Thursday, 14 May 2015

one Bilion flies

I shit you not when I say that as soon as you drive out of civilisation into the outback or even bush you instantly get attacked by flies. So much socially incompetent and rude flies it's hard to believe it's true but believe me when I say, it WILL drive you to insanity at one point. 

Coming from Port Augusta we drove up the Stuart Highway, a 2,834 km long highway that traverses the whole of Oz from South to North right through the middle of Aussie.
In short an immense stretch of highway through absolutely nothingness which is, as you can imagine, quite impressive.

We stopped somewhere on one of the rest areas along the highway between Port Augusta and Woomera for the night and woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the absolute nothingness was quite magnificent.

Coober Pedy, the Opal capital of the world.
With over 70 opal fields it is the largest opal mining area in the world. What we found quite peculiar about the town is that most of the houses were/are built underground, this was introduced to succumb the scorching daytime temperatures. (highest temp recorded in summer (Jan) was 47.1 °C !!)
Fun fact! the word 'Coober Pedy' is derived from the Aboriginal term kupa-piti, which means "white man's hole"
Coober Pedy

Being in the opal capital of the world we kind of felt obligated to go noodling, the process of searching through heaps of discarded mulch for pieces of opal missed by miners. In short, picking through dirt on a great dirt mound in the hope of finding something shiny. There is a public noodling area on the edge of town where we went and had a go at it.  The experience was, how shall I put this, hot and dusty and without much success. Obviously we had come utterly unprepared as we had nothing to actually dig with into the dirt. 
The picture is titled "Noodling" and goes with the conversation; "act as if you're noodling, Liza" "how? we don't even know what to do" "yes, I know that but just kneel down and pick something up will you."

Border hopping time!
the bottom part is South Australia and the top is the Northern Territory.
My 7th state, aw yeah!

If I was to describe the territory in just a few words I think I would go with; flies, heat and endless roads.
We only saw the southern most part of the territory obviously with not going higher up than the tropic of Capricorn which is just 30km North of Alice (Springs).
fun fact; before 2007 there was absolutely no speed limit enforced throughout the entire territory! 
 But in January 2007 the traffic laws got updated to be similar to Australia's other states. This meant enforcing speed limits on all road, including the highways which was set at 130km/h. Which is still 20km/h faster as other states. In February 2014 the NT Government set an open speed limit on the 200km stretch between Alice Springs and Barrow Creek.
So the trip from the NT/SA boarder to Uluru, our first destination was hot and empty. 
When you're driving through kilometres and kilometre of flat nothingness on end 1 kilometre seems like 10, an hour seems like 3 and 130km/h seems like 50km/h. 
600 km per day had become a normal days driving between the two of us, every two hours we would swap so that the other could have a rest or do just anything but concentrate on the road which is pretty tiring in the blithering hot sun and on the endless road.
 Before Katrien was in Oz and I was still making my way up and down the east coast I drove nearly 700km a couple of days. Believe me when I say that when you get our of your car to pay for petrol or what ever and you can't function properly anymore because you are so disorientated it is time to stop driving.
It's hard to explain what driving in Australian conditions do to you but whatever it does to you, if you're not Australian (and therefore not used to the conditions) you're not capable of driving 6-7-8-9-10 hours on end in this country. 
That's my opinion at least.

So anyway we made it up the Stuart highway until Erlduna where we turned onto the Lasseter hwy, which would bring us straight to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
We stopped at a free camp spot about 28km of Yulara, which is basically a gigantic resort with town facilities. The township has it's own primary school, child care centre, police station, medical centre and ambulances, fire station, post office, bank, new agency, servo and a small supermarket. The resort holds no less than 5 different ways to stay there, a campground, 2 hotels & a lodge, apartments and the resort it self. It's insane. Everything is super expensive because they have monopoly, obviously, this is the only place to eat and sleep within a 84km radius.

Welcome to Anangu land

I'm suggesting nothing here, but I will say that if you were an intergalactic traveller who had broken down in our solar system, the obvious directions to rescuers would be: "Go to the third planet and fly around till you see the big red rock. You can't miss it." If ever on earth they dig up a 150,000-year-old rocket ship from the galaxy Zog, this is where it will be. I'm not saying I expect it to happen; not saying that at all. I'm just observing that if I were looking for an ancient starship this is where I would start digging.” - Bill Bryson, Down Under

On our first day there we did the 10.6km loop walk around the base of Uluru. It was quite interesting to see it from up close for starters and even more interesting to find out that it isn't really that smooth of a rock!
What a fascinating thing that is!

Day 2 was the 3rd of April, my 19th birthday-day!!

I had a birthday of a life time!
Starting with a magnificent sunrise over Uluru followed by a big breakfast brunch in the Outback Pioneer Hotel&Lodge back in Yulara. 
After we had eaten absolutely everything and as much as we could we drove back to the National Park but this time toward Kata Tjuta, often more commonly known as Mount Olga or the Olgas.
Special thanks go to my awesome sister who surprised me with the cake and candles presented above at Uluru. <3

Kata Tjuta by sunrise

Kata Tjuta is a group of 36 domed rock formations located about 50km west from Uluru. We did the Walpa Gorge Walk and the walk up to the Karu lookout. 

After our visit to Kata Tjuta we drove to the sunset point where we spent most of the afternoon reading, sunning, eating cake and getting harassed by flies on the bonnet of the car with an absolutely  famous view of Uluru at our feet.
What a day. What an adventure.

xoxo Lizzie


  1. Such fond memories! I love the Bill quote by the way! <3