A Travellerspoint blog

Perth - you've been awesome

Leaving Banjos after almost three months

sunny 29 °C

So today is one of those days where my mind is a little bit BAAAAAAAAHHHH!

Not only am I flying to a city which is mourning the loss of two brave residents, after the Sydney cafe siege, but I'm also leaving my beloved Perth.

When Fay and I first arrived our impressions weren't great. The sky was cloudy, (after 36 in Uluru, clouds were alien to us) the hostel was on an industrial estate and for the first time in a long time we needed a jacket.

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We've made some amazing friends here, learnt all the important rude words in several languages, got jobs we actually love (eventually) and seen some amazing scenery.

Highlights for me include Rottnest Island, King's Park, cliffjumping, a prison tour, rock climbing, Scarborough Beach (loads better than the UK version), seeing a circular rainbow and of course, the people.

First shouts go to Team Sweden, which kept on growing as the weeks went on. Jakob, Gabby T-Rex, Douglas, Erica, Linda and Emil. You're all mental and special in your own ways and I won't ever forget you.

The Canadians and Americans (they'll hate that they're clubbed together like that, but it's all USA to me haha) Amanda, Eric, Jarad, Yufei and Spencer, the Germans, including my much-loved Christoph who is the nicest person you could ever meet and Kemo, a fairly new friend who I wish I'd met sooner, the craziest English people including the Essex mob, and all the French who sometimes drive me nuts (one in particular), but who certainly know how to drink.

Also a little mention to Chris the crazy Kiwi, Laura who can unite anyone with a lemon and a bottle of tequila, the lovely Italians who have the sexiest accents ever known and everyone else who I'm bound to have missed out along the way.

But pictures speak louder than words, so I've included some of my favourite photos! Enjoy xxx

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Chilling by the waterfront, with the remains of Uluru still clearly visible on my shoes! Will never get the orange/red stains out completely.

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The day Christine came to Perth! A friend from home hangs out for the day - I manage to show her a park and a shower. haha!

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Being mature and posing by a pub which has a rude word in it. Because I can, that's why!

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The Awesome Festival. Because Perth IS awesome.

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Fay and I on our first big night out in Perth. Champagne and strippers included!

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Scarborough Beach. A distinct improvement on the one in the UK.

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Jamie, Fay and Douglas in the back of Christoph's car. Because walking is for poor people :-)

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Fay and I at the lookout at King's Park. Behind us, Perth stretches for miles. If you squint, I'm sure you'll see our little hostel home in Claisebrook.

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Me, Fay and Douglas the Swede. No one looks good in this picture. No one.

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Andrea, Me and Douglas and Fay, Eric and Amanda in the reflection. A room nine night out in Northbridge.

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That poor blonde girl next to us on the train must have hated us :-)

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The cathedral. Incredibly stunning with moving memorials to the Air Malaysia victims (both flights)

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Fremantle Prison. Love Freo!

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Freo Prison - this time at night. Halloween tour with Fay and Rachael.

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Kangaroos on Heirsson Island. Very friendly little fellas.

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Kangaroo selfie. Has to be done!

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Me and Christoph cycling round Rottnest Island. One of my favouritest days EVER on the West Coast.

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A quokka. In the whole world, you can only find them on Rottnest. Look like a cross between a kangaroo and a rat. So so so so cute. And incredibly friendly.

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The Christmas tree in the centre of the CBD in Perth. The bright blue sky and 30+ temperatures just don't seem to fit with my English ideals of Christmas.

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Gabby, Fay and Jakob. Just a few of the members of #teamsweden

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Douglas, me and a very sweet looking Amanda on pre-Northbridge drinks in the courtyard

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Me and the sweetest girl you'll ever meet - the lovely Amanda

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Me and German Santa (aka Christoph)

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Me, Gabby T-Rex and Gary - the staff made Banjos special

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Gabby T-Rex doing T-Rex hands.

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Me posing with a rat in Northbridge. En route to work. Just coz.

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Enzo and German Enzo (aka Gerry). Seriously - they're twins surely?

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A blurry pic of the Swedish House Mafia

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Me, Laura and her lovely French lover in the courtyard (pre-night out tradition)

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German Santa and me again. Seriously, I don't think he ever took it off!

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A drag queen performing at Connections. Loved our night out there.

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The cliff-jumping team in Freo. L-R Me, Kemo, Adonis, Christoph and Nastasja. English, Kurdish, Belgium, German and Dutch all in the same car.

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A scary-looking Britney Spears broke into our room and took Emil's clothes. Seriously, this dude is mental but that's why we love him.

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The stud of the hostel, Damien, teaching us about nipple piercings.

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Kemo and Me, having drunk four beers, four goons and SEVERAL whiskey and cokes. How am I not dead?

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Me and Steph. I believe the candle will be used as part of a memorial service to be held in my honour after I leave.

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Just some of the Banjos gang. Not all my friends are in this unfortunately, but a selection. Miss you already peeps!

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Bye byes at the airport - a selfie with a Christmas kangaroo's arse! LOL

Posted by emmaabroad 07:20 Archived in Australia Tagged australia friends christmas hostel prison perth fremantle northbridge banjos Comments (1)

Magic number 18

The entire world condensed into a hostel

sunny 30 °C

So, although I may be travelling round Australia, the chances of you meeting Australians in a hostel are very slim. (They live here, they don't need to share a room with nine other people and fight for the last slice of toast in the morning).

So I've been doing a little rolling count as we've been moving around and so far my magic number is 18 - we've met people from 18 different countries so far.

The roll call, in alphabetical order because I'm OCD and proud, is..... Australia, America, Argentina, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Taiwan and Thailand. (I double checked, it is 18).

Everyone has their little ways and sayings and although I'd hate to be stereotyped as "a Brit" there are some glaring similarities between nations. (Sorry).

Here are a few bulletpoints of little stories about people, stuff that I've found while chatting etc.

  • Germans have NO IDEA they hog sunloungers. This made me giggle because if you ask a Brit on holiday about the swimming pool, inevitably they say something along the lines of "the Germans get their towels out at 6am to hog the beds". I mentioned this to a German friend and he laughed - they didn't realise we as a nation had made such a weird assumption about them. In return, they see us as big drinkers and think we get drunk all the time. I'll let you make up your own mind about who "won" in that particular conversation.
  • Canadians hate it when you call them American. (But it is so fun!) It is the English equivalent of being called Welsh (sorry Wales) and they can't stand it. Met about seven Canadians now and they are all the same. At the moment there is the lovely Amanda in my room (and her brother Eric) and she is the sweetest, most softly-spoken, loving person I know. But even she had a breaking point when I spent a whole day referring to her homeland as America. I'm afraid to say that, again, stereotype came into play here and what they say on How I Met Your Mother is totally true - the way to tell the difference is with the word OUT. Americans say OUT, Canadians say OOT. It's that simple. But if you get really stuck, just ask them. They speak English and everything!
  • Swedish people really do love IKEA. I know this because three different Swedes have now mentioned it (and one even posted pictures of a recent visit to the Perth branch on Facebook. Bless). I was helping Douglas Berg (Swedish name and everything) make his bed the other day and he was getting really frustrated that he couldn't pull the cover over and mentioned IKEA duvet covers have little holes for your hands to go in and pull the duvet through. He also wants some IKEA drawers to go under his bed. Jakob is another Swedish friend who made a special visit to IKEA the other day to get candies and straws and to just pose in all the aisles (they don't have aisles, they having looping corridors of insanity, but you know what I mean). I hated to admit that I have never visited Sweden before, but they all speak amazing English and have a really sarcastic sense of humour. So I definitely need to go there soon. (Plus, I already have accommodation on a mini-farm being offered, in exchange for a free bed in Yorkshire).
  • The Italian accent is just as sexy as it is in all the films. I don't care; the particular Italian in question could be butt ugly, but just listening to them speak is like ear-porn. I had this conversation last night with two Italians - Enzo and Michele. They were really surprised that so many people have said this to them on their travels. Enzo told me that one girl in the hostel actually came and sat next to him just to listen to him talking. She didn't want to know what they were saying, she just wanted to listen. Listening to Italians speak is like listening to music. It's lovely.
  • Speaking of speaking......there is a little joke doing the rounds on German Facebook at the moment which I think rings true. There is a little cartoon which basically says if German people are saying lovely things to each other, they still sound really angry. Whereas French people could be saying really insulting things, but they sound like they're complimenting each other all the time. I think this is very true. Also - Italians are very animated when they talk and tend to be the loudest. You know from about a mile away when an Italian is close by.
  • No matter how old you are, learning swear words in a foreign language is funny. And it never gets boring. I've learned (and I'm spelling them phonetically for you) schnipie in German, kook in Swedish, bastardo in Italian.....and in return I've now put the word "w*nker" out there. I was teaching my German friend swear words the other day and as he was crossing the road to come talk to me, he said "WANKER, I like that word" really loudly in range of an elderly couple. Embarrassing for him, hilarious for me.
  • Australians aren't always "no worries mate". Now, I need to mention straight away that MOST of them are. But because this is the stereotype (laid back, likes surfing, bronzed etc) that when you meet an Australian that doesn't meet this criteria, you are really surprised. The first time this happened was when we landed at Sydney airport and by accident two queues had formed for the same door. So people were taking it in turns to go through the door, one from queue 1 then one from queue 2 etc. But one Aussie woman who clearly didn't get her free bread roll on the flight over from Bangkok started having a go at us saying hers was the correct queue. I'd just queued for 20mins, so I wasn't about to head to the back of hers. But she still kicked up a real stink about it. It wasn't the welcome to Oz we'd anticipated. Grumpy b*tch. (PS- Hey love, I'm from England, we INVENTED queuing. Don't tell me how to queue!)
  • People from Holland are all really good looking. Met two Dutch girls so far. Both look amazing. I wanted to hate them, but they were nice too. Don't you hate it when that happens?
  • Irish people are really as happy-go-lucky as you expect. Take, for example, the exchange I witnessed the other week. As I was walking to the toilet, I saw Irish Dave and he was walking up to a new person in the hostel. His greeting was "Hi mate, are you Irish?" to which the other guy replied "yeah". A few minutes later I return from the toilet and the two are sat down chatting away like best buds and planning a trip together. It could only have been made MORE Irish if they'd been drinking Guinness at the time.
  • Another funny story, which is just a quick one. A friend from Taiwan called Grey was helping make dinner on our Uluru camp and when she'd finished exclaimed "MADE IN TAIWAN". Chuckle!

So there is a little summary of countries for you. I hope to be able to add to this list in time and maybe by the end of my travels I'll have hit 30!

:-)

Posted by emmaabroad 21:56 Archived in Australia Tagged scotland england france travel australia thailand hostels germany italy new ireland china friends sweden north america canada holland argentina zealand korea norway travelling taiwan languages ikea sunloungers stereotypes. Comments (1)

Dorm Drama

The night my limit was reached

sunny 23 °C

Okay, so as you've realised from a previous post a while back, some people you end up in a room with are f**king weird.

However, this little episode came a bit out of the blue, as the person in question is perfectly sane during office hours.

So the bloke, let's call him Jayden, to protect his real name, was in our room a few weeks ago and was a nice guy. He got on well with both Fay and I and we became good friends, having dinner together in the evenings and sitting on the sofa watching TV together etc.

But unfortunately, Jayden had a little problem when it came to alcohol. One night, he came back into the room drunk as a skunk and decided now would be the ideal time for a cuddle.

First he got into Fay's bed, then she kicked him out, so he climbed into mine. (I don't know if I was the second choice because I was the top bunk, or Fay is a better cuddler than me.) I couldn't get him out for AGES and was really annoyed as I had work the next morning and had to be up at 6am. (and I do NOT do well without sleep).

But we kinda laughed it off in a "oooh, silly Jayden, wasn't he so drunk last night?" He didn't remember doing it and we forgave him.

Then it happened about four more times. And I wanted to kill him.

So we were relieved when he went off on a roadtrip with some other people from the hostel and we were finally left to get some rest.

A few days into the roadtrip however, Jayden came back, having not got on with the other people in the car (can you hear the alarm bells going off?) and he came back to the hostel but was thankfully in another room.

Little did we know, this wouldn't stop him.

One night, when he'd been drinking A LOT, and somehow managed to get back into our dorm, despite the fact he was staying somewhere else. I once again had to be up early for work, so was a little miffed to say the least.

He tried to get into bed with Fay, who gently tried to persuade him out the door. I was less discreet and told him to "f**k off out right now". Of course, this had the opposite affect as it alerted him to where I was.

When he tried to get into bed with me (steam starting to come out my ears now), the Italian guy, Andreas, below me asked if I wanted him there and I said "no". So he flipped him over his shoulder like a fireman's lift, and frogmarched him out the room, while Jayden was laughing and kicking his legs out to wedge himself in the doorway.

Andreas threw him on the floor, fell on top of him, and ended up shouldering him in the stomach. But he scrambled away from the drunken idiot before he could get back up, and shut the door.

Everything went quiet for a few moments, and I was relieved, but highly annoyed to have been woken up at 1am for the fifth or sixth him by a guy who wasn't even supposed to be in our room anymore.

However, he was let back in by the manager, as apparently he had left his coat in our room. So once again he was staggering about like an idiot, this time after being let in by a manager.

Now, I lay my stuff out for the next day every night on top of my suitcase, so that in the morning I don't make too much noise for other people and can find everything easily in the dark. So my jumper was laid in a neat pile with my other stuff.

Jayden picked up my jumper and said "oh here's my coat" and started walking off out the room.

And THAT is the exact moment I completely lost it.

I jumped from the top bunk, grabbed the jumper off him, grabbed hold of him by the hair, and dragged him out the room like a rag doll.

I threw him out, told the manager to leave, and then shut the door.

I was actually shaking with rage. Like ALL OVER. I've never been so cross in all my life. And in the end I was shaking in bed for another hour, so had NO SLEEP that night. I was actually ashamed of myself as I am not a violent person. But it is amazing how lack of sleep and a complete idiot can drive you to irrational measures.

The next day he was evicted, along with the guys who stole the CCTV owl cameras and the bloke who p*ssed in someone's suitcase then laid on top of them. By the sounds of it, we got the easier option. Although still a nightmare.

You meet some fantastic people in hostels and some of them I know will stay in touch when we leave. They are like a second little family and we all look out for eachother whenever we can.

But some people are just kn*bs who I would happily throw off a bridge.

Posted by emmaabroad 03:03 Archived in Australia Tagged australia hostel dorm perth drama Comments (1)

Perth - grown up stuff and fun stuff

Christine, nights out, houses, jobs, money etc.

sunny 25 °C

Now, I'm not going to say our arrival in Perth marked the END of the fun, but it was the beginning of being a bit more grown up.

For starters, when we arrived we knew we'd HAVE to look for jobs. Otherwise, we'd be on a one-way ticket back home. And that would be pretty pants, considering we have friends and family flying out to see us at Christmas time.

So the first thing we did after settling in and getting a feel for the place was to take to the job hunt.

A LOT harder than it actually sounds. I spoke to lots of people before I came traveling about jobs etc and they all seemed to find it easy. Well, that was a couple of years ago when the economy wasn't on its arse. Now it is a slightly different story.

Took a while for me to get my VERY basic, idiot-could-do-it-in-his-sleep job and a lot longer for Fay to find her actual proper grown up job that she did at home. But now we are both worker bees and saving some money for Xmas time.

It is a bit of a culture shock working again, especially after three months off, but the money was starting to run out and it was a necessary evil. The other shocker is that I now work six days a week, so it doesn't leave a lot of time for taking dozens of pictures of beaches to p*ss everyone off with on Facebook.

Perth is a beautiful city with lots of different areas to discover. I make sure I get out and explore a new bit on my days off and on Sunday discovered Queen's Park, which is BEAUTIFUL. Sat in the park sunbathing for ages and wrote a little poem to make Lucy smile back home.

Also in Perth I had a little reunion with Christine Morris. (My brother's best friend from back home - he was SO JEALOUS). We spent the day on the waterfront and posing for pictures outside The Lucky Shag pub (mega lolz). Was great to see a friend out here, having had the "where are you from, how long are you in Oz, where have you been?" conversation with sooooo many strangers. Don't get me wrong, I like meeting new people. But sometimes they all merge into one and you forget who said what about who and when.

Speaking of meeting people, the hostel we are currently in (and the place where I am typing this) is one of the friendliest I've been to. I'd love to name it, but I think my next post won't reflect very well and I'd hate to do them a dis-service. We are in a room of ten, although it often only has eight, and although there are only four of us who have been together since day one, the steady stream of new people always seem to be friendly and keen to meet us.

Most recently, we had a little room nine night out, which was really nice. Went for a few drinks in Northbridge, which is the main place to have a few beverages in central Perth.

One guy we were with, Andreas, had only arrived the night before and came from a village in Italy that had 2,000 people. His face was a picture when he saw how packed out the streets and pubs were. I think his entire village could have fit in one of the bars. He couldn't believe how many people were out. Bless him.

One of the permanent residents we have in our room is Douglas, who is from Sweden. He is really young, but has a mature head on his shoulders, and is a really nice bloke. Fay and I went with him to Kings Park the other day.

Kings Park, seeing as I'm on that topic, is a really large park (d'oh!) on the hillside, so you can see stunning views of the city from it. We got lots of beautiful shots from the viewpoints, which I'll upload when my phone isn't dying through lack of battery. I definitely want to go up there again at night, as I bet seeing the city lights at night time will be a totally different experience. Someone told me today it is the largest park in the world in terms of it's ratio to the size of the city.

Another permanent fixture in dorm nine is Enzo, also from Italy. His English isn't very good, but he tries really hard and is SO CUTE. He has his little purple dressing gown and goes to bed with a teddy bear holding a heart. I really want to ask who got him the bear, but maybe it is too personal? He is like a little old man with his ways and habits. I just want to say "bless" all the time when I see him.

Our dorm has an en suite (pooooosh us!) so for the first time it feels like we're actually in a little house of our own. It would be nice to get an ACTUAL house of our own, but psychic house-hunters keep snapping them up five minutes after they go online. It'll get to the point soon where a house or flat won't be much use, as we'll be leaving Perth for Xmas.

And on that note, I'm going to leave. As I need to book my flights to Sydney before they rocket in price.

Sorry for leaving it so long between posts. Hopefully I'll be less slack next time. Adios! x

Posted by emmaabroad 04:23 Archived in Australia Tagged park friends hostel sightseeing swedish perth kings queens dorms italians Comments (0)

Uluru - Trip 3 of 3

I'll never be able to wash all the pink sand out.

sunny 36 °C

So the third and final little excursion was to Uluru and Alice Springs. Or Ayers Rock to those who don't speak the native language. (I don't either, but I like Uluru better).

The plane in took us right near Uluru so we got a perfect welcome to the big massive rock, apparently Australia's most photographed landmark. (I thought it would be the Opera House. This fact surprised me).

We checked into the nicest hostel we've stayed in for the entire trip and then went to take what would be the first of millions of photographs.

The resort around Uluru is like a little toy town. Made for tourists and really clean, small and cute. There is a little town centre with shops and cafes (my favourite? Ayer's Wok. A Chinese takeaway. Mega lolz. Never ate there, just like the name). There is a little bus that takes you round for free, although it only takes about 15minutes to get anywhere you like.

After the best ever pillow and comfiest bed in the world, we woke up for the trip.

Picked up by a mad bird/Sheila called Kellie who was our Rock Mama for the weekend and jumped on the fun bus.

When we got to Uluru it was absolutely STUNNING. We'd seen quite a bit of it from the distance of the resort, but finally seeing it up close was absolutely awesome. And not in that American way people say awesome all the time. But the genuine, original meaning of the word. Up close you realise how many different features and parts there are to it, with not one rock face looking the same as the one round the corner.

Kellie told us it is 348metres high and is one huge solid rock. But the thing that got me even more, was that this is literally only the tip of the iceberg - the rock has another 6KM underground. 6K!!!!! Incredible. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but some boffins sent some sonic rays down or something and the bounce-back showed it was 6K deep.

That is a big bloody rock!

Actually, using the word bloody is funny. Although the sand and the rock itself APPEARS red, that is only because it has been dyed by the sand around it. Chip away a bit and it is actually white in most places, but looks black where rain (yes, it does rain there occasionally) and other stuff as run down it.

We walked around the whole thing in two stages on the first and second days. (I think I remember it was 9K in total) and found so many different aspects to it, including 5,000-year-old paintings, waterfalls, watering holes, caves, homes for animals, caves used for ceremonies and even a "kitchen cave".

The Aborigines believe Uluru is sacred and therefore when they leased it back to the government in the 1980s, they asked that people don't climb it. However, when the white man previously took over and declared it was theirs, handrails had been built up one side of it. Although there are warning signs about the dangers of climbing it, together with the requests from Aborigines asking people not to do so, we saw loads of tourists still climbing it. But it looked so beautiful from the plane and below, I don't see what the point would be. For starters, about 36 (?) people have died climbing it. Although this is only the figure for people who died while still touching the rock (heart attacks, falls etc). Many more people are thought to have died afterwards from heat stroke and exhaustion, back at their hotels.

Anyway, enough about death.

After Uluru (and seriously, I cannot emphasis enough just HOW pretty it was, especially during sunrise and sunset) we went slept in swags.

A swag, for those who are not familiar, is basically a very small tent, or a large sleeping bad depending on how you look at it. It fits over your sleeping back and there is a flap you pull over your head.

It sounds horrendous, but actually I would have slept really well if it hadn't been for the hacking horrible cough I had throughout the trip. And there is nothing like laying on your back, looking at all the stars, without anything or any sounds between you and the heavens.

After swag adventures we climbed Kata Tjuta nearby. Not quite as impressive, but definitely on a par. This was a LOT of steep climbing, in the middle of the day when it had reached about 36degrees. So basically was VERY sweaty. But after all the alcohol of Whitsundays and Fraser Island, I think a little exercise did us the world of good.

Our three hour walk included a very steep ascent of steps (towards the END of the walk, when you're already knackered and thinking you wanna just die a little bit). I sounded like an asthmatic when I got to the top. But WOW. We were told not to turn around until we reached the summit and that idea was definitely a good one. It was absolutely stunning.

After another night in the swag (no spiders, thanks to a ring of salt around the bed- top camping tip!) we moved onto King's Canyon and yet more steep steps. However, this time they were at the beginning of the walk and we started at 6.30am. So it was a lot cooler. (As another aside - it was surprising how easily I got up at 4.45am each morning. My teenage self wouldn't have recognised me).

King's Canyon was another mount of stunning scenery, although unfortunately I didn't get to share it with Fay this time as her feet were killing her from the previous day's adventure. However, it was nice to get to know some of the other members of the group a little bit better and I chatted to Evan the American, Suze the American living in Sydney and Kellie our tour guide (the Tazzy).

The final part of our tour was a camel ride in the desert. Well, round a little track next to a store which was in the middle of the desert. Our camel had one hump, as I'm told all Australian camels do. (Did you know Australia has more camels than Egypt? And that the Saudi Arabians buy their camels from Oz? True.) It was very bumpy but so much fun.

At the end of our trip we finally arrived in Alice Springs (after suffering a flat tyre literally yards from the town entrance). We were knackered and my cough was horrendous at this point. So I'm sad to say that the adventure ended here, and we didn't paint the town red as originally planned.

The three trips were all awesome for very different reasons - Whitsundays for scenery, Fraser Island for banter and Uluru for culture. I wouldn't have wanted to miss any of them out and they were all my favourite for different reasons.

After this, it was on to Perth, which I will bore you about in my next post.

Thanks for reading. xxx

PS- We went with The Rock Tours. And you can find them on FACEBOOK etc.

Posted by emmaabroad 18:31 Archived in Australia Tagged uluru springs culture canyon australia rock camping kings ayers alice review rocktours swag Comments (0)

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