Saturday, April 27
I got picked up in a minibus (large van seating 12 people including the driver)by Julian, our tour guide from Groovy Grape Getaways, just before 7am. We continued to pick up other people around Adelaide until the bus was full. Drove through Adelaide, through to the Clare Valley, stopping to look at a couple wineries. Stopped in Clare for groceries. Drove through Georgetown to the Southern Flinders Ranges. Drove through Georgetown and Melrose (where Goider’s line is), past Mt. Remarkable to the lunch stop/caravan park/our camp in Wilmington, SA. Stoney Creek Bush Camp and Caravan Park. We had a BBQ burger lunch then went for a walk through a gorge to see very rare Yellow-Footed Rock-Wallabies. Watched the beautiful sunset while eating cheeses. Had a BBQ dinner and used a swag for camping (a big, heavy canvas bag with a built in mattress that a sleeping bag fits into). They allow a great view of the stars because your head is in the open. No tent.
Sunday, April 28
Left camp at 7am. Drove to Port Augusta for petrol. 550 more km to go to Coober Pedy! Saw a Wedge-Tailed Eagle and some Emus! Made a few pit stops, also stopped at Lake Hart, an inland salt lake. Arrived at Coober Pedy. Had an underground mine video and tour. Saw an opal shop. Had take out pizza watching the sunset then walked to a kangaroo rescue shelter to meet some roos. They also had a joey who’s mom got hit by a car. She was really cute, drinking from a bottle, and just starting to hop around. kangaroos can not hop backwards but baby ones can. Debbie was still rather uncoordinated and occasionally fell over or hopped backwards. She loved to spend time in her makeshift pouch, which is a cut up cotton tshirt put into a soft wicker shoulder bag which someone carries around while she peeks out. We slept in bunks in a “cave” (bunkhouses carved into a small hillside).
Monday, April 29
Had breakfast, left at 6:30am. Watched the sunrise @ the Breakaways, 7am. Had a couple pit stops. Watched two movies: The Adventures of Priscilla Desert Queen and Rabbit-Proof Fence. Crossed the border into the Northern Territory; 11:30am. Julian talked an awful lot, about European settlers and other history of the area, we took pictures. Had more pit stops. Stopped at a gas station/roadhouse called Erldunda. Drove to King’s Creek Station camp. Watched the sunset, had spaghetti bolognese with minced kangaroo. Swagged it, listening to Valery play the guitar.
Tuesday, April 30
Tried to drive to see the sunrise at the same spot as the sunset on the previous night, but hit a big rock that tore into the coolant tank and put the minibus out of commission. Julian, our tour guide arranged for us to travel with a Rotary exchange group of students from the neighboring campsite to hike King’s Canyon. It was Marvelous! We had a bit of free time after that, while waiting for a new minibus to be delivered from Alice Springs. It arrived and then we drove to Yulara, stopping at Curtin Springs briefly (saw some nice birds in cages there). Got to Yulara in time to get to Uluru for sunset!
Wednesday, May 1
Got up at 5am to drive to a viewpoint that allows you to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta for sunrise. Continued on to Kata Tjuta for a hike to “Viewpoint 2”. Lovely. Came back to camp for a taco lunch. We relaxed and I got a couple of photos developed and mailed a couple postcards. Got dinner ready to simmer – Hungarian Goulash. Went to the Cultural Centre and the same viewpoint for sunset. We walked on a trail to see both Uluru and Kata Tjuta sunsets, taking lots of photos.
Thursday, May 2
Got up early to see the sunrise hit Uluru from a different parking spot. Walked around Uluru reading the Aborigine stories explaining tjukurpa http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/uluru/culture/culture/ and explaining how various marks on the rock formed. After this walk we did another one, the Mala Walk. This one went around a small part of Uluru, showing different areas used for cooking, teaching, childbirth, ceremonies, hunting, etc. Very interesting that the Anangu people had a community type setting around the rock. Then we finished looking at the Cultural Centre and had lunch before heading out (at about 12:45pm) to Alice Springs. We arrived in Alice Springs at about 6:30pm. Everyone checked into their accommodations and then we all went out for a goodbye dinner.