That was truly longest most boring train ride in my life ... 27 hours from Darwin to Alice Springs. Stuck in one seat next to one dodgy Aussie in one of the most slowliest rides ever my ipod also gave out on me. Sleep was the only option. Alright the scenery was pretty neat .. in the beginning at least ... but after a while you just get bored. At least now I can say, I have been on the legendary Ghan train crossing Australia. Whoo hoo.
After a night in Alice I hopped on another bus down to Adelaide. We went all the way through more nothingness aka the Outback to Kings Canyon for a hike. That would be then 5 hours on the bus. Nevertheless we saw one of the most beautiful sunrises over the Outback. The colors were just amazing.
Kings Canyon reminded me slightly of the Grand Canyon (which actually is a gorge if you want to be precise) but a bit smaller. The red rocks really look stunning, even more when there are blue skies. After our little 2 hour hike through the canyon we hit the road again to Yulara.
Yulara is the closest "town" to Uluru. Don´t be mistaken, Uluru is definitely NOT close to Alice Springs, it´s like 350km´s away. I am really getting into enjoying those looong bus rides, and they can even get longer. ;-) Because we were spending the night outside and well, it´s autumn down under, so it gets pretty chilly during the night, we made a little "fire wood collecting stop" on the side of the road. We just went in the bush and collected any dead wood lying around, that was bigger than our wrists, oh and if it shall move ... leave it there! So, we really had an awesome fire going and after a delicious BBQ dinner - our guide was the next masterchef Australia seriously - some booze and chatting, we hit our swags! I never have slept better in my life than outdoors - seriously. 1000 star hotel really rocks!
At 5 am we were all up and on the road to meet the famous rock star for sun rise: Uluru. It looked truly remarkable, like on those picture postcards of Australia, which you all have seen and will be seeing shortly, when you´ll get mine! Pretty impressing and somehow magically this big piece of rock.
The morning we spent doing the base walk around it. Gees, it was freezing cold and windy. The infamous rock climb was closed that day due to the strong wind. The Aboriginals don´t want anyone climbing it, since the path is there most sacred site of all, it still can be climbed. The thing was that when Australia tried to close down the climb, it got really nasty with Japan. The Asian are the ones who are mostly coming to see the rock to climb it and Japan was threatening Australia to step back on any alliances, if they close it down. So go figure.... In my opinion, out of respect to their culture one shouldn´t climb it, that would be the same as someone climbing on Buddha wouldn´t it?! Point taken.