Taking the Ghan to Adelaide

I had to get up early, as I wanted to go to Adelaide by the infamous “Ghan”. My first stop was at the train office in Alice, but unfortunately they didn’t had any tickets left. I decided to walk over to the railway station in case some passengers wouldn’t show up. Lucky me, I got the last available seat. The trip was very comfortable and surprisingly cheap (100 Australian Dollar) compared to the bus. To travel by train trough the outback is very funny, you can watch the landscape passing by, and if you take another look four hours later, it still would look like the same.

Alice Springs, Uluru

20th of August, Bus to Alice Springs
I had to leave Darwin at lunch time to go 1500 kilometre south, to Alice Springs. A never-ending 22 hour journey.Luckily the bus was comfortable!

21st of August, Alice
A 22 hour journey on a bus is an “experience”, I never thought my back could hurt that much! It takes about 15 minutes to get from the bus terminal to the youth hostel. Not being in the best condition it seemed like an eternity to me.

Many Aboriginal live in Alice but sad to see lots of them sitting on the street’s doing nothing the whole day or even worse, drinking alcohol most of the time. I tried to talk to some of them, but it seems that they avoid talking to foreigners. A local told me that they get money from the Australian government, so they don’t have to work. All the bottle shops (the place you can buy alcohol) are closed the day they get their money.

22nd of August, Kings Canyon, Sunset at Uluru
Start of my two-day journey to the heart of Australia. Peter, the guide on the two-day trip and Glen (my former tour guide) had two things in common: Both sang a lot and loved Pulp Fiction. Peter was about to enter a Karaoke contest the following Friday, so he kept training the whole time. As soon as we left Alice, I realised that the “Red Center” was more a green garden then a dessert. Lots and lots of various flowers, green gras and beautiful trees created amazing scenery. It had stopped raining just a week before I got to Alice and spring was just about to start. The got lots of rain the past few years, very unusual for this region.

Our first stop was Mount Ebeneser, about 250 kilometres west of Alice, a little gas station with an Aboriginal Art gallery in the middle of nowhere. Our second stop was King’s canyon, where we hiked on top and had a look into the canyon. The first white owners already thought about tourism in this area so they choose names such as “Lost City” and “Garden Eden” to attract travellers.

After a two-hour hike through the canyon we headed on to the Uluru, to watch the sunset. It was really awesome to see “The Rock” changing into all this different kind of red’s. We where also able to see Kata Juta (the Olga’s), which looked like Homer Simpson, lying on his back (seriously!).

23rd of August, Uluru, Kata Juta (Olga’s)
We had to get up early, to watch the sunrise at Uluru. As you may know, the Aboriginal doesn’t want you to climb Uluru as it is a very religious place for them. Many people got hurt or died trying to climb and the Aboriginal feel responsible for them. I respect the rules of the Aboriginal and decided to do a walking tour around the rock instead. Which was very good decision.

Kata Juta was our next stop. It’s a very important place for the Aboriginal man, as they go there to “teach” younger men. After a last stop to take pictures at Uluru we went all the way back to Alice.

Finally Down Under, Darwin and Kakadu National Park

16th of August, Arrival in Darwin at 4:30 in the morning.
Instead of exploring the city I went straight to the youth hostel to get some sleep. Later that day I booked my trip to Kakadu National Park, Uluru (Ayers Rock), and a 4000 kilometre Bus ticket…

17th of August, Kakadu National Park
I left the youth hostel at 6:30 to meet up with my singing tour guide Glen and eight other travellers

(Jane, Raphael, Jenn, Alexandra, Georgia, Per, Eveline and Klaus). In the beginning a group of strangers, but in the end we acted like we would have know for years. The Kakadu National Park is about 500 kilometres east of Darwin.We started with a crocodile and wildlife cruise on the Corroboree Billabong, a part of the Marry River system.

We were able to see “Salties” (saltwater crocodiles) and “Freshies”(freshwater crocodiles), the two different types of crocodiles in this area also various kind of birds and a few buffalo’s. Next was he Ubirr Rock, where Aboriginal left some amazing art sites.

While the European, African and Asian cultures where rising and falling, the Aboriginal in Australia spend most of their time with hunting, eating, sleeping, playing the Digaridoo and drawing. What a peaceful life…

After the close look on Aboriginal art, we went to the Jim Jim Falls. We reached the plunge pool by a walk through the rain forest. Relaxing in the cool, clear water was a excellent refreshing after the ten hour drive.

18th of August, Kakadu NP, Twin Falls
We spend the whole day at the Twin Falls. In the morning we hiked up to the top of the waterfalls to look down to the magnificent gorge.

To reach the final top of the Twin Falls we had to climb through a little cave which was an real experience. Glen was the first one to climb down the cave and instructed us how to climb down safety. After walking back and eating lunch, we swam up to the base of the Twin Falls.

I had my snorkelling gear with me so could watch the underwater world with all different kind of fishes (no crocodiles…). In the evening, we walked up to the Budjimii Outlook, to watch the sunset. Glen prepared a wonderful Barbecue with different kinds of meat (Crocodile, Kangaroo and Buffalo), and potatoes. We finished the day with some group talk, sitting around the camp-fire.

19th of August, Kakadu National Park, Barramundi Gorge
The day started early, as we wanted to reach the Barramundi Gorge before the crowd would arrive there. After swimming and relaxing, we had to leave the Kakadu NP, to go back to Darwin. I really recommend a minimum of 3 days in the Kakadu national park, there is so much to see, I’m quiet sure you could spend two weeks in this amazing nationalpark.