THE ROCK TOUR

Trip Start Nov 15, 2009
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Trip End May 02, 2010


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Where I stayed
In the Bush

Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On the 15th we left Adelaide to go up to Alice Springs as we were starting our Uluru trip (Ayers Rock) the next day. We flew up to Alice Springs it was an easy flight and arrived into Alice in mid afternoon. We had to head into the town centre to confirm our trip with the Rock Tour. This is the first place where we have seen alot of Aboginal People, they all hang around the streets, mostly drunk in big groups. I found them quite intimidating. (We did later find out that they do not have an enzyme that we have which means they can't break down alcohol and they become addicted more easily, and most people hanging around the town have been kicked out of their community). In the evening we sat around chatting with a guy in our room called Ryan and 3 German guys.

It was an early start on the 16th as we were being picked up from the hostel at 6am. Our tour guide for the next 3 days is Jake and our bus is called Betsie! We drove for 6 hours to reach Kings Canyon. The walk was about 6km, taking 3 hours. The walk starts with "heart attack hill", they don't lie it is so steep-look for the photo where I look like I can't breathe. The walk was good, very beautiful with amazing views, but it was 38 degrees and very humid. I don't think I have ever sweated so much. After finally reaching the bottom, I felt rubbish!!!! I knew I had drunk loads, but my fingers swelled to the size of sausages and I had salt all over my skin from the sweat-nice!! Obviously Alex looked fine (I hate him sometimes). Once I had eaten sweets and crackers I felt much better I think my sugar and salt levels were very low! After the killer walk we drove to bush camp, stopping for fire wood and beer (very important). Bush camp is on a cattle station tonight-no showers or toilets. We all helped to set up bush camp-ALex helped chop up the veggies for tea and I made beer bread. Just all chilled out in front of the camp fire, but it was still quite hot as it was cloudy so unfortunately we did not get to see the stars. Alot of the group went searching for snakes and other wild animals I stayed put-not looking for them! We slept in swags, but me and Alex decided to go under a wooden shelter as it was cloudy anyway, then about 2am it rained and the rest of the group joined us.

It was an equally early start on the 17th, we were woke up by Jake at 5.30am after having some breakfast and a cow wandering into camp, we made our way to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Our first stop was Kata Tjuta (Valley of the Winds), the walk was about 7.4km, which took about 3 hours. It was not so hot today because it was cloudy so the walk was a bit easier apart
from my trainers rubbing today!! Kata Tjuta is a sacred place to the aboginal people and only men are allowed to visit, its a place for men's business, but we do not know what really happens here as only aboginal people are intitled to know this information. Jake showed us Ochre (aboginal paint found in stones), this has been used to create countless paintings for thousands of years. After the walk we headed to the campsite, there are showers and toilets!!! In the afternoon we went to the cultural centre, it was very interesting to learn about the aboginal culture and how they have lived in the bush for thousands of years. We then went to Uluru and did a short at the base of the rock called the Mala Walk. Jake explained that Mala people were
the first to live at Uluru and he told us a creation story, which is part of their beliefs but we only know a few as once again we are not intiated into their community. It was very interesting to hear these stories and how they lived on the rock, for me it brought the place to life. Both myself and Alex felt very priviliedged to be able to see this sacred sight. After the walk
we headed to the sunset viewing point, due to the cloud we did not get to experience the changing colours of the rock when the sun sets. But it was still very beautiful.

On the last day of our tour we all had to get up stupidly early at 4.30am to get to see sunrise over the rock. As it was cloudy again no changing colours. The tour guides kept saying we were very lucky because so few people get to see the rock the dark colour we witnessed due to the cloud and rain we had. After the sunrose we went to Uluru and did the rest of the base walk about 8km, this was the easiest walk as it was still cloudy and very flat. After this we got back onto the bus to make our way back to Alice-stopping at a camel farm on the way, me and alex had a go at riding camel, very funny (see pictures)!!!


*Alex: After seeing Uluru and Kata Tjuta you appreciate the geographical importance of these areas however you then learn about the cultural and religious importantace that these areas hold for the aboriginal people. When you learn about the cultural and religious importance of these areas you realise just how special they are to the whole aboriginal existence and i believe the sooner they return to complete aboriginal control the better (currently aboriginal people own the land and 'rent it' on a 99 year deal back to the government. This was not what they thought when they were given the land back as the rental deal was inked into the contract in a very sneaky, underhand way so that the aboriginal people didn't fully understand it and then signed it). If the day comes when the aboriginal community fully control Uluru then i hope that the
white man can no longer wonder around it in socks and sandels as it belongs to them and we can appreciate Uluru from a mile away anyway. Finally i believe that this would be the case if the political influence left Uluru however Uluru Kata Tjuta national park brings countless dollars to Australia's shores however how many of these dollars reach the aboriginals?? Very few i imagine. Its very coinsidental that the once hated aboriginal society now accounts for a massive economical contribution to Austalias tourism industry! Thats my rant over.
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Comments

Dad on

Easy life you two looks as if you are getting around well and look forward to talking over christmas.

No hopers!!! on

Hi to you both. Really enjoyed reading about your travels. Miss you loads me old chuffers. Still waiting to win quiz so we can come and join you. Keep up the good blog and pictures, we feel that we are there with you ( WE WISH!!!) Be safe. All the best for 2010. Love as always xxxx

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