
Our journey began heading south to Erldunda travelling through the Waterhouse and James Ranges with a stopped at the Camel Farm for refreshments and a Camel ride, which no-one was keen to try. We then stopped at Mr Ebenezer Station for a toilet and refreshment break. On the way to Uluru, we stopped to view Atila (Mount Connor), a mesa tableland and the first significant rock formation of our trip. We also stopped on the way to collect firewood for our campfire, “no wood, no dinner” said Phill.
After a stop for lunch and our arrival at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, we travel to the base of Uluru where our guide led us on an interpretive walk, hearing of the Aboriginal law and religion (Tjukurpa). Continuing on, we met Verna, our local Aboriginal Guide who provided a once in a lifetime authentic Indigenous cultural experience sharing stories and passing on traditional methods of painting that plays an important part in the sustainability of Aboriginal Culture. Starting with a walk to the cave paintings near Mutitjulu Waterhole, at the base of Uluru, we were guided by Verna, hearing stories of this unique landscape and the connection between the art, culture and connection to the land. We concluded at the Cultural Centre, where we explored the displays and learned of the flora and fauna of this unique area.
We experienced the famous changing colours of Uluru at sunset, complete with sparkling wine and nibbles. It was a great time to kick back and contemplate the day and the vastness of the desert. Afterwards, we settled in at our remote private camp, complete with our ‘Endless Star dining experience’ of Kangaroo Bolognese cooked on the campfire, before we retired to our swags under the amazing night sky or our comfortable safari tent complete with beds.
Phill our guide, showed us how to use a swag and we were given the choice of sleeping under the stars in one, or in one of the tents, I chose a tent, which turned out to be a good choice as it was a freezing cold night, we all went to bed early in readiness for another early start.
Tuesday 11th September 2018
Day 2 of the tour – Ayers Rock to Kings Creek Station
Rising early, we took a short walk to a lookout close to our campsite to view sunrise over Uluru and Kata Tjuta without the hustle and bustle of the public viewing areas before heading off to Kata Tjuta for a walk through the “Valley of the Winds”, I found this walk quite difficult as it was mostly uphill and over lots of loose stones, I was glad I had brought my camera monopod which I used as a climbing stick. Afterwards, we were off to Kings Creek Cattle Station for our second nights’ private bush camp, complete with bush toilet and shower. With nobody else for miles, this camp which has stunning views out over the George Gill Ranges gave us a real feel for the outback. Dinner around the campfire made for a very social time with another night out under the stars. Tonight, we listened for the sound of dingoes howling in the distance, Myself and Kelsey, one of our group encountered one on our way back from the toilet. Without any light pollution, it was wonderful to watch the desert sky light up above us.
Wednesday 12th September 2018
Day 3 of the tour – Kings Creek Station to Alice Springs
Today we headed off to Watarrka (Kings Canyon) for a mind-blowing 6km walk through the towering walls, crevices and plateaus of Watarrka, which included the famous ‘Heart Attack Hill’, which I’m glad to say I managed quite well. We visited the Amphitheatre, Lost City and the tranquil ‘Garden of Eden’. Later we started making our way back to Alice Springs travelling on a typical outback dirt road, which was about 100km of dust track, with nothing to see for miles and miles (should that be km’s and km’s?) it was great fun in our giant 4×4 truck/bus, Phill had great fun throwing it, and us, about, that was when we learned why the bus was so rugged.
We were dropped back at our accommodation in the early evening and we all met later for a bit of a night on the town (Alice seems like the big smoke after 3 days in the bush). A good few of the group met with Phill and his girlfriend for a meal and drinks in Bojangles, a local bar, and we had a great night, before returning to the hostel and bed.
Thursday 13th September 2018
I spent a relaxing morning in Alice Springs at the hostel filling in my journal and getting ready for my flight to Melbourne to be met by Pat & Kay. I was picked up by the shuttle bus and met up with some of the tour group who were also moving on to other cities and towns.