Endless roads, not a soul in sight and red dirt everywhere – that’s what I pictured when thinking of the Australian outback. Ever since I set foot on Australian soil it has been my dream to explore the heart of this land down under. Dreams come true, and for five days I had the privilege to explore all the wonders of Australia’s desert with Wayoutback Australian Safaris.
Getting to the red dirt
There are only a few airlines that fly to and from Ayers Rock (AYQ) and Alice Springs (ASP), resulting in the tickets being fairly expensive compared to other domestic flights in Australia. I paid 300 EUR (450 AUD) for a return flight to Ayers Rock from Sydney, but if you start searching in way ahead of your trip you might find some better deals. The flight takes about three hours, and if you fly to Ayers Rock, you can already see Uluru from way up high. So exciting!
— Day One —
Hello Red Centre!
Once I landed at Ayers Rock Airport, which is literally one of the tiniest airports I’ve ever seen, I was picked up by Wayoutback’s guide Joe and jumped in Wayoutback’s ginormous 4×4 truck. After a short drive I could already catch a first glimpse or Uluru – whaaa! I couldn’t believe I was finally seeing this beautiful red rock with my own eyes!
Learning about the local culture
After arriving in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and taking a few quick Uluru-selfies, it was time to learn more about the Aboriginal culture. A beautiful indigenous lady called Sarah, who only spoke her native language Pitjantjatjara and was therfore accompanied by an interpreter, told us more about her culture, land and art. By drawing in the sand she showed us Aboriginal drawings for people (women/men) children, water and places of significance. She then took us closer to Uluru and showed us some ancient wall art where we could clearly see some of the images she just described to us. It was a very unique experience and I’m so happy that after 1,5 years in Australia I finally got to learn more about this ancient, rich and fascinating culture.
My favorite time is sunset time!
If you’ve been reading my blogs or have been following me on instagram for a while, you know how much I love a good sunset. So what’s better than to watch a sunset at one of the most iconic places with a glass of bubbles in your hand? Uluru adapts the different colors of sunset, going from red to even ‘redder’. It was the perfect ending to an impressive first day in the outback.
— Day Two —
Rise and shine!
My alarm went off at 5am, soooo early! But hey – you don’t get to witness a sunrise at Uluru everyday so chop chop, get out of that bed! Joe took us to a sunrise spot where you have an amazing view over Uluru and the dry lands of the outback. I moved away from the crowds to have my own little Uluru-sunrise-moment (and to take some pictures, of course 😉 With many little clouds in the sky, Uluru in the background and peace and silence all around, it was a sunrise unlike any others I experienced before.
Wind was never so welcome
Later that day we went to Kata Tjuta to go on the Valley of the Winds hike. This beautiful walk takes you through the stunning landscapes of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National park, and thanks it’s name to the constant breeze offering you relief from the intense outback-heat. The walk takes you up to the Karingana lookout which provides you with absolutely breathtaking views, making conquering the steep tracks and heat oh-so worth it.
— Day Three —
Another gorgeous hike, anyone?
One of Wayoutback’s other guides told me that if I loved Uluru and the Valley of the Winds hike, I’d be in for a real treat when going on a hike in Kings Canyon. And oh boy, was she right! This hike starts with some very steep climbing all the way to the top of the canyon. That this climb is not for the faint hearted is confirmed by the fact that there’s even a defibrillator at the top of the hill – just in case. You then walk through the canyon where you’re treated to amazing views time after time after time. The hike then takes you down to an unexpected oasis where you can splash some cold water on your overheated-hike face. Please bear in mind that this is a sacred place for indigenous people, so swimming is inappropriate.
After the hike and some driving, Joe took us to a not-so-usual lunch spot, namely a meteor crater called Tnorala. About 142 million years ago a huuuuge comet struck Central Australia, leaving one of the largest craters in the world.
Our campsite for the night was located in Glen Helen, and this was probably one the most photogenic campsites I’ve ever seen in my life. Just a stone’s throw away from the campsite you’ll stumble upon a gorgeous waterhole, called Glen Helen Gorge, where I dove in straight away to cool off after yet another amazing day with Wayoutback.
— Day Four —
Let’s find some wallabies!
The day started in the West MacDonnell ranges, where we set off on a short hike, called the Ghost Gum Walk, in the hopes to spot some black footed rock wallabies. These cute creatures don’t always show themselves to tourists, but lucky as we were those little fellas proudly gave away one of their shows! It’s amazing to see how they effortlessly jump from rock to rock, making me a bit envious wishing I could hike like that! After the hike it was time for a swim in Ormiston Gorge. We then visited Ellery Creek and took some photos at nature’s own ‘instawall’: the Ochre Pits. These Ochre Pits are a registered sacred site and are still used to this day by its traditional owners for its Ochre deposits.
You got swag!
On the itinerary for the last night was going back to basic and sleeping in a swag under the stars, but unfortunately the weather gods decided otherwise. Instead of camping in the middle of nowhere, we had to find shelter at a roadhouse and camp under one of their little sheds. Still, sleeping in a swag, which is like a big sleeping bag made out of tent material, was quite an unique experience and I slept like a baby that night.
— Day Five —
Learning more about the culture
The last day and activity of the tour was one I had been looking forward to the most. We met with an indigenous lady named Loy. She sat down with us and told us all about Aboriginal culture, languages, plants, ‘countries’ and food. Did you know Australia consists of hundreds of different Aboriginal regions, all with their own languages and cultural habits?
Loy then took us with her to explore her land, and taught us about some of the plants that are growing on her property. She also showed us rock art and other traces her ancestors left on the land. It’s amazing to learn that on such dry lands in in such hot circumstances these people knew exactly what to do, where to go and what plants/food to look for in order to be able to survive.
Impressed, tired but sooo content Joe dropped me off at my accommodation in Alice Springs for the night, Alice on Todd. The double bed looked so inviting I fell vast asleep soon after, dreaming of all the beauty I had witnessed on my amazing outback adventure on my trip with Wayoutback Australian Safaris.
Planning a trip to the Outback soon? Yay! I get to give you 25 AUD off if you book directly with Wayoutback and mention the code ‘eefexplores25’ by calling their reservations team on 1300 551 510 or by email via email@example.com. Valid on all Red Centre tours, book before 31/3/2018 & travel by 30/6/2018. *Valid for new bookings only and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers
Disclaimer: Wayoutback Australian Safaris sponsored my trip, however the initiative of this collaboration was taken by me. All opinions are 100% mine and 100% genuine. Some of the credit of these photos goes to guide Joe – thanks for always wanting to take my photos! 🙂