No Pockets in Shrouds #8: Sunday, October 10th

Sunday, October 10th, cont.

I could not believe that it could rain for so long in the desert but it never stopped raining until we reached Ayers Rock. It then stopped and the cloud started to break up. I thought I might get to see a glorious sunset yet.

After checking in to our dormitory (rabbit hutch would be a better term) we had an hour to waste before we went on the Ayers Rock tour. This was a tour of the base and Hans gave us a talk on how Ayers Rock had been formed and also the Aboriginal beliefs about the place. A lot of parts of the rock are still sacred and cannot be photographed. The talk and walk was fascinating and Hans certainly knew his stuff.

It was then on to the sunset viewing area. Unfortunately we never got that good sunset that was hoped for. There was just too much cloud about – but it gave me another excuse to come back to Australia.

We then went back to the Ayers Rock Resort for the evening. Scott and a few of the people on the tour, including me, met at the bar and had a few beers together. Didn’t go to bed too late as we were getting picked up at 6.00am for the sunrise and also the walk up Ayers Rock.

Monday, October 11th, 1999

Now I have always been an early riser and have no trouble getting up in the morning but this was not the case on the day of the Rock walk. I set my alarm but somehow slept right through it. I missed the climb and in fact I only just caught the bus when it came back to pick other people up at 8.00am. The people who did the walk said it was very difficult and it was quite windy so maybe I wouldn’t have managed it anyway, but I was annoyed at not having a go.

After getting picked up at 8.00 we sent straight on to The Olgas, which are a series of rocks which look very similar to Ayers Rock in make-up but are a series of rocks rather than just one solid monolith. We took the Gorge Walk which lasted for about an hour. There is a longer walk which is 7 km long but we did not have time for this.

It was then back to The Ayers Rock Resort again. This is now where my plans start to go a little haywire. I was due to fly out of Ayers Rock the next morning to Brisbane but this would have meant missing Kings Canyon. I was having such a great time with the people on the bus that we all came to the decision that I had to try and get my flight altered to leave from Alice Springs.

I had an hour to get something to eat, try and get my flight altered, check if there was any accommodation at Kings Canyon and then cancel my next night’s accommodation at The Ayers Rock Resort. Needless to say I managed all of them and this meant that I could continue with the tour and get to see Kings Canyon – and I’m glad I did.

After leaving the Ayers Rock Resort we then had a long drive to the Kings Canyon Resort where we had a nice quiet night in the bar. Lena, one of the girls that I’d got friendly with, got a bit of a shock on the way back to her room. A man was walking past her with a bucket with a lid on it. He told her not to get too close has he has just caught a Taipan snake. This made Lena nervous for the rest of the time in Kings Canyon and it made us a little wary as well.

Tuesday, October 12th, 1999

Kings Canyon was great. It started with a hard ascent but once to the top the views were spectacular. The actual Kings Canyon walk takes about 4 hours. We started at 7.00am so we were back in the resort for about 11.00. The Canyon has so many different things to see. Wildlife, plants and geology. It was fascinating to be standing on top of Kings Canyon thousands of miles from the sea and have pointed out waves which were made in the sand when the tide was going out. These are obviously millions of years old and it will be a shame if, with lots of people walking on them, they get worn away.

We came to one part where there is a little water hole. Two Dutch girls asked Scott how cold was the water. He replied by holding up his thumb and index finger about 1 inch apart and saying “about that cold”. Now I would assume that most men will understand what he meant by that and most of the women did because the two girls laughed. About 10 minutes later this Australian guy strips of and jumps in the water. The two Dutch girls get there cameras out waiting for him to come out of the water to photograph just how cold it really was. Just then Hans shouted that it was time to move on. The two girls looked disappointed. Everybody else thought it was hilarious.

I noticed, when talking to Hans and Scott, just how much they both loved the areas that they were talking about. Whilst Scott did not know a lot about this area, he has travelled extensively in Kakadu National Park near Darwin. Both of them smoked and I noticed that they both carried an empty film container. When they were smoking they used the container not just for the cigarette stub but also the ash off the cigarette. I thought this showed just how much they did not want to contaminate the area in any way.

After Kings Canyon it was back on the bus to the resort. We then had a quick lunch, got packed and we were on the road again, now heading for Alice Springs. There are a few places to stop for a drink on the way back to Alice and we stopped a couple of times to look at the sites. The sites being desert. We did see some wild camels. There are more than 16,000 camels in Australia which is more than in the Middle East. Strange how things work out, isn’t it?

We arrived in Alice Springs about 6.00pm. After settling in at the backpackers it was straight down to Scotty’s pub for a night on the beer. A very enjoyable tour with a great bunch of people.

Thanks to the people that have e-mailed me at golf.diving4fun at virgin dot net.

Please keep sending messages.

Ayers Rock

YHA:

Cost:

Situation:

Staff:

Good Points:

Bad Points:

Nearby Pubs:

Pioneer Lodge

A$21

Ayers Rock Resort

No problems

Good facilities – though expensive

Crowded dorms

It has its own bar

Kings Canyon

YHA:

Cost:

Situation:

Staff:

Good Points:

Bad Points:

Nearby Pubs:

Kings Canyon Resort

A$36

Kings Canyon Resort

No problems

Excellent rooms and facilities

None

It has its own bar

Traveler Article


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