August 18th 2016 – Outback Tour Day 9 of 10

Today we woke up at 5:30am. Breakfast was raisin toast and good coffee made from a French press. This was the best coffee I’ve had on this trip so far, because all the other days have been instant coffee. After breakfast I loaded my bag into the truck and climbed a large sand dune to watch the sun rise at Uluru. The sunrise occurred around 7:00am. After watching the absolutely stunning sunrise we all went back to the truck and left camp at around 7:50am.
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We drove the the Valley of the Winds (Katja Tjuta) for a walk. We did a complete loop around the valley, which took a few hours going at a fairly slow pace so that everyone could keep up. In the Valley of the Winds there are 36 domes, which were created when the inland sea from 450 million years ago disappeared. There was a large earth movement, the plates collided, and then the sandstone formation hardened.
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We learned about quite a few unique things about the vegetation in the area along our walk. We learned that Mulga Trees are used to make boomerangs. Boomerangs differ in shape and design depending where you live in Australia. On the coast boomerangs are designed to come back to you, so you don’t have to swim to get your boomerang once you’ve thrown it. In the centre of Australia boomerangs were typically used to take out kangaroos and wallabies so they didn’t need the boomerang to come back. We also learned that Kangaroo’s can’t walk backwards. One more thing we learned was that Mulla Mulla, a purple flower was used by the indigenous people to lay down their babies in because it was so soft; specifically the bulbs of the royal Mulla Mulla, which is about three or four times the standard Mulla Mulla. There is also a bush called a last chance bush that has medicine in it that can be used to get rid of a wart among other things.
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We finished our walk at around noon, then drove about two hours to Curtain Springs cattle station where we had hamburgers and beef sausages for lunch. I also purchased a few cans of beer for tonight’s dinner. The cattle station is owned by a gentleman named ash, and is comprised of over a million acres. When the property was first purchased they went through 9 years of drought. Underneath the property lies a huge artesian basin with water depths ranging from 30 to 260 metres. Water is pumped to the top where it can be used for agriculture as well as drinking water. Something unique we learned about cows is that they are willing to travel a fairly significant distance to obtain water. Out in the outback they use water to control cows. If a cow is needed in a certain area water is pumped to a watering station or watering hole, while all the others are turned off. At this particular cattle station they used to process all their own meat, but in the 1980’s the government changed the laws so they sent their meat down Adelaide for processing. There were lots of birds at this cattle station.
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After lunch we had a very long drive to Kings Canyon cattle station, where we were staying for the night. This cattle station was smaller, about half the size. We arrived at about 5:30pm. After we arrived we picked tents. The one I originally picked had a bunk bed with a queen bed on the bottom. I asked a French couple from New Caledonia if they wanted to switch tents with me so they could be together because I didn’t need a queen bed. His English was really bad so somehow he mistook me as wanting to sleep with his wife and he got upset. We all tried to explain to him and he eventually got it and we switched tents. We couldn’t stop laughing afterwards.
We prepared food for dinner and put it in the campfire. We climbed up a sand dune to watch the sunset at 7:30pm. We even flew a drone owned by one of the people in my group over the site to check the site out. I looks very beautiful from a birds eye perspective.
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We had dinner at 8:00pm. Dinner was Kangaroo, cooked vegetables, and pesto pasta served with red and white wine. I had a glass of red wine, and some of the beer I purchased earlier today.
We stayed around the campfire talking until about 9:30pm, when i decided I was too tired, so I went back to my tent to go to bed.

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