Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Rock tour

So I opted to join a tour with Brid and Gethin, as I love traveling with them so much, and it just seemed like the right thing to do!! I booked on a three day Rock tour that took us to Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. We had a 6am pick up on the 29th, which meant, once again, an early morning.... will this ever end!!! haha
We had a full tour with no empty seats. I was in the front behind the driver, my favorite spot!! We had a long drive about 5 hours and our first stop was Kings Canyon. Of course we had a few stops at roadhouses.... toilet breaks, as well as to pick up supplies such as water and of course beer. Once we arrived, we filled up all our water bottles and where off to hike through Kings Canyon. We had a brief walk to the start of the canyon, then hiked up a very steep hill (AKA, heart attack hill) to the top where we walked around. The canyon sort of reminded me of Karijini national park and some of the geographical formations reminded me of the Bungle Bungles. It was a beautiful 3 hour hike with lots of picture taking! Once we finished we headed to our first camp, a bush camp, my favorite! Brid had never been bush camping before and was petrified of having to pee in the bush. She was hilarious, and the first time she had to pee, I went out with her. We where about 50m away from each other and just to make things more entertaining, as she was peeing, I said, "Hey Brid, I can hear you peeeeeeing"!!! And she laughed giving me shit at the same time!! haha For supper that night we had chili, minus the chili, curry veggies and pasta. Interesting mix of food, but good none-the-less. We made a massive fire and all of us slept in our swags around the fire - I was actually hot that night and slept very well (when don't I sleep well in a swag?)

We where up early the next day, 0530, had breakfast and we where off to Kata Tjuta, aka, the Olgas. We stopped briefly to watch the sunrise as we could see uluru from the road - and it was a beautiful sunrise that morning. We arrived at the Olgas and started our hike. We walked the 'Valley of the Winds" walk, and man was it beautiful. I didn't really know what to expect with the Olgas, but they where truly spectacular. Massive rocks, amazing colors, and even more breathtaking views. There is one spot that you walk up, and when you get to the top, you look out between these two massive boulders and see this amazing view of green grass and trees with rocks surrounding it. It looks like the scene from a western movie. We only had about 10-15 minutes to enjoy this view before we continued on to finish our walk. It was about a 2-2 1/2 hour walk, and I loved it!! I Could do it every day the views are so great. We left Kata Tjuta and headed to Uluru to check out the Cultural center at the visitors center. It was very informative, but to be honest, I wasn't all that interested in reading the informative signs - there was so many of them, and I just wanted to chill. I seriously think I was getting tired of the whole tour thing, and just wanted to relax, and do nothing! In fact, I was pretty lazy helping with meals as well, but I was seroiusly sick of cooking, I did help with clean up though, well, my dishes anyways :) After we where finished at the center, we headed to the famous Uluru rock and hiked a small portion of the base walk. We hiked the Mala walk, 2.4 kms, and our guide told us some of the stories about the rock, and the aboriginals beliefs about the rock and what certain things meant to them, ect. It was very interesting and I enjoyed listening to her talking about it, more then me reading about it in the visitors center. After the walk, we headed to a near-by car park where our guide made supper and we watched the colors of the rock change as the sun set behind us. Unfortunately, that night, it was not the best sunset as it was pretty cloudy, so we maybe had about 30 seconds of the rock changing color.....and that was it. Supper that night was sweet chili chicken and rice - I couldn't eat the veggies as they had peanut sauce on them, but the chicken was awesome so I wasn't complaining! After eating and watching the sunset, we headed to our camp for the night. It was in Yulara, and they where strict about how big the fire could we where a bit colder that night compared to the previous night. I had sweat pants on, socks, a long sleeved shirt, a hoody, and a touque! We also went to the grocery store before arriving at camp and our guide purchased Kangaroo tail for us to try. Once we got the fire going, we started the process of cooking 'roo tail. First we had to thaw it out, which took about 30 minutes, then we had to stick the tail in the fire to singe all the hair off and scrape it off with a knife - and depending on the time of year, sometimes there is more hair then not. This tail had a bit of hair as it was starting to grow its winter coat. Once all the hair was gone, you cook the tail in the ground under hot hot coals, which takes about 30 minutes. Once it was cooked, she cut it up and handed pieces out. Gethin and I each tried some - the tail is very bony as well as grissely and fatty, but the meat itself wasn't too bad, it was just a pain in the ass to get to the meat and not much of it when you found it! BUT, I can now check that off my list!! Everyone was in bed pretty early but Brid, Gethin, a couple other people from the tour and I where not ready to go to bed yet. We stayed up fairly late chatting and giggling, then finally went to bed early as we had to get up early the next morning to watch the sunrise at Uluru.

I think we where up at about 5am, packed up our swags and was on the bus in 20 minutes. Our tour guide said in the summer time the sun rises earlier so she is up at 4am in order to get there in time! Thank goodness I came in the winter time. We arrived at Uluru just in time to watch the rock turn this amazing orange color. I had seen anything like it before. Our guide cooked us breakfast while we watched the rock change colors from the sunrise (as well as hundreds of other people.... how annoying) and took way too many photos. She then took us to our drop off spot where we started our 8km walk around the base of Uluru. About 4 people climbed the rock - which I wasn't about to do. I respected the aboriginals who asked us not to climb it for spiritual reasons, and I respected this just as I would respect wearing a sarong going into a temple. We didn't walk around the whole rock as we had done some of it the day before, so we just walked around the part we hadn't walked. I talked with this other Canadian that was on our tour most of the way and before I knew it, we where finished the hike. I was pretty impressed with Uluru, but like I said, I was more impressed with Kata Tjuta. Everyone has heard of the rock, and just as I was expecting it to be big, it was, and I was expecting it to change colors, which it did - although there where more vibrant colors then I could ever imagine. It was pretty neat walking around it knowing that aboriginals had been coming here for hundreds of thousands of years. One of the things that I was unaware of was the difference between 'men's business' and women's business'. In fact, there are spots where they ask you not to take pictures so it doesn't get shown to the opposite sex by accident. Of course, each one of us, by accident of course, took pictures of the forbidden areas, only because we would be chatting and see something that looked cool, took a picture, not realizing that we where in the forbidden area. Oops.....we deleted them though, don't worry!! I was also unaware how big this rock actually is. Thousands of years ago when the rock was formed, it was actually pushed up from the ground at an angle. So the portion of the rock that we can see is actually very small. The rock was pushed up at an 80 degree angle, and it is estimated to be about 6km below the that a BIG rock!

After we finished the walk, we headed back on the bus and where off to drive back to Alice Springs. I had moved spots on the bus - was up front for some of the drive, but got demoted to the back of the bus, but had two seats to myself so I could snooze! We stopped for lunch at a roadhouse and 5 hours later arrived back in Alice Springs.

The difference with this tour from my previous tours was that we hardly had the chance to get to know anyone. Just as we where starting to get to know everyone, and chat, and have a good time, the tour was over :( However, this group I found was not thatfun and I was glad I had Brid and Gethin to chat with and hang out with! We all decided that evening to meet at Toddy's pub (the pub attached to our hostel) for dinner and/or drinks. Brid, Gethin and I didn't feel like spending the dough on supper, so we headed to the supermarket and bought food to make ourselves. We met up with everyone after they ate and had a couple beers with them all. Many of them left early, but there was about 6 of us left and we decided to head into Alice Springs, Bojangles, for some more drinks and dancing. Brid was loving all the cowboys that where there, and I was lovin' the beer!! haha
Once we got kicked out of Bojangles (because it was closing, not because we where being bad!) we decided to head to the casino. I was wearing flip flops, and almost got through security, but I was stopped by the more senior security and was told I couldn't go in. BS if you ask me as I was dressed nicely, and my flip flops where even new! Oh well, we decided it was late enough and we should go back anyways.....but, wait.....I had to pee! I asked security if I could go in and at least use the bathroom, nope, I wasn't allowed. This was even more BS if you ask me, and Gethin suggested I put his shoes on to go in to use the toilet. Eww, I thought, I wasn't going to put on his shoes, but I was convinced, just to prove a point, to put them on and go use the toilet. So I did. I put on his size 12 men's shoes, security let me pass as I met standards, and off I went to use the toilet! I wanted to take a picture of me and the security guard that was going to let me pass the first time, but the other guards even prevented that!!! Bastards, but I did get one quick picture!! heehee
Ahhh, what a tour it was, and no more early mornings for me :)

No comments: