I was so nervous to leave Sydney. The Blue Parrot had become my safety net over the two weeks I was there but as the plane flew over the outback, the red landscape filling the windows and we started our descent my sense of adventure and excitement kicked in. I was going to a place that I had wanted to visit since I was a little girl! When I was a teenager my reasons for going to Australia were 1. To see Silverchair and meet their bassist, Chris Joannou, who I had a massive crush on. #2, and the much more realistic reason, to visit Uluru, the Aboriginal’s sacred rock in the middle of Australia. The red rock. That is why at the end of my second week in Sydney I found myself in Peterpans Adventure Travel booking a trip to Central Australia. The three day Wayoutback “Cockatoo Dreaming Uluru Safari” to see the mystical rock which had drawn me to the country when I was 13 years old.
I flew into Alice Springs airport and took the shuttle bus to Haven, the hostel where I would spend one night before I headed out on the tour which would hit Uluru, Kings Canyon, Valley of the Winds and the surrounding Outback.
Alice Springs is a nice, quiet but peculiar little town. It is a place where European and Aboriginal cultures meet. It felt a bit like the Wild West in a modern sense and was very quiet when I was there but it was off season. The Aboriginal people settled in Alice Springs thousands of years ago but the first European Pioneers didn’t arrive on the scene and begin the actual town until 1872 with the building of the first Southern Overland Telegraph line. The telegraph line allowed the pioneers to settle in Central Australia and you can visit the telegraph station in Alice Springs today.
I ended up spending two days there book ending the tour. The first I spent with two girls who were also going on the same tour and as we had a 4am start the following morning we were all roomed together. I was wrecked from travelling but didn’t want to miss out seeing the town and finding some good grub. This was where I had my first taste of Kangaroo and I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. Kangaroo has a very distinct taste. It is very meaty but almost has a spiced flavour to it without it being spiced. It still doesn’t beat Ostrich though in my opinion but it is definitely worth trying and playing with for flavour. We checked out the local art gallery that held Aboriginal craftsmanship along with a small museum at the back which gave my first glimpse into their way of life and culture.
My second day in Alice Springs was the day after the tour ended and our night out in Alice Springs. Everyone had booked into Haven for an extra evening so we had a day to recuperate and have a group night out on the town. It is a town which thrives off of backpackers – restaurants and bars were predominately backpackers or tourists. The following evening we were recommended to walk up to Signal Hill to catch the sunset. Signal Hill looks over the whole of Alice Springs and it’s focal point is a large war memorial with the MacDonald Ranges as your backdrop. It is a beautiful view and we all just sat at the top soaking it in as the sun dipped down behind the hills. From there we headed to Annie’s place for dinner. Cafeteria style tables, brightly coloured walls and a Canadian bartender! Little home chat never hurts. Not to mention the food was delicious! I can recommend the homemade lasagna and pizza.
The next morning we all said our final goodbyes and headed off to our next destinations, Cairns, Darwin, Melbourne and for me Sydney. I flew back with Jess and as we are both foodies our conversation revolved around food, obviously and I picked up this little gem of a recipe form Jess. Avocado with an egg cooked into the middle. I have tried it since and can vouch for it. Light, tasty and filling and especially good with a bit of feta over top.