In the outback

Flinders Ranges

One week ago Eva, Conny and I left Adelaide, to travel further north. Our first stop was Port Augusta, still along the coast. We slept in the cars at a roadhouse, where they had toilets and warm water, and even a place where we could sit inside. The next day Eva’s van had to go to the garage for some maintenance, and we took my car to the Flinders Ranges. A national park north-east of Port Augusta. We arrived fairly late, so a long hike was out of the question unfortunately. The view from the car was pretty nice though, where we were surrounded by mountain tops. Before sunset we arrived back in Port Augusta, and picked up the van. Eva was very lucky. The garage was closed already, but the owner left her key and she could pay for it the next day. This mentality is quite normal in Australia, and yet it keeps surprising me. 

Lake Hart

After another night at the roadhouse, it was time to say goodbye to Eef, who was heading to the west coast. That was sad, but we’ll probably see each other again somewhere along the way. 

The next stop for me was Lake Hart, on the Stuart Highway (the road that goes all the way from Adelaide to Darwin). Lake Hart is a thin layer of salt water, part of Lake Eyre national park. A friend in Melbourne had told me about this, and it was indeed very beautiful. The surface of the water was like a mirror, with such a clear reflection. 

This place even had a campsite, so we stayed the night. Surrounded by red sand and flies, with a few camper vans. A beautiful sunset, not to mention the star sky. Conny and I were able to make many wishes. 

   

  

Coober Pedy

In our Adelaide outdoor cinema (read: covered in our sleeping bags we stared at a mini screen) we saw the movie Mad Max, that takes place in Coober Pedy. Nevertheless I could not have imagined what this place looked like. It is a mining town, where people dig for opals since 100 years. Because of this there are many massive holes, and underground houses. I felt as if I was walking on the moon, that’s how surreal it seemed. The town has a lot of ghost stories, about dumped bodies and people who ‘fell’ into mine shafts. After an underground exploration in a mine museum, we could do ‘noodling’ ourselves; searching for opals. 

We had the pleasure of couchsurfing with Greek Chris, in his underground house. This awesome host showed us around Coober Pedy. The Breakaways, a national park where multiple movies were shot. A wonderful, fairylike landscape with mountains in different shades of white, grey and red. Also he showed us ‘The Dog Fence’, a fence that stretches over 5000 km throughout South Australia and Queensland. It has been put to avoid the dingo’s from eating the cattle. 

After this we drove through a field with stones like glass, who beautifully shine in the sunlight. Apparently nobody knows how they got there. Then we saw big, black rocks they call ‘moon stones’. In Coober Pedy a hotel and a bar are build out of that. Nowadays you’re not allowed to take them anymore though.

  

Ayers Rock

After one more overnight stop in the Northern Territory, we arrived in Alice Springs and could couchsurf again. We arrived on Territory day, so there were fireworks all over town. The next day we took off to Uluru, with our couchsurf host, his girlfriend and two Danish girls. A wonderful trip with a 4WD and a trailer that basically contained a kitchen. The first night we met a big group of Australians, who invited us over at their bonfire. Lots of beers, marshmallows, the didgeridoo and Vinnie, our bearded Aussie friend who did the Emu dance. In his underpants. Sadly enough this group travelled the other way around. 

We’ve seen the Uluru from many different sights, also from the top. The hike up the top was so steep, and so high, that I instantly got scared of heights again. But I told myself I was gonna climb it to the top, so I did. No need to explain how proud I was!

  

Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon

The day after we saw the rock at sunrise, with an outside temperature of 4 degrees. Lovely to camp in a tent or in a car. It’s all for the experience. Then we drove to Kata Tjuta and did a short hike. Both rocks are massive formations which you have to see with your own eyes to get an impression. Especially the size is very impressive. The Uluru is worlds second biggest rock, with an outline of nearly 10 km. A third of the rock is underground. The biggest rock is in WA, but completely under the ground. 

From the Kata Tjuta we went on to Kings Canyon, which we obviously  climbed as well. It was a shame there were so many tourists, but I could’ve spent all day here. There was so much to see. The climb starts on one end, and then you walk over a bridge to get to the other side of the gap. At some points you could lie down on your stomach to peek over the edge to get an impression of the height. And of course we yelled from the top of our longs to hear the echo. 


Alice Springs

On the way back we drove through West McDonnels national park. Surrounded by mountains once again, all the way back to Alice. We didn’t have much time left to stop, but fortunately we could take a couple of photos on the way.

Now we’re back in Alice Springs, and on Thursday I’ll head to Yuendumu. An aboriginal art center north from here, where I’ll be working for 10 days. I’m very curious what this is going to be like, and it would be very interesting to get an idea of the aboriginal culture. In this town they’re only associated with alcohol, violence and criminality. Alice is not a nice place to be, but at least they have a library to get stuff sorted and share my stories. 

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