In 2008, we embarked on our RtW trip, visiting seven countries. So far, we witnessed the skyscrapers of Hong Kong, the colourful and sleek wonders of Singapore, the rugged beauty of Darwin and the remote Aboriginal communities of Alice Springs. Next up was the enchanting Uluru… where things were about to get even more lonely!
Our Uluru Connections Travel tour was underway, and the tour guide was in high spirits. As it was 7am we were not! The trip out of Alice Springs was very interesting as it took us south through the MacDonnell Ranges and back into the wilderness.
The bus/truck we were on had air conditioning, lots of room and the people on the tour were friendly and nice. After a two-hour drive, we stopped off at Erldunda Roadhouse to refuel and food. This was also the turning point of going from wilderness to complete remoteness and what looked like a Mars landscape.
Catherine and I couldn’t sleep because we were too excited, and after another 2hrs 30min drive, we arrived at Yulara Coach Campground. After picking our tent and unloading our bags we got back in the van and headed for Kata Tjuṯa.
Our guide walked us through the Kata Tjuta’s domes and up to the Valley of the Wind, which had spectacular views over the wilderness. According to Anangu culture, these rock formations hold knowledge and can only be learned if you have a cultural connection. The walk consists of some loose rocks and steep slopes, but it’s well worth it.
A quick walk down and we were done for the day. A stop off at the Uluru sunset viewing carpark was a brilliant finish to the day.
The next day we were up early making breakfast with our fellow camp mates, which we needed, as today we were walking around the whole of Uluru. This was and amazing experience with our tour guide feeding us useful information along the way. Uluru is spectacular and magical place, but with every visit comes great responsibility. You must always respect this land.
On our drive out of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, we found ourselves very blessed and soon fell asleep. The tour was heading on to Watarrka National Park and so we were left at Curtin Springs Station waiting for a bus to catch. This was not a very comfortable time for us as we didn’t know when or if a bus was going to come. What happens if it doesn’t come and do we have enough sun cream for our pale British skin?
Luckily a bus did arrive, and we got back to Toddy’s Hostel with time to spare for an evening swim. The next morning after checking out, we walked to Alice’s centre to catch a bus to Adelaide. The morning air was much cooler, and we didn’t need to hide in the shadows.
Our budget limits meant we had to opted for a bus to Adelaide and not continue to it on the Ghan. It was sad, but it meant we had a few more nights somewhere with the money we saved. It wasn’t a busy bus by any means as Catherine and I were the only ones on it for most of the time.
About 7 hours in, the driver picked up a mother and daughter and posted some letters as the driver was also the postman. This was a good opportunity to catch up on some sleep.
With stop offs at Kulgera Pub and Coober Pedy, we stocked up on food and water… and we were well on our way.
Arriving in Victoria Square, Adelaide in the afternoon was an eye opener after spending some time in the Northern Territory. The tall buildings and trams whizzing by made us feel back into the groove of life again. We headed to our hostel we had booked – Hostel 109.
This was a very nice place and we were greeted with an upgrade from a dorm to a single bunk room. Pure luxury!
This was much appreciated and made our stay even better. The next day we ventured out to visit something that I had wanted to see for some time, the Adelaide Street Circuit, which held the Formula 1 race. This was by far the most exciting thing I wanted to see and as you can guess, the least exciting for Catherine.
We walked around the whole circuit, experiencing where Mansell had a blow out and Schumacher claimed his maiden title. The track is right next door to the square centre and so we wondered into the middle, past the Adelaide Oval and grabbed some food.
A few days in we were a bit more familiar with the city and caught a tram to Glenelg Beach. The Glenelg tram starts from the centre of Adelaide and takes 40mins to get to Mosley Square, with a single trip costing $3.60, off peak. With a beautiful pier and lovely beaches this is a good place to relax and soak in where we were.
After a return tram back to the centre and a quick walk through The Forest of Dreams, we checked out of our hostel and headed for the bus station for the overnight coach to Melbourne.
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Alice Springs bus station to Uluru 6 hrs
Alice Springs bus station to Adelaide bus station 16 hrs
Toddy’s Hostel (Alice Springs)
Hostel 109 (Adelaide)
Things we did:
Valley of the Wind
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Adelaide Street Circuit
Adelaide Central Market
The Forest of Dreams
Tour bus and local buses