Today I woke up at 5:00am and had some complimentary toast and coffee for breakfast from the hostel. I the. Packed my bags and got ready to be picked up for our scheduled 6:05am departure. 6:05am rolled by and there was still no sign of the bus. It wasn’t until 6:30 that a huge 4×4 rolled up. We got upgraded to a 4×4, better meal services, and better tents complimentary due to not enough bookings so no complaints on my end! Our tour guide Nat (Natalie) introduced herself and we got on our way! I’m down to only one person from my original tour, as well as three others from my previous tour. The new group of people are not as fun as my previous two groups, which we’ve become to know as “family” in the outback.
Our first stop, 1.5 hours away, was Stuart Well, which was a place where we could do optional camel rides, but nobody felt like doing any. We had a short break, and I took some photos or some kangaroos and camels. We learned that camels were introduced to Australia from India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan because they were in need of an animal that was heartier and stronger than the horse to help built to overland telegraph line in the 1870’s. Camels could carry almost twice as much (400kg) as a horse, and don’t need water for weeks at a time. After the telegraph line was completed they were no longer in need of the camels so they set them free into the land. This created a massive over population problem and eventually lead to culling of the camels. At their peak they had over one million camels, but they are now down to a much more reasonable 300,000 camels. Camels in Australia are about as purebred as they come and are sometimes sold overseas.
The next stop was Mount Ebenezer Station about another 1.5 hours away. This stop has a restaurant and bar, as well as an aboriginal art centre. The aboriginals paint here and their art is sold. They’ve even been invited to paint in the Sydney Opera House. We stayed here about half an hour before continuing on.
The next stop was Fooluru, or Mount Conner. From afar it looks like Uluru (Ayres Rock), but it isn’t. We climbed the sand dune to see a better view of Mount Conner on one side, and a salt water lake on the other side. The reason for this is that Australia was an inland sea about 400 million years ago.
After our stop at Mount Conner we went to Curtain Springs cattle station for a quick stop before continuing on to our campsite. We stopped on the side of the road at noon to pickup firewood for tonight. We arrived at camp at 12:45pm, had some sandwiches for lunch, and dropped off our bags, before leaving towards Uluru.
It was 2:30pm when we arrived at Uluru. We went inside the cultural centre to learn about Uluru, the aboriginals, and the general history in the area. Uluru was originally owned by the aboriginals until 1958, when they were pushed out by white people. The area was eventually returned to the aboriginals on October 26th 1985, but tourism was still allowed with a special 99 year lease, which is overseen by a board of management. Uluru is a pretty special place because it has received two awards; in 1987 it was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and in 1994 it was recognized for its cultural landscape as well.
After visiting the cultural centre we did two walks; the Mutitjulu Walk, and the Mala walk. After completing our walks we drove to a lookout overlooking Uluru to have champagne and watch the sunset.
After the sunset we drove back to camp to have dinner, which was rice and chicken stir fry. The dinner was already prepared for us upon our return, due to having an upgraded package. I was really tired so I went to bed at around 10:00pm.