I’m not a princess. I have no problem getting my hands dirty and have never shied away from a hard day’s work. My 3 days hiking through the Australian Outback shook that part of my character.
Every trip to Australia has to include Uluru (Ayers Rock), I think it’s written in the immigration act. I landed in Alice Springs on a soggy grey day and checked into my hostel. FYI furnaces aren’t widespread in Australia and most hostels will only have space heaters, if that. The hostel I was staying in was concrete with no space heater and my roommates were hardened New Zealanders who would laugh at my requests to finding a heat source and counter “But you’re Canadian?!?!”
5am the next morning found me with 10 others waiting on the side of the road in the dark. We were waiting for our tour group to pick us up for our 3 day trek through Kings Canyon, Uluru and The Olga’s.
I’m a pretty active person and had no problems with the 40 kilometers of hiking that we did over the 3 days. It was when we had to climb up the 100 metre rock faces that I decided I needed to up my cardio at the gym. Our days started at 5 am before sunrise and ended at 9pm, way after sunset. Our meals were cooked on an open fire and were basic camping meals (chili, oatmeal, sandwiches). And we slept on the ground under the stars, staring at the Southern Cross and star formations that we northerners aren’t used to.
We spent our first night sleeping in swags around a bonfire in the middle of a cattle station in the Outback. It was so cold that we all slept in our jackets and we were warned that if we needed to use the outhouse in the middle of the night, to watch out for dingoes. This city girl had dreams all night that something was sniffing her swag.
Our second night was spent at the Ayers Rock Resort. The resort is a hotel and camping ground on the outskirts of the Uluru National Park. Again we spent the night sleeping under the stars with the possibility of more nocturnal dingo visits. We fell asleep under the Southern Cross and awoke at 5 am, to watch the sunrise over Uluru – definitely the best way to enjoy breakfast.
My experience hiking through the Red Centre and sleeping under the stars gave me a new understanding and appreciation of the history of Australia that no museum could have afforded me.