The Spectacular Outback Part 2
We continued on our journey from Devil’s Marbles to Alice Springs which is only around a 3 1/2 hour drive .
We made our way to The Australia Aviation Museum which showcases the integral role aviation has played in the outback. It is maintained and run by volunteers and admission is free, but worth a generous donation.
I was intrigued by the history revealed in its exhibits and impressed by the aircraft as well. Don’t miss the nearby Kookaburra memorial which relates to the tragic story of an Australian aviation rescue gone horribly wrong. We stayed the night at the Alice Springs Tourist Park, this park has all the facilities one requires and is situated in town.
The next morning, we set off for Ayre’s Rock driving via Erldunda. We made a quick stop at the Mt Conner Lookout, you will see Mt Conner as you head towards Uluru on the Lassiter Highway, Petermann. I am sure many travellers think they are looking at Ayers Rock itself as Mount Conner is a huge rock sticking up from the surrounding plains. Apparently the locals call it "fool-Uru' as it tricks many tourists on their way to the real thing. A further 2 1/2 hours later we arrived at Ayres Rock where we stayed for 3 nights. We did the long 10 km walk around Ayres Rock and also the 1 1/2 hour climb up it. It was late in the afternoon and it is completely amazing how you get the illusion that the rock is changing colour from orange to purple, something you have to see to believe. With views for miles and miles, it felt like we were on top of the world. The next day we were lucky enough to take a helicopter ride from Ayres Rock Airport and we enjoyed spectacular views of Ayres Rock and The Olgas, an experience I would highly recommend.
Our next stop The Olgas is a short drive 40 km West of Uluru, it is home to the natural wonder and cultural landmark, Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). We spent the day hiking around the soaring rock domes, which glow at sunrise and sunset. The ochre-coloured shapes are an intriguing and mesmerising sight. Meaning 'many heads', Kata Tjuta is sacred to the local Aboriginal Anangu people, who have inhabited the area for more than 22,000 years. It forms an important focus of their spiritual life. As a visitor you can join a cultural tour to learn some of the region's sacred history and Dreamtime stories.
After leaving Ayres Rock we travelled along Lurtja Road which connects Lassiters Highway to Watarrka National Park and Kings Canyon. Kings Canyon is set in the Watarraka National Park and it covers 71,000 hectares. At the western end of the George Gill Range, these imposing cliffs formed as small cracks eroded over millions of years, and shelter a unique conservation area. Kings Canyon’s soaring red sandstone walls can be explored from the air or by foot, with walking tracks for both adventurous hikers and leisure walkers we spent the day trekking about and taking in the sights. From here we drove to Hermannsburg via the Mereenie Loop Road which provides for an alternative scenic route from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs. The loop is recommended for 4x4 as weather conditions make the road conditions difficult for standard vehicles. As we made our way back into Alice Springs we had a magnificent view of the MacDonnell’s ranges. The East and West MacDonnell Ranges stretch out for hundreds of kilometres on both sides of Alice Springs. They are an adventure playground with hiking trails, four-wheel drive tracks, swimming holes, and camping spots.
The next morning we headed North towards Tennant Creek and turned onto the Plenty Highway which is the top of the Simpson Desert. As a security measure recommended by the NT Police, we checked in to advise them of our journey across the top of the Simpson Desert. Half way to Boulia we stopped at a camp ground and refueled and stayed the night, once we arrived in Boulia QLD we contacted the Police to confirm that we had arrived safely. We then headed to Bedourie which is a small country town consisting of around 283 people and our next major stop was Birdsville and stayed the night and had a fantastic dinner at the Birdsville Hotel, the hotel it is full of Outback memorabilia on the walls and throughout the hotel.
The next morning we headed West across the Simpson Desert and climbed The Big Red which is the largest sand dune in Australia. We continued on to Quilpie for the night, it is known for its smelly Sulphur Bore Water. We headed to Goondiwindi for our last nights stop, on our adventures around town we checked out the famed Goondiwindi Grey statue of the Cox Plate winning racehorse and also the Cotton Farms as Goondiwindi is a large cotton producing town. On our final day, we ventured through Millmerran, Warwick and finally home to Brisbane. Our 14 day trip Totaled a whooping 8,652 kilometers.
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