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A cliff face of red rocks in outback Australia

Uluru and Red Centre Adventure

By Madeleine Carter

Last updated: 31st March 2013

This was the second tour we had booked with Gap 360 and obviously, after the Great Ocean Road success, we had high expectations!… Of which I’m glad to say were met… And possibly exceeded!

I’ve never been camping before in my lifetime so was slightly concerned about the two nights camping in the outback with the snakes and spiders and creepy crawlers.. 0.0 However, trip over and camping survived, I can honestly say the camping in our Swags under the stars, so bright you can see the Milky Way, was an absolute highlight!

Madeleine standing with arms outstretched in front of Uluru

Day one and it’s a pick up from Alice Springs, doing the rounds and meeting your travel companions and tour guides before stop one- the camel farm! Still feeling a bit groggy from an early start, watching one of my friends holding on for dear life whilst she rode a camel practically reduced me to tears as I laughed so hard!

After the fun of the camels and stroking a tame dingo and seeing the kangaroos, on the road again and we had some other stops at real old, outback gas stations or farm houses for snacks and, should you fancy it, alcohol grab for enjoyment around the campfire later.

Just around lunchtime we arrived at the first campsite, and I’m excited to announce- they had awesome toilets and showers!

Swags lined up around a campfire

After a lunch of sandwiches stuffed with so many fillings we practically needed forks to eat them, off we went to Uluru! This was an amazing part of the trip. We arrived at the national park and first went to the aboriginal cultural centre where we discovered more of the history and cultural significance of Uluru to the aboriginals. Then, we set off on our 10.4km base walk, witnessing some of the incredible 1000s of years old aboriginal art work and learning some of the stories that made it such a sacred sight. This was really great, aside from being so invigorating to get some good exercise into our backpackers lives once again! We walked around and were amazed at the enormity and how it was just nothing how we had imagined it with so many craves and crevices that you just don’t see from pictures.

Walk up to the lookout from our campsite on return just in time for a blissful sunset to an Uluru and Kata Tjuta backdrop with Champagne and cheese and crackers. Awesome.

Down to the campsite for evening dinner and campfire relaxing before our early start the next morning… But even with the knowledge that I had to wake up at about 5am (early! But so worth it!) I didn’t want to close my eyes; the thousands and thousands of stars that you see shine so brightly in the sky are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Just laying there in the dark with the camp fire by your feet, wrapped cozily in your swag, gazing at the Milky Way crossing the sky- it’s so unbelievably surreal!

Day two and three continued the great fun of day 1. Early start to day 2- got in the bus and saw the sun rise over Uluru. Spectacular colours across the sky made for some awesome photos! (Also the morning I thought I’d lost my camera so didn’t get any pictures… A good day to have 4 friends with their own cameras!)

 11.6 km walk through the Olgas (Kata Tjuta ) was incredible- bits of climbing, bits of walking, a day I fell in love with my sturdy trainers (would not survive without decent shoes! )

Day three’s walk through Kings Canyon was my favourite! With the most challenging start… You know a walk nicknamed “heart attack hill” is never going to be easy… But the view when you make it to the top- so worth while! Kings canyon, like The Olgas, showed us a bit of everything. Our tour guide was excellent; Tarrant taught us about the local plants and how the aboriginals found purposes for them all and the history to where we were exploring.

Three days of the most incredible views you’ve ever seen followed by relaxing in the campsite pool and preparing awesome BBQ dinners, or even pancakes made on the campfire for pancake day! Cruising down dirt tracks and collecting firewood and staring at the stars until you just can’t keep your eyes open any longer… It was a spectacular three days, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before!

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