Wow! It’s boiling hot today in Singapore. So I was strolling around the Marina Bay under the stifling sun, I came to think of a previous trip we did a few years ago in Australia.
My brain was literally melting and suddenly I remembered my Australian friend, Alison, telling us we were mad to travel in central Australia in December. It’s summer time on that side of the world and obviously, summer is very hot and humid.
But enough of the reasons that reminded me of Australia, and let’s talk about our 5 days adventure in the Red Centre.
We started our trip in Alice Springs, the capital of the Outback (with less than 30.000 inhabitants). Located in the arid desert region, Alice Springs is a relatively small town and the main gateway to the Red Centre, Australia’s heart and soul.
When we landed in Alice Springs, I could think of only one thing: Uluru, here I come!
Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) is a massive rock monolith with a circumference of 9.4 kilometres and rising spectacularly 348 metres above the red desert.
Uluru is Australia’s most famous natural icon and a sacred site of deep spiritual significance for the traditional Aboriginal owners, the Anangu people.
To climb or not to climb Uluru? Well, it is discouraged to do so due to Aboriginal beliefs… but the final choice is yours. We personally decided not to climb.
The walk around the base, however, is definitely a must! From a distance it looks really smooth, but up close we could see all kinds of eroded rock formations and ancient caves decorated with aboriginal paintings.
The sunrise and sunset viewing (yes, we did both) are simply mind-blowing. Uluru never looks the same… going from fiery red to deep purple as the different light strikes it at different times of the day.
A 30 minutes drive west from Uluru, brought us to the majestic Kata Tjuta.
Meaning “many heads” in traditional Aboriginal language, Kata Tjuta (formerly known as The Olgas) consists of 36 spectacular domes separated by dramatic gorges and watercourses.
About 200 km away from the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is the Watarrka National Park, home to the famous Kings Canyon.
Sudden heavy rain and thunder made us almost miss the opportunity to do the rocky climb to the rim of Kings Canyon…Luckily for us, the sun came back on time and were rewarded with marvellous views of Watarrka National Park and into the canyon itself.
We wandered around the ‘Amphitheatre’, the ‘Lost City’, the striking north and south walls and the green oasis of the ‘Garden of Eden’.
We travelled along the Finke River, the oldest river course in the world, into Palm Valley where we observed spectacular rock formations and an oasis of rock pools and palm trees.
We also discovered an ancient inland salt lake as we headed to the striking Mt. Conner (Attila), a huge flat-topped rock formation (mesa), commonly mistaken for Uluru from a distance.
We witnessed the Gosse Bluff (Tnorala), an old crater formed over a hundred million years ago by the impact of a comet up to 2km in diameter.
We wandered around the rugged red mountainous of the Western MacDonnell Ranges, dissected by numerous gorges, chasms, deep waterholes and valleys of rare palms and ghost gum trees.
We camped under the beautiful star filled skies of Central Australia while enjoying a hearty bush dinner cooked over a crackling fire.
Flies…lots of flies during our Red Centre Safari. A solution, though totally unfashionable, is to either wear a fly net with a hat or an Aborigene corked hat.
Well, let’s just say that I opted for the more standard Australian hat using my hands as flytrap.
You’ve probably seen most of the Central Australia’s landmarks on postcards. But there’s nothing quite like experiencing the Red Centre for real. Time and space can be appreciated in a totally different perspective…