The Australian Outback
The Australian Outback, or ‘the bush’, as the locals call it. Home to Uluru, the giant rock that hangs out in the middle of the desert.
I had heard a lot about Uluru- good things and bad. Some other backpackers told me that it’s just a big rock, and wasn’t worth seeing, while others told me it’s definitely something that I had to do before leaving Australia.
As always, I decided that I wanted to see it for myself before making an opinion of it- but heading other’s advice, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t the only thing I was going to the outback to see.
After some research, I decided on Mulgas Adventure tours, and convinced my friend to join me on a 5- day tour from Darwin to Alice Springs. In short, it was awesome. We had great tour guides, and stopped at places I never even heard of.
With a 6am start, we all packed into a van and started our journey down. Basically all of us fell asleep on the bus (a theme through-out this journey), and slept off and on as we made little pit stops along the way (also a theme through-out this trip).
Our first major stop was at Edith falls- a beautiful oasis waterfall in the middle of the desert. It was lovely- the water was warm, the hike easy, and the falls were beautiful.
We went onto Mataranka thermal springs, which was probably one of my favorite places. It was beautiful- I felt like we were in a foreign, magical land- the water was so warm and clear, the forest lush and green. It felt so peaceful and magical as we floated down the river. I could have spent hours there, and not felt like any time went by at all.
The next day we headed down to Devil’s Marbles. These are basically giant rocks (we saw a lot of rocks this trip) that have worn down in places to look like giant marbles. They look like they are stacked on top of each other, but they aren’t- the stacked ones are actually one rock, just eroded in a certain way.
A lot of the places that we saw (including Devil’s marbles) are sacred sites to indigenous tribes in Australia. If you choose to go to these places, please be respectful of their culture and don’t ignore the rules and warnings at the sights. If they ask you not to climb on things or take pictures of things, don’t do it.
Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park was up next- first, we headed to the cultural center to learn about the aboriginal creation-time story of the significance of Uluru. I highly recommend going to the cultural center if you go to Uluru- the history is interesting, and it gives you perspective on how important these places are to the aboriginal people in the area.
As everyone says, Uluru is just a rock. A very large rock. An enormous rock. A pretty cool rock, to be honest. It was beautiful at sunset, and even more beautiful at sunrise. Up close, it wasn’t just a big rock- there were caverns, water holes, and (during wet season) waterfalls.
While Uluru wasn’t my favorite part of this trip, it was definitely worth seeing, and I am glad that I went. Also, to all my followers, friends, acquaintances, enemies etc.- DON’T CLIMB ULURU! Although it isn’t illegal (yet), it is not only dangerous, but extremely disrespectful to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara- the aboriginal people from the area. Uluru is a major part of their history and their culture, so don’t be that guy. Be respectful of other cultures!
After Uluru, we headed over to Kata Tjuta. Kata Tjuta is a series of domes (more big rocks!) that were formed at the same time (and kind of the same way) as Uluru. It was stunning- it felt as though we were so far from civilization, transported back into a time before time was even a thing.
At night, we slept in swags under the stars, our sleeping bags surrounding the bonfire for warmth. I didn’t sleep well, but it was definitely worth it- the stars were so clear and beautiful that I didn’t even want to close my eyes. There was no light pollution whatsoever, and I stared at the milky way for hours, feeling like an ant among those giants.
The next day, we headed over to probably one of my favorite places in Australia- Kings Canyon. We rose at 4am so we could hike to see the sunrise over the canyon. Although I am not a morning person, I will always wake up for a good sunrise, and this was definitely worth it.
Kings Canyon itself was beautiful. It was a nice switch up from all the rocks (absence of rocks instead) and was absolutely lovely. We hiked down to the garden of Eden (and snacked on apples), but my favorite part was definitely standing at the top of the canyon, looking over the edge.
Overall, it was an amazing trip, and I am so glad that I got to experience it before I leave Australia.
Have you been to the outback of Australia? Would you? Answer in the comments below!