Red dust everywhere, lots of straight roads, dingoes. The NT is a place like no other. Deserted, but busy at the main touristy attractions. It’s the land of the Indigenous, a sacred, mystic place with just a couple of towns, and lots of nothing in between.
After the quick visit to South Australia, a decision to make a complete detour, and not go West straight away but North, we set off for a new adventure in a different state.
On our way to Ayers Rock, or Uluru – the Aboriginal name for this magnificent rock – , we came across some beautiful sceneries. Bushes, red dirt, lots of nothing. We decided to stop at the Mount Connor look out, for we had a great view, had driven a lot of kilometres and we though it’d be a good distance for the next day. And how cute, some little mice were rummaging around, finding bread crumbs. Couldn’t be more pleased with this peaceful little rest area to get some sleep before the big rock tomorrow! Except, at night, these cute little mice…GOT INTO EUGENE!! Rummaging alright, through our stuff. What a hassle to get everything out, and get rid of the little thing. Not much sleep and completely paranoid about more mice, we set off to Ayers Rock, bought a mousetrap, set it and went on with our day. It had better be gone when we got back…
Ayers Rock and the Olgas
After doing quiet a bit of bushwalking in Victoria, we were eager to explore the area of Ayers Rock. The first day we walked all the way around Ayers Rock. Nice views, beautiful scenery, and not as many people as you’d expect from a main tourist attraction. They were mainly old people, walking around in (tour)groups.
The second day, we decided to go for a walk called “The Valley of the Winds”. That’s not at Ayers Rock, but at The Olgas – or, Kata Tjuta – .They are 36 large rock formations, so not just one extremely big rock, like Ayers Rock. The walk we did there was beautiful, with bits of climbing/walking up some rocks. A bit more of a challenge and the scenery was amazing. We met up with some people starting to do the walk at the same time, so we had nice company! Beau and Corey have been travelling Australia for eight months now and aren’t planning to go back to the USA any time soon! Loving it on this side of the planet.. There were several lookout points to see across the whole area, but also small paths through the domes. They made for exquisite looks of the Valley.
I liked the Olgas better, maybe because it’s less touristy, but definitely because of the magnificent walk and stunning views.
So? Did you climb Ayers Rock?
No, no profile left on my beloved DC shoes… Tom did though!
Back on the Stuart Highway, that took us all the way up north to Katherine, we decided not to go to Darwin. Really, we wanted to get to the West, our first plan! So, we made some stops from Alice Springs to WA. Some were more memorable than others.
Tennant Creek? Not impressed.
The hot springs in Mataranka were amazing though. We wanted to go to the one adviced by the Lonely Planet, but we ended up going to a lesser known one, and going for a dip. Greenish-blue water, little fish and sunshine. This is the life!
The Katherine Nitmiluk National Park was beautiful as well. With a challenging walk in the heat, that led to a little swimming hole, with cool cool water and a (harmless) watersnake! Great times, but when we had to go back, we had to climb our way back up in the heat. Oh how I wanted there to be another swimming hole back at the start for a cool down…
After Katherine, we’re West bound. Finishing our last veggies before changing states, we’re almost there!
Some memories from NT-rest areas
What about the time when we drove a really long distance, into the night and arrived at a crowded rest area? Trying to park in between to massive caravans, we were shoo-ed away because the lady wanted to be able to put her awning out. Don’t you use that for shade from the sun, instead of at night time?
Steve, Matteo and Chris were some awesome dudes Tom met on Ayers Rock, and they turned up at the same rest area at night. Goon and good times to be had!
And then, there was the lady, also known as the Red Nomad, always travelling, all around Australia in her campervan.
How can I forget Sunset guy, and of course the Swiss-moved-to-NZ-couple we keep bumping into along the way, all the way to Western Australia!
And the mice?
In the end, we caught about four mice in one night, and that’s all the mice we had after that atrocious rest area with the views of Mount Connor. Not to worry, there’s enough flies around to annoy us, instead! (see the pictures!)