Hello! Could this be the shortest interval we have had between blogs? I hope you are as impressed as me, and dare I say you should expect this sort dedication on a more regular basis! I really am serious about putting more time into this. Then not only can I talk about all of my incredible travels, but also about my feelings (yuck!) and my general head space. I am so grateful for all of the amazing experiences that I have had, but sometimes the good is laced with bad, and ultimately I just want to be as honest as possible. Perhaps now on this will be more like an online journal… Anyway, on the same day that I bid farewell to my parents I hopped on an overnight bus from Melbourne to Adelaide to start my 18 day true Aussie Outback adventure!
Before I started this trip I was really anxious. My head was all over the place, and I spent my first two hours in Adelaide crying under a tree in the botanical gardens. It definitely partially had something to do with having not slept in over 24 hours, combined with the usual fear of the unknown. I pulled myself together, checked into my hostel room and introduced myself to a lovely warm Greek girl. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring all that Adelaide had to offer before I headed to bed for an early night, ready for my 5AM alarm the next morning.
For the first six days of my trips I did a Groovy Grape tour from Adelaide to Alice Springs, called Rock Patrol. I am so ridiculously thankful and happy to have worked in travel, and to have the connections to allow me to do these wonderful trips. The tour could not have got off to a better start as I instantly connected with a fabulous German girl called Marie. We sat at the front of the bus that was soon to become our little home, behind our unbelievably cool tour guide Jason. Jason was such a charismatic guide, making us all feel instantly welcome and comfortable. Our group was very diverse with me (shockingly) being the only English person. We spent the first few days travelling through the Flinders Ranges, staying in an underground Opal Mining town called Cooper Pedy. The whole group really hit it off and we spent each day and night playing silly games, getting to know one another, and most importantly laughing. The minute we left Adelaide the landscape totally changed, and often we would go hours without passing a single vehicle on the road. We spent Easter Morning having an Easter egg hunt around a haunted house and spent the night at a Kangaroo Orphanage kissing baby Kangaroos. I really think that whether or not a tour is ‘good’ is so heavily influenced by the tour group, and I really could not have asked for a better one. Marie and myself spent every day on the bus next to one another, and every night in a bunk bed besides each other and I definitely gained a friend for life.
Once we were finally up into the Red Centre, our nights of luxury in bunk beds were over and we were introduced to our home for the next 3 nights… The ‘Swag.’ Essentially this is just a slightly larger than normal sleeping bag, with a flap over the head. To make matters even more stressful I was told that we would be hiking Kings Canyon later that day, and climbing Heart Attack Hill. This is a hill SO steep that it has a genuine heart defibrillator at the top. It was definitely worth the climb as Kings Canyon was absolutely breath taking. As we continued to hike the sun started to set in front of us, marking the end of a very special day.
After a lovely evening filled with good food and games we cozied up around the fire in our swags, ready for some star gazing and real ‘camping’. And then it started to rain… Swags are not exactly waterproof so we woke up slightly damp to say the least. The next few days were definitely filled with challenges. Mice on our ‘beds’, dingos in our campsite, the list goes on! But with these challenges came the most special friendships I could have imagined. We all came together and supported one another, whilst continuing with the silly games and talking all night long.
Our final two days were spent taking in the incredible Uluru and Kata Tjuta and learning all about the aboriginal history and spiritual meanings. Uluru is such a special place, it was really quite overwhelming to see it up close. After arriving in Alice Springs we had a final night of dinner and drinks and then bid farewell to our Rock Patrol 2k17 tour group!
Despite Rock Patrol surely reassuring me how unbelievably amazing tours could be I still felt just as nervous to start my 6 day trip into the Top End with Wayoutback! Luckily I instantly bonded with a lovely quirky Swiss girl Jade, but I did deeply miss my new friends. The next three days were spent journeying from Alice to Darwin! We soaked in Mataranka thermal pools, and swam in the beautiful Katherine Gorge. We toasted marshmallows over the fire and I got to witness the most unbelievable star soaked sky that I have ever seen, and most probably ever will see. It was so refreshing to get away from society and just sleep on the dirt, with only ourselves to keep each other company for the night. Nonetheless I was more than pleased to learn our accomodation from then on was slightly more luxurious ; permanent tents with little beds set up for us! Glamping style!
The final three days on tour were spent in Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks. We got to see true authentic Aboringoal rock drawings, and indulged in many Indigenous culutural centres – a true learning experience. We took a cruise into Arnhem Land and had fresh water crocodiles swimming underneath our boat! The further North we got it seemed the more infested with mosquitoes we got, and at one point I had TWENTY TWO mozzie bites on my face… The mice were replaced by frogs and toads hopping all around us and I was starting to tire of wilderness wees! I was very happy to arrive back to Darwin and treat myself to a couple of nights in a private room. The tours were absolutely unforgettable, but equally exhausting and I was VERY ready to get back to my life in Melbourne! Having absolutely zero time for myself, and knowing that even when I did arrive back in Melbourne I was going to be faced with the very tiresome task of finding a new home, was absolutely terrifying. Still, what an absolutely incredible adventure this has been!