For a REAL OZ experience, a trip to the Northern Territory state (Uluru in particular) is a must in your travel list.
Unlike other Australian destinations like Sydney or Melbourne, what I find unique about this region is how they have managed to keep the British influence at a minimum.. So there’s no wineries, or Victorian shopping arcades or churches, and no prisons or gaols.. Instead this region showcases the culture and history of the Aboriginals, set in a backdrop of amazing rock formations and desert landscapes..
For the trip, me and my friend planned to go for 5day/4 nights, focusing on only two areas in Central Australia: Uluru and Alice Springs. This is located in the lower part of the state, which is around 3 hours flight from Melbourne. (for further details on the NT state, you can go to http://en.travelnt.com/).
Warning though, this place is not for the faint hearted, a lot of the scenic highlights here involve a lot of hiking, and depending on the month you go, the weather can be extremely hot and dry, and the nights freezing cold.
As much as possible, avoid the summer season of Dec-Feb, as it is scorching hot during this time. We went during January, and the temperature on average was 40-45 degrees Celsius!
We booked return flights to and from Alice Springs.. So our itinerary was to stay 1 night in Alice Springs, do a 5 hour drive to Uluru, stay there overnight, then drive back to Alice Springs and stay for another 2 nights… For those who want to pack more activities into that time, best thing would be to fly to Alice springs, hire a car for rent, drive to Uluru, and take a flight from there (that way you don’t spend half a day driving back)..
These are a few pics of the Alice Springs airport, was actually pleasantly surprised at how nice the airport was.. I was expecting a very simple, no frills airport since this was just a small town. But even here you can see the Aboriginal influence in the banners and interior design.
We then went to pick up our car rental and drove off to our first destination: Alice Springs Desert Park…
This is a good introduction to the terrain, plants and animals you can expect to see in this region. There’s a walkie talkie provided for an audio tour of specific points of interest throughout the park. This pretty much allows you to just go off on your own pace while exploring.
The park is divided into three main areas that you’ll see all throughout the Northern Territory.. there’s the Woodlands, Desert Rivers and Sand country. Below are a few of the sights you’ll see around the park.
You also get a good view of the McDonnell Ranges from here.
After an exhausting walk, we drove up to Anzac Hill to get a bird’s eye view of the town and watch the sunset..
Then it was off for dinner at the local pub, Bojangles.
Food wasn’t amazing, but I love the atmosphere and decor of the place.. Feels like I was in wild western movie.. All that’s missing is the cowboys…
A nice way to end the first day in Alice Springs.. =)