Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 3 - Kings Creek Station

On our third day in the Northern Territory we woke up early and drove to Uluru to watch the sunrise. It was nice to see the sun stretch across the rock and feel everything around us wake up, including us! Afterwards, we splurged on a buffet breakfast at the resort before heading off on the 4 hour drive to Kings Canyon...

It was chilly first thing in the morning and at night but absolutely beautiful during the day!
The roads are super flat and there isn't really radio (some AM depending on where you are), so we passed time playing games and chatting on the walkie-talkies with our friends in the other van. Fun times! :)

En route to our destination, we stopped at Kings Creek Station, a working cattle/camel station (ranch) with lots of fun things to do!! Petrol was pretty expensive though!
They did have real coffee though and after a few days without that, I was a very happy camper!
Yippee! Caffeine fix! :)
We went on a camel ride and ate camel burgers. I know, it seems wrong, doesn't it? To be honest, I had a chicken burger and only had a bite of the camel one. Steve, Bruce and Claire all braved the camel burgers and enjoyed it. I couldn't stop thinking about how smart and cute the camels are!
Our sexy hair nets for under the helmets...
Seriously, what is wrong with me??

Camels are very sloooow but it was also a really relaxing ride...and a bit surreal! We were riding a camel through the outback of Australia. CRAZY.
Camels are also very smart...they are as smart as a seven year old child, according to our guide. They catch wild camels at this station for export...that kind of made me sad. I don't like the idea of a wild animal being taken from their home and freedom. I'd make a terrible station worker!

There were lots of dogs about. What a life these dogs live! Lucky puppies! It made me miss Jesse who was in a kennel in Melbourne.
We also took a helicopter ride. My first time in a helicopter! It was pretty cool...

We saw wild horses!!!
The views were very pretty from up high...
...and very red!
We also went quad biking, as the Aussies say. This was one of my most favorite things on our was awesome!
We drove through the outback on some pretty crazy tracks. We were allowed to go fast and I even saw a wild camel! Like I said, awesome!!
I'd do this again in a heart beat! If only I could travel around the city on a four wheeler...

Making friends with the animals on the ranch...
We arrived at Kings Canyon Resort Campground and found our site to have the most amazing view...

We got settled, made a spaghetti dinner and kicked up our feet with a nice drink. Good times!
Gotta love camping! What a fabulous day!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 2 Evening - Sounds of Silence - Uluru

After a fabulous day spent at Ayers Rock, we went back to the campground, refreshed and got ready for "Sounds of Silence". A bus picked us up at the campground at 5pm and off we went. We weren't really sure what to expect (I thought we might need to not talk...thank goodness that wasn't the case!) but had been told that it was a pretty incredible experience. We weren't disappointed!
We drove over bumpy red dirt roads for awhile before being dropped off at a beautiful location where we were greeted with champagne and told to relax and enjoy the sunset on Ayers Rock. We nibbled on canapes (I ate my first bit of crocodile!) and mingled with the guests.
The above photo makes me laugh, we're standing as if not to block the rock!
Claire and I enjoying the evening.
It was a really special place in the middle of nowhere...
...and the view of Uluru and The Olgas was amazing!
A gorgeous sunset...

After the sunset, we made our way down a long windy path that opened onto a red space with beautiful tables all set for a feast...
They served an Australian buffet (kangaroo, crocodile, prawns, lamb, etc...). The food was really tasty and the wine was in abundance!
We dined with travelers from Spain, China and Northern Queensland. We got to know each other a little, laughed a lot and enjoyed good food and drink together under a beautiful starry sky. We even chatted with fellow Canadians from Calgary, which is always nice when you're far away from home.
After dinner, they told us Aboriginal stories (wow!) and pointed out the constellations. It's funny to know you live under a completely different sky than you have known your entire life. No Northern Star to be seen anywhere but I can now locate the Southern Cross like nobody's business! :)
The bus picked us up and dropped us back at the campground when the evening had to come to an end. We slept well with full tummies and happy hearts. Sounds of Silence was by far one of the most special moments of our trip. I'd recommend it to anyone! It's truly a very unique experience!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


We recently got new bedding. After almost five years of the same bedding (seriously, have we lived here that long?), it was at the top of our wish list. We bought everything...sheets, pillows, pillow case covers, comforter, comforter cover, the works. I put it on the bed (I just love that brand new feeling!), turned my back for two seconds and...Jesse. For a split second I realized why Aussies are so fond of "outside dogs". I even thought for another second that our next dog wouldn't be allowed on the bed, or furniture in general and decided I would most definitely tell Steve that if we ever get another furry friend, all furniture will be off limits. Then, I remembered. I remembered how much I *love* weekend sleep-ins with me, Steve and Jesse all snuggled up in bed. I remembered how much I *love* sleeping back to back with Jesse when Steve stays up late or is away. I remembered how much I *love* waking up to Jesse resting his head on the mattress, staring right at me, waiting for me to wake up and wiggle over to make room for him. The dog hair, paw prints and extra wear and tear are most definitely a pain in the butt but I wouldn't trade it for anything! And if I'm being honest, I don't blame Jesse one bit. I've been sleeping like a baby since getting this new bedding..who wouldn't want to sleep in it? I'm sure it beats a dog bed any day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 2 - Ayers Rock (Uluru)

After a good night's sleep in the overfill part of Ayers Rock Campground, we woke up early to get our big day at Ayers Rock underway. The above photo is one Steve snapped bright and early from a hill overlooking the overfill camping field.
This is the overfill area up close. I just loved how red it was. We didn't notice the color until we woke up because we arrived after dark. It was pretty cool to get out of the van to head for the bathrooms and see the red, red soil.
We headed off to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park where Ayers Rock, also known as Uluru lives. This was our first glimpse of Uluru as we drove into the park. Seeing it for the first time was pretty spectacular. It's just so...Australia. When I first heard we were actually moving to the land down under, this was what popped in my head. It's considered the heart of Australia and there's no question in my mind as to why. It's truly amazing being in the presence of this rock.
One of my most favorite moments of the trip was having breakfast there. Sipping my coffee and eating my eggs beside Ayers Rock was surreal and very calming.
The best thing about a Britz camper van is the gas stove which enables you to cook a yummy full brekky anywhere!
After breakfast, we packed our snacks and water and set out on the 9.4km walk around the rock. I'm so glad we went in winter when the weather was a beautiful, sunny 18 degrees. It gets HOT there in summer, about 40 degrees. Even when we were there, you could feel the bite of the sun.
We chose not to climb the rock in respect of the Aboriginal people who ask that you don't. There were also several parts of the rock that are sacred to the Aboriginal people and there were signs asking you not to photograph there. Again, we respected that but sadly, there were lots of people who didn't. It made me a bit sad.
Steve on our chocolate chip cookie break.
Aboriginal art work on the rock...

I have to admit, I wish there would have been more information about Uluru, as you walked around the rock. There really wasn't anything to help you learn more about the place, which I found quite surprising and a bit disappointing.
But, the views helped to make up for it! :)
Group shot.
Gorgeous colors!

A quick stretch, much needed after our first night's sleep in the camper van!
Nearing the end of the walk...Bruce and Claire taking a rest.
I love this picture.

Uluru was everything we had always imagined and more. Everyone that goes there tells you how amazing it is, but I don't think I really understood until I felt it for myself. It's just another reason why Australia is so special.

I'll be back tomorrow with how we spent our evening at Uluru...