After our last night in Adelaide we flew to Alice Springs. This town was located in the infamous Northern Territory. From the plane all you could see was red dirt and bushes all the way to the end of the horizon… The temperature was a little over 100 degrees (38C) and the humidity was around 10%, an iced anything would have been worth their weight in gold at that moment.. Once we had our bags we jumped on the shuttle and made our way through the small town of Alice Springs.
Once settled in at our hostel we ventured out on a walk around the town.. After about 10 minutes of melting in the desert heat we walked into a hat store that had just the thing I was looking for. As you can see by some of the photos we purchased 2 shade hats. These were perfect! It felt like it was 5 degrees cooler while wearing them! Now we were ready to face the outback heat, we also looked like we worked for the crocodile hunter! Haha. The next day we spent on the internet and relaxing inside as there was a cyclone heading our way, yes… a
cyclone! It was a category 1 and it actually passed in a town 3 hours away from where we were, so we just felt some strong winds but nothing serious.
The next morning we started the 9 day outback tour. After an early morning pick up we headed to Kata Tjuta and did a hike through the beautiful red rock mounds. We also spotted a perentie lizard. These can get up to 6 feet (2 meters) long! After the hike we went to Uluru and had a Champaign toast at sunset on Christmas eve. That evening we slept in swags (Australian for comfy big sleeping bags, remember?) underneath the stars… “Tents? We don’t need no stinking tents!” It was beautiful to see the starry sky every time you opened you eyes. Xiomara saw 8 shooting stars! We woke up at 3:50am and tried to eat breakfast, the simple act of moving a spoon from your bowl to you mouth seemed like a monumental task! After stumbling onto the bus we were off to Uluru to see the beautiful silhouette. The photo may not convince you, but it was worth getting up so early to see this beautiful sight. The
stillness of the early morning desert and the beautiful colors of the Christmas morning sunrise were priceless. From there we went around to the other side and watched the sunrise before walking around the base of Uluru. It seemed that we really lucked out with the cyclone because it must have killed most of the flies. They were supposed to be terrible there, but we encountered very few. So much for using our fly head nets that we purchased before going there.. After the hike we had a few hours to take a nap on the bus, before stopping to gather some fire wood. We all sat down to a nice Christmas dinner and then sat around the campfire before sleeping another night under the stars in swags.
The next day we hiked for 3 ½ hours in Kings Canyon and we all slept on the bus ride back to Alice Springs. The following morning we headed north on our way to Darwin, most of the first day was spent on the bus. However, we did manage to stop and see Charlie The Buffalo. He was the most famous buffalo in Australia for his role in Crocodile Dundee. The
next day we stopped in the tiny town of Daily Waters where we had a BBQ. This town consisted of two bars and a few houses. One of the bars tripled as the Post Office and the Police Station! After lunch we drove to some thermal pools and we all went for a swim. We also had some curious kangaroos hop around the water while we were swimming. After cooling off, we hopped back on the bus and rode to our campsite. The following day we visited Katherine’s Gorge. It was a short hike, but the temperature and the humidity were very high. It was clear that we had left the desert region with 10% humidity and entered tropical Australia. After the hike we were all very eager to swim at Edith Falls. That is until we saw the sign warning us of crocodiles. But the park rangers assured us that there have not been any saltwater crocodiles yet and they did not expect to see them for another month or so into the wet season and that the freshwater crocodiles did not pose a real threat. Still it was an eerie feeling swimming in the water hole. Afterwards we
had an interesting picnic lunch battling the flies. I have never seen so many flies in my entire life! We then had a bus trip to another set of falls and we all went for a swim to beat the heat.
The next day we went to visit an aboriginal community in Kakadu National Forest. There we learned how to play the didgeridoo and throw a spear. We also learned a little about the secretive aboriginal culture. They told us that in their culture nothing is owned, the community shares everything. They all work together to survive and they are very in tune with the land. They look to their elders as leaders, but there is no king or head of the tribe. After a kind send off, we boarded a boat to look for some crocodiles. Unfortunately, we did not spot any as the water levels had risen and they had too many place to hide. We had another fly picnic and then went to the Kakadu wetlands and hiked to view some aboriginal paintings. Then we went to Litchfield National park and went for a swim in the river. Our tour ended that evening when we were
dropped off in Darwin. That night we met up with our new found friends at a club/bar were we used some free meal vouchers that our tour guide gave us. Then the DJ started some games to get everyone loosened up. Someone from our group won all 3 games so we ended up winning 3 pitchers of beer and a $50 voucher to spend at the bar. So we all danced and drank all night for free!! The next night we returned again but none of us shared the same enthusiasm as the night before due to the lack of sleep and the amount of free alcohol that we had consumed the night before… The next day was rainy so we did not do a lot, just walked around Darwin a little bit. Then we met with our friends from France & Japan for a little while.
The following day we flew to Brisbane where we stayed in a very nice hostel. The next day we walked to the Botanical Gardens, a museum and an artificial beach. We had a relaxing evening and played Nintendo Wii (part of the free amenities the hostel in Brisbane had!). The next morning
we traveled north by bus to the charming town of Noosa There we stayed at a cool hostel that was built in the 1800’s. We walked on the beach and down the main street that was full of shops and restaurants. The town had a great beach vibe with low impact buildings and homes. The next day we explored the town a little more and then met up with our roommates for some beers at one of the local bars. The next day we visited the amazing Australia Zoo, where the legacy of The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin lives on. We watched an amazing show that consisted of one large saltwater crocodile and a few brave souls. Seeing them in action helps you understand why these reptiles have been around for more than 100 million years. We also found some friendly kangaroos and some beautiful tigers. Where the tigers were, I found a viewing area were nobody else was and crouched down, barely showing my face. That immediately caught one of the tiger’s attention, he also crouched down and watched me. After making a few very small movements and disappearing from view and then coming back into view (Exactly how
I would play with my father and Tina’s cats, Yogi and Boo Boo). Then the tiger charged (ran) from about 70 feet (23 meters). Fearing that he was going to come through the glass I quickly stood up and he stopped right when he reached the glass, he looked at me playfully and then spayed the glass. Letting me know who was the boss. As I turned to look for Xiomara, I noticed that she was half way to the bus with a trail of dust behind her. I have never seen her run so fast! We really enjoyed the zoo and felt that they did an excellent job with all of the animals. They all had plenty of space to live in and they looked like they were cared for very well. Later that evening we played ping pong and then had a good nights sleep.
The next day we boarded a bus to Hervey Bay were we had a briefing of the Frasier Island tour with the other 6 people that would be in our vehicle. This is a self-drive tour with other people. The next morning I drove us to the dock and onto the barge
(ferry). Now, this was a first for me because I was driving on the other side of the road, sitting on the other side of the car and it was a manual transmission, so I was shifting with the other hand… I had to learn fast, but quickly became familiar with it. Once on the island it was a 4 wheel drive adventure. Unmaintained sand tracks and some beautiful scenery. We drove to a campground were we filled up our water bottels and a communal 20liter tank. From there we drove to Lake Mckenezy. The water was beautiful, it was like the Caribbean sea but with fresh water. After swimming for 2 hours in the crystal clear lake we headed to our campground and picked a great campsite. After putting up our tents (first time for Xiomara!) we cooked some sausages and lamb chops. We all talked and played some games before jumping in our sleeping bags. The following morning we drove to the coast and started beach driving. This was much less challenging then than inland tracks but it was a beautiful drive. My nickname was “Driver” as everyone was so happy with my abilites and intimidated by the
conditions of the tracks, so a few others took short turns at the wheel but quickly through the key back at me. Which was great for me, as I loved every minute of it. We saw our first dingo as we headed north on the east coast of the island. Then we stopped at a shipwreck which was right by a sand airstrip (airplane landing area), there were several of these all over the island. Unfortunately, we could not swim in the ocean as there were strong rip tides and undertoes. If you survived those then you would be stung by jellyfish or eaten by a shark or both! So as beautiful as it looked, we just had to admire it from land.
After reaching as far north as we were allowed to go, we walked up to Indian Head lookout point and saw some amazing views. We did not see any sharks or dolphins, but we did spot a stingray. We then headed back south and camped on the beach. This was the best view that I have ever had from a tent!! We also saw two more dingoes. The next day we all decided to go back
to Lake Mckensey again, as it was so beautiful. We all had a great time and our group was a lot of fun. We had people from U.K., Germany and Holland. After arriving back in Hervey Bay, Xiomara and I went out to find a restaurant. We looked up to find the sky full of millions of bats. Huge bats, the Flying Foxes as they are called here in Australia. A local told us that they come out every night just after sunset and return back to there homes just before sunrise. He also told us about a nice Italian restaurant that was nearby. We followed his advice and found a charming little restaurant where we had some great pizza and a nice glass of wine, a nice change from all the cooking we do in our hostels.
The next morning we took a bus back to Brisbane were we just relaxed in the hostel and prepared to fly out to Christchurch, New Zeland. We both really enjoyed Australia and are so happy that we came here. We have made some great friends and seen some beautiful things. Now onto New Zealand!!!
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