Emma's Journals

Emma's Home~m~ & Jon in AustraliaBrisbane


~m~ & Jon in Australia

Brisbane |

Well, I ran out of time on the plane yesterday, while writing up, so details of the rest of our red centre tour will have to wait. We arrived safely in Brisbane, picked up our hire car, and headed over to the apartment we're renting for the week. It's lovely, and it's so nice to be able to actually unpack properly, safe in the knowledge that we don't have to pack again for a whole week! Things have been so hectic up 'til now it's nice just to chill out for a bit.....

Last night we went out for dinner with Kevin, Victoria, Victoria's parents and Kevin's dad, which was great fun - they're all really nice, which is good!

I also spoke to both Will and Sarah back home to wish them all the best on their wedding day. I hope it went spectacularly... Someone, please e-mail me photos and tell me all the details!

Today both Victoria and Kev's dad are away - Victoria at a friend's wedding, and Kev's dad seeing friends in Sydney - so we're looking after Kev for the day. Not sure what we'll do, but nothing too strenuous I think!


We've spent the day shopping (I had to get an outfit for the wedding), and we're now in an internet cafe in Indooroopilly, the subburb of Brisbane where Kev & Victoria live. It's written with a large number of unnecessary o's, as it's actually pronounced "Indripilly", or there abouts. I'm uploading all the writeup, photos, etc, that I've done so far, as well as e-mailing people we met on the red center tour, and so on. The boys are playing computer games, and look like they'll be at it for some time, so I thought I'd spend the time writing up some more of what we did on our red centre trip, but without the photos here to remind me what happened when it might get a bit garbled, so this may change later.

Day two started with a very early morning. Mike woke us up well before sunrise, we think about 4:30am, but it was acutally very easy to get up and going, mostly because we were all so excited, I think. We left the campsite while it was still dark and headed to Kata Tjuta (aka the Olgas), in order to do the Walk of the Winds. Kata Tjuta is another large lump of sandstone, like Uluru, but rather than one big rock it's a number of large ones - 36 in total, I believe. They're arranged in a rough circle, the base of which is over 30 km in circumfrence, so it's a huge place. While Uluru is just a place name, with no translation, Kata Tjuta means "many heads" in the local aborigional language.

We started the walk with the sky just light, and walked through the sunrise, which was spectactular. It was lovely, and we were all glad to be walking in the cool of the dawn rather than the heat of the day. To me, Kata Tjuta was much more special than Uluru. Because there are lots of rocks it's much more interesting to walk through - there are valleys and things to explore, and a lot of vegitation. As we were walking I said to Jon that if I was an aborigional, Kata Tjuta would be my sacred place, not Uluru. Jon mentioned what I said to Mike, our guide, (who knew a lot about the aborigional people - he used to deal in aborigional art, has spent a lot of time in their settlements, and speaks their language) and says he seemed to confirm that yes, it is very sacred to them, but they just keep quiet about it. It's strange in a way. You hear so much about Uluru, the cultural centre at the park is full of information about it, but you never hear a word about Kata Tjuta. Apparently they've not really shared any of the stories connected with it, either. And the walk that you can do covers hardly any of the vast area that is Kata Tjuta. It's almost as if they've sacrificed Uluru in an attemtp to keep Kata Tjuta away from the prying eyes of tourists.... (who they call "minga", which means "ants" because of the way that long lines of tourists clambering over everything looks like ants....)

The walk took us several hours, and by the time we headed back to the truck it was getting very, very hot. We felt very sorry for all the people who were just starting as we finished!

We then returned to the camp site and had lunch, and finished packing up. It was then that Kelly spotted a snake track, and mentioned it to Mike. He'd been very laid back about everything all trip, but as soon as she mentioned it he got all serious and started poking carefully in corners. When questioned, he confessed that a young brown snake (the 7th most deadly snake in the world, and an agressive one to boot) had been seen around the camp site recently. Convenient how he failed to mention that before we slept there! So he made quite a serious effort to see if it was hiding in or around the site, but couldn't find it.

We spent most of the afternoon doing the several hour long drive to where we were staying that night, at a place called Kings Creek station. There were several exciting interludes to the otherwise long and hot drive. The first was finding a Thorny Devil lizard, who Mike just about managed to avoid running over, and who was ever so sweet. He was very good natured about being handled, and when we put him down (on the far side of the road he'd been crossing) he really struggled to make it up a short slope. They are lazy, slow moving lizards that eat ants, catching one at a time on their sticky tongues. A laborious business, but they can eat hundreds each minute.

Also, Mike showed us a plant (the name of which I've forgotten) which has nectar like honey that you can lick straight from the flowers. It was very tastey, sort of caramelly, a bit like toffey, with a nutty taste to it. Yum!

The last bit of excitment was walking out onto one of the big salt flats they have in the desert, which Mike tood us to by virtue of an off road track. Somone else had recently tried to drive onto the salt flats, and had obviously got their truck very well bogged down, from the marks they left.... Although they look solid enough, the ground is very wet, with water only a few inches beneath the surface. Unfortunately it's full of salt, so not much good to anyone!

Because Australia is so big, the roads in the red centre have these road stations intermittently along them, so you can get food, water, etc. They're strange places - nothing for miles around, and then a shop, a petrol station, a phone box and some other facilities like toilets and showers, all clumped together, with loads of people, because everyone stops at them - there's nowhere else to stop! Kings Creek station was one of these. We made use of the showers at the station, then drove the 10 or 15 minutes to the actual camp site. It was right out in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but scrubby desert for miles. We made camp, I started a fire (a positive joy compared to starting a fire in soggy Wales - the wood was just begging to burn! As Mike said "if you can't start a fire in the desert, you're not trying!), we cooked, and ate, and chatted, and so on. It was a very relaxed evening, and by about 10 pm we'd all gone to bed - after such an early start, and with another one planned for the next day, we needed the sleep!

We slept in swags again, as the night before, and had been assured by Mike that this time there were really no venomous creatures in the area, not even ones he hadn't told us about..... Although I don't think that Edwardo and Nicolletta (sp??) were convinced - they slept on the roof of the trailer! It was colder than the night before, with a strong wind blowing, but for those of us sensible enough to sleep with our feet into the wind the swags did a great job of keeping us warm. For those sleeping with their heads into the wind, I understand it wasn't so great!

Again, I woke up several times in the night, spent some time looking at the stars, and then drifted off to sleep again. It was really amazing to wake up and find such a beautiful sky above you. It's quite indescribable. The next morning, Mike decided to let us sleep in, since the wind was keeping the heat away, and didn't wake us up 'til about 6am (a real lie in!).

Locations Visited: Brisbane

Add Comment

Comment Policy:

Only signed in members can comment on journal entries. Please sign in now or register if you would like to leave a comment. Comments are sent to the owner of this journal for approval before being made live on the site.