The second week of my Australian exploring started with an early wake up call … 3am. No-one wants to start their Monday at 3am!
However, this 3am start came with a flight from Perth to Alice Springs. It was time to trade in the West Coast beaches for the outback of Australia. As near to the middle of the country as you’re going to get it was time to head for the most famous red rock of all time – Uluru!
The strangest town of all time award goes to …
The gateway to the outback, we had to fly in on Monday morning. We couldn’t get a flight to Uluru until the following morning which meant we had an afternoon to kill in Alice Springs. It was honestly the strangest place I have ever been!
In the whole of the outback this is the biggest town, and you could walk around the whole place in an hour! To be fair they had a Coles, Woolworths and a Target (the main supermarkets) so you could easily do all your shopping. We also found a pizza place which did gluten free bases for me. So it wasn’t all bad. There are a few trips advertised that you can do, but as with everything in the outback they’re expensive. So you’re better saving your money for the real deal once you arrive closer to Uluru.
Back to Alice Springs itself. It was a strange eerie vibe. The local indigenous people were hanging around the streets in groups, and while they didn’t once do anything threatening you are constantly warned not to walk around by yourself and not to go out at night. You should take taxis home if you are out in the dark. Bit creepy ey!
The Outback Experience!
If you imagine the ‘outback’ you imagine dry, desert looking land, with half dead looking trees and a whole lot of heat. Right?
Because that is exactly how it is, except with a whole load of flies! And the flies are RELENTLESS! They have no shame like normal flies that can be swatted away.
Our three days in the outback were filled with back to back coach tours. It’s the best way to see anything because hiring a car and driving is just so ridiculously long! Plus legally tourists can’t drive at night, so once the sun goes down you shouldn’t be driving around.
The first tour was ‘A Night at the Field of Lights’ which was amazing. A perfect start to the outback experience! I’ve already posted a blog about that here so I won’t repeat myself too much.
But it was brilliant! We got to our hotel around 10:30pm after that, and had to set our alarms for 3:30am the next morning. Waaaah!
Pick up at 4am on coach tour number 2! This one was to visit Kings Canyon which was in the next national park along. It was a three hour drive so everyone piled on the coach and pretty much tried to get back to sleep. A quick stop for breakfast and we were at the canyon around 8:15am. It was a 6km hike that started with 500 steps to the top! Not my favourite way to start the day!
The hike took about 3 hours, maybe a little more. The views were epic and it was worth the pain of the 500 steps. The flies, relentless as I mentioned, were hitching rides from our faces the whole way around.
Coach trip number 3 was the next morning, sunrise over Uluru. We all know what sunrise means, get up at stupid o clock! A 4:30am wake up call this time, we were driven to a viewing platform to watch the big red rock change colour numerous times at the sun came up.
After sunrise we were driven to Kata Tjuta which is even bigger than Uluru. While Uluru gets all of the attention I think Kata Tjuta was equally impressive! Made up of 36 giant domes it didn’t feel like you were looking at something real! We did the Walpa Gorge walk, where you went between two of the giants. It was beyond unbelievable!
Our final coach trip was on the same afternoon as coach trip 3. We were finally heading to get up close and personal with actual Uluru! We were told all sorts of myths and legends and it was explained to us just how sacred this area of Australia is. It’s a 10km walk around the bottom of it and it is 3.5 times taller than Big Ben.
It was really cool being so close to it, and seeing all the drawings on the bottom that the indigenous people use to teach their stories and beliefs over generations. The final part of our tour was to head back to a viewing platform for one final look at the colour changes. This time for sunset, with a glass of prosecco. (I made dad have white wine so I could do this cool picture … not that I’m blowing my own trumpet.)
So that sums up our outback experience. 3 days and 4 coach tours. I am writing more detailed blog posts on each one so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested! They will be up soon.
Toot Toot, Melbourne here we come!
We spent all of Friday travelling. Flying from Ayres Rock to Sydney and then Sydney to Melbourne. We got to our hotel around 9pm so pretty much went straight to bed. Saturday was when the fun started again!
Picking up our hire car we set off on the absolutely epic drive that is …
The Great Ocean Road!
I was so excited. This is a trip you hear about all the time and the best bit is there are beaches the whole way! Yessssss!
One thing I have noticed about Australian beaches though, not many palm trees! What’s that all about?!
Anyway back to the point. Our first stop was Torquay, funnily enough it used to be called Spring Creek until they changed the name to copy the Torquay in the UK!
Torquay is the surf capital of Australia and it was the beach heaven I dream of living in. I actually spent our time over lunch searching for jobs I could apply for. My best chances included being a head chef or a mechanic so dad wasn’t very supportive. Whatever.
Among the various beach stops and look out points we stopped at Split Point Lighthouse, any 80’s babies may recognise it as the lighthouse from ‘Round the Twist’!
Approaching Lorne is where you’ll find the official ‘Great Ocean Road’ sign. There is a little car park right by the side of it so you can pull in and get a picture without crashing your car. When we arrived there were a couple of Chinese tourists getting in all my pictures but unfortunately for dad, I can play the long game. We waited until the crowds had got bored and then I got my pictures!
We stopped off for the night in Lorne, because, you know, need to go to sleep and stuff. Then got up early on Sunday morning for breakfast on the beach and to find the main event. The 12 Apostles! They were pretty incredible and I can see what all the fuss is about. After the 12 Apostles there were still all sorts of spots to pull over and have a look at pretty rock formations but they peaked already in my eyes. 12 Apostles is where it’s at!
We finished our Great Ocean Road adventure in a town called Warrnambool. A sleepy coastal town apparently at the end of the GOR – however there seems to be a good few towns claiming they are at the end – but for us … this is the end!
Monday marks a new week so we are up and out early to head to Melbourne for a speedy tour of the hot spots before flying off on our next East Coast Adventures! Any tips for Melbourne please let me know below! Thanks 🙂
Stay tuned for those!