Monday, October 13, 2014

The Red Centre

October 4-6, 2014


My job led me to Alice Springs earlier this month. Michael and I have never before visited Australia's red centre and we took this as an incentive to book some leave and join a three-day mini-bus tour of hiking, camping and swatting at flies. The tour included all the food we needed, though we did relish the odd roadhouse snack.


Meals were big and often barbecue based - stir-fried noodles and veges, burritos wrapped in tortillas steamed in their plastic by the scorching sun, bushmeat burgers and steaks. Our guide thoughtfully supplied several different mock alternatives for us two vegos, while our international travelling companions were introduced to lamingtons, damper cooked in the coals and - much to one daring Californian's ultimate disgust - Vegemite. We established toasted marshmallows as a common cuisine.


Conditions were profoundly dry and the temperature soared beyond 40 degrees one afternoon. Water was much more important than food. It tasted weirder and weirder as we travelled away from Alice Springs, reminding me of olive brine around Kings Creek Station. Weird or warm, we still drank litres of it each day. A refrigerated bottle of iced tea from a service station was the greatest luxury I could imagine.

For all that, we weren't in it for the food. It simply sustained us long enough to take in Atilla, Uluru, and Kata Tjuta. These red rocks are truly spectacular. Here's a slideshow summarising what we saw.

10 comments:

  1. I've been loving your Instagram shots of this trip, having just returned to Aus with a renewed interest in exploring our country + my family and I drove to Uluru and back from Canberra when I was a kid, and the imagery and experience has stuck with me. More posts?

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    1. Wow, Hannah, that must've been quite the dry monotonous drive! Just one more post, up this morning. :-)

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  2. I'd love to see more of the red centre - I had a few trips to Alice Springs and got to drive about outside the town a little but I never got to Uluru. Hopefully one day I will. Meanwhile I really enjoyed your photos- great to enjoy the view without having to cope with 40 degree weather :-)

    Your food on the trip sounds better that the veg food I had on my kakadu tour. Burritos sounds great and I have such great memories of damper in the campfire from my youth. glad you had a good trip!

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    1. Thanks Johanna! Yes, much more comfortable to view on the screen but still very much worth seeing in person if you ever get the chance again. The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru is a long one, I'm glad we had someone doing it for us!

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  3. This is so cool! I honestly think there really is no place like it I would love to go there and experience it for myself too. But I won't lie, scorching heat is one thing I really struggle with. Might have to choose a cooler time of the year to head there

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    1. Hey Winston - put it on your to-do list for winter. :-)

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  4. It's one of my goals to travel all around Australia one day - red centre in particular! What an amazing experience. :)

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    1. I'm sure you won't regret it, Amanda!

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  5. Wonderful photos of the Centre and West Macs. Reminded me of my visit 2.5 years ago. Did you go with Emu Run by any chance? That was my first camping experience, at the ripe old age of 62!, as a practice for 21 days in the Kimberley later in 2012. The Kimberley trip started at Alice and went across the Tanami to Halls Creek, Broome, etc. All brilliant! Do the Kimberley if you get the chance .... and do a tour for that too. It's pretty rough on the vehicles so better someone else's, not yours. Mind you, we did come across a couple (closer to your age than mine!) who were doing the Gibb River Road on bikes. Crazy!! ... Margaret

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    1. Thanks, Margaret! Yes indeed, we did travel with Emu Run. Your Kimberley trip sounds wonderful, we'll put that on the wish list, and like you probably pick the tour over the bikes. ;-)

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