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.
IMGL4885
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.
IMGL4957IMGL4912IMGL4924
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.
IMGL4898.jpg
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.
IMGL4965IMGL4971IMGL4972IMGL4979IMGL4995
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.
IMGL5002IMGL5011IMGL5027
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.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

August 17th 2016 – Outback Tour Day 8 of 10

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.

IMGL4511IMGL4518

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.

IMGL4524

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.

IMGL4550IMGL4554

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.

IMGL4749IMGL4755IMGL4759

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.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here