After quitting my job and leaving Sydney my first stop was Uluru to travel from Alice Springs to Darwin. After 3.5 years in Australia, I had never seen the big rock so I thought it was time before I left. I booked a trip with Mulgas Adventures that would take me around Uluru and then from Alice Springs to Darwin.
I arrived in Uluru on Friday afternoon and was greeted at the airport by my tour guide; Lachlan and the group that we’re going to be my friends for the next 5 days and travel from Alice Springs to Darwin.
Our first stop was Uluru. It was amazing to see the big rock that I had heard so much about, as we approached there was a lot of cloud so it was a little hard to see the top but was an amazing site. Locky was very informative and told us all about the area as we drove in. We got out of the bus and Locky lead a short walk around the base and explained some of the aboriginal dreamtime stories as we went. He also explained the implications of climbing the rock and what the significance was for the aboriginals. I had already made the decision that I was not going to climb the rock but it was however closed so no one was able to.
We jumped back into the bus and drove around the other side so that we could walk some more. Locky explained the importance of the sensitive sights and how we were asked not to take pictures to help preserve the area. We were then let loose to walk around the base at our own time and Locky met us at another point to pick us up again. It was nice to be given some free time to have a look around and experience it for your self.
We were then taken to Lockys “secret” sunset point. We later found out this was not so secret ?. We went to an area with a number of other tour groups to watch the sunset. We were able to enjoy bubbles and snacks at sunset and although there was no sun to see set due to the low cloud we had a great evening and enjoyed the atmosphere.
That evening we went to camp to cook dinner. We all got stuck in to assist in the cooking and we made some amazing beef burritos. After some chatting and clearing away dinner it was time to retire to our beds. By now the heavens had opened and we were going to get soaked sleeping in our swags so Locky secured us a space in the laundry to sleep. Assured this was an “Aussie tradition” and the laundry is always the best place to sleep, we got comfy. As part of the tour we were meant to get up and watch the sunrise over Uluru but with the amount of rain we were not sure this was going to happen. Locky said he would let us know at 5am if it was worth getting up or we could stay in bed for another hour.
Needless to say at 5 am Locky poked his head into the laundry and told us we did not need to get up as there wouldn’t be a sunrise that morning. We got up later and had breakfast before heading out to Kata Tjuta for a walk. It was raining when we got there but we would not let this dampen our spirits. We walked with determination and took in the fact that we got to see so many waterfalls which otherwise would not have otherwise been able to see. When we got to the look our point we could not see any of what was described and instead could see a mass of clouds but we enjoyed our cereal bars and decided to do the circular walk to complete the walk.
After Kata Tjuta we headed to the information centre that allowed us to walk around and learn more things about Uluru and the people that the land belonged to. Although it was expensive for coffee the information and set up was great.
We returned to camp to cook camel burgers on the BBQ and tidy up for the next group. We were going to be camping at Kings Canyon that evening. Locky returned from filling up the van with fuel to tell us that all the roads to Kings Canyon were closed due to the rain and instead we would be heading back to Alice springs because we couldn’t camp anymore; it was just too wet.
The journey back was long and boring but Locky tried his best to make it as interesting as possible with “Locky’s Olympics”. The bus was split into teams and we competed and silly tasks to entertain ourselves for an hour of the journey.
The next day we got to have a lay in at the hostel and woke to Locky cooking a feast for breakfast. It included hash browns, bacon, eggs, toast, sausages and loads more. He said that because we couldn’t go to Kings Canyon we were going to go to the West MacDonnell Ranges which were just outside Alice Springs.
Kings Canyon was a stunning place to see. We got to see some wild wallabies and then headed to Ormiston Gorge. I really could have spend all day there taking in the views and walking along the river bed. It was a beautiful part of the world and I am glad that I got to see it.
That evening we headed to a pub in Alice for a roast dinner with the group, the next day was the start of the trip from Alice Springs to Darwin and that meant a few additions to the group and a few loses along the way.
The next day was a 5am start on the bus and ready to go! I don’t sleep much on buses so I got my laptop out and started to watch some movies. It was a going to be a long day of around 13 hours on the bus. We managed to travel around 900km in one day. We did have a few stop offs including a place famous for UFO sightings and the Devils Marbles which are rocks formed in the shape of circles. Our tour guide for the trip up were Jason and Dale. It was unfortunate that Dales cat; Fluffy had just died but we kept him smiling by playing lots of games. Jason created a trivia quiz to keep us going throughout the day. The bus was split in teams of 6. I was of course on the winning team – not that I am competitive at all!
We arrived at Daly Waters and this place is amazing, it is simply a pub and a caravan park in the middle of nowhere. Every evening is life music and it is like being on holiday in the middle of the dessert. We were sat in the pub watching the live music when a limousine pulled up outside. Jason walks up to the group and says where is team 2 – that was us – he brought us out opened the doors to the limousine and took us for a drive. We only went 10 mins up the road where we had a bottle of wine on an abandoned airstrip with plastic cups but I could not have been happier. We then got back into the limo and drove back the the pub. We had a few people wave us and take our pictures as we got out. We were like celebrities in this tiny town.
The next day we got up and on the bus by 6am so that we could make a good start into the day. We headed to a hot water spring and arrived by around 9.30am. It was a stunning place. The water was apparently 34degrees and it was just like stepping into bath water. We got to spent 1.5 hours here enjoying the water and taking in the surrounds before it was back on the bus.
Next stop was a waterfall. There were two options to the waterfall, if you were feeling lazy you could just go to the bottom one, if you wanted a walk for 30mins you could go to the top waterfall so I headed off for the top waterfall. When we got there it was beautiful. The currents were strong and weak swimmers did struggle but it was a great place to play in and enjoy the sunshine. There were a few tour groups there too. I could have spent a few hours here but time restraints meant we had to be back down and in the bus pretty swiftly.
We got into Darwin with great time and arranged to all meat in the pub at 7 for dinner that evening. If you have to travel from Alice Springs to Darwin I would certainly recommend Mulgas Adventure Tours. It is only slightly more expensive than the greyhound but you get to enjoy so much more on the way. The atmousphere on our tour bus was amazing and beats the greyhound experience hands down. The tour guides are brilliant and are very knowledgable and make sitting on a bus for so long not that bad. I also made some fantastic friends which I hope I will get to see again soon.