Sunday, December 5, 2010

Eleven Days to Go!


Well there are only ELEVEN days to go before I put a backpack back on my back and go off to experience Australia on a budget.

First stop is (of course) Uluru, the famous Ayers Rock, the most famous of Australian landscapes and one of the most sacred sites for our indigenous citizens of Australia, the Aboriginals.

I still have yet to decide whether I am going to climb Uluru. Recently, the Australian Government considered banning tourists from climbing Uluru because its such a sacred Aboriginal site. They have delayed the decision, meaning that tourists can still climb it. Given that I am physically fit and I like a challenge, there is a good chance that I will do it, but I need to find some way to alleviate the guilt that I will feel that I am climbing across something that is sacred, something that our indigenous people do not want us to do. I have always been a very strong advocate for aboriginal rights and culture and so I really am of two minds whether I should do it or not.

Perhaps if I climb Ayers Rock, and then if I come across an aboriginal-specific charity, or if I try and visit as many aboriginal information centres to pay my respects, that may help... I am not sure.

Also in the area are the Olgas, or Kata Tjuta, are a set of rock formations and are close to Uluru (well, as close as can be when we are talking about just how sparse Australia is. I get to spend Christmas Day in Uluru so it will be a Christmas dinner of baked beans and soup, sadly!

And then I will go and see Kings Canyon, which is another couple of hundred kilometres away.

And then I will be jumping on the famous Ghan Railway, all the way up to Darwin.

Once I get up to Darwin, I go on a three day 4x4 Safari of the Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks. I will celebrate New Years Eve camping out in the middle of Kakadu National Park.

Once I finish the Kakadu Safari, I take a flight EAST across Australia to Cairns (I could have driven or taken a bus but the distance by road between Darwn and Cairns is approximately 2737.2 kilometres, or 1700.6 miles. In driving time, that is 31 hours and 34 mins, and that is not including stops, overnight sleeps and so forth. So I figured that for the sake of safety and time, I could afford to miss seeing the Australian landscape between Darwin and Cairns (which is, what I hear, just desert).

Just to reinforce just how much distance we are talking about:
  1. the trip I am taking from Alice Springs to Darwin actually is a train trip which goes from Adelaide (bottom of Australia) to Darwin (top of Australia). I am just jumping on the train half way UP, right in the middle of Australia, at Alice Springs. The entire trip the Ghan takes as a railway service from Adelaide to Darwin, travels 2,979 kilometres (1,852 miles).
2. The distance by road (as I said above) between Darwn and Cairns is approximately 2737.2 kilometres, or (1700.6 miles).

In other words, it takes nearly the same distance to get from Adelaide to Darwin in a straight line via rail, as it does to go from Darwin to Cairns, which takes the highway which needs to take you halfway back down towards Adelaide and then across east to the eastern seaboard.

You can see why I am taking the flight from Darwin to Cairns!!!

So then, once I get to Cairns, I then go on a "hop on, hop off" bus all the way back down to Sydney at my own pace, first going UP to Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas, where I will scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef (hopefully more than once, depending on the budget) and then I will go to Cairns, down to Townsville, then Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays (and maybe get out to one of the Whitsunday Islands for a day or two), then Rockhampton, Bundaberg and then to Brisbane where I will stop off and see some friends (including Jake from the Royal Childrens Hospital) and then its back down to Sydney.

I've drawn a map, using colours.

So "Red" means flying by plane. "Blue" means a shuttle bus or coach. "Green" means the Ghan Railways. "Yellow" means the Hop on Hop off Bus.

This should give you an idea of K's Solo Oz Experience from December - February!!

How very exciting!



  1. Wish I could come. Ma xxx

  2. What a amazing trip. You're living my dream at the moment. Have fun.

  3. Sounds like an awesome trip.

    Climb the rock, the reason aboriginal people don't like you climbing it is not religious. They hate it when a fat american tourist tries to do it in 50 degree heat and dies up there.

    The mutijulu community that owns the rock has a difficut relationship with tourists. They love the money, but hate the tourists.

    The net result is they will take your money and be rude to you.

    Have fun anyway.

  4. Yeh, Brett, I'd heard that was annoying the locals as well. There should definitely be a fitness requirement before climbing. Thankfully I'm fit, but I know a lot of the tourists aren't but try it anyway.

    Maybe I will climb after all....

    Thanks for the advice, and thanks for visiting my website! I always like new followers!