When we started looking at travel options for exploring Uluru and it’s surrounds, I knew I wanted to camp. What better way to experience the Australian outback than sleeping in a swag under the skies?
I quickly decided on joining a tour rather than wing it on our own, usually our preferred option. It just seemed easier to have transportation, food, and accommodation sites organized, particularly since we were rather tight on time.
Moon rise by Uluru
We went with Mulgas Adventures in the end. Although most of the travel outfitters, by and large, have the same itinerary, right down to the trails and campsites, Mulgas had the best rating reviews on TripAdvisor. Haha, I have to admit though, the first evening after we had settled down to try to get some shut eye for the night and shouts of laughter and chatter were still coming from the bedrolls just a few feet from ours, I wondered if we should have paid a bit more to get a tour with people more in our age group. But maybe few people in their 30s travel anymore, or at least elect to camp?
Sleeping under the bright moonlight
Subsequently though, after we had much more rest in our system, and gotten to know our fellow travelers, we had a blast. Ours was a good group – everyone happily pitched in to help with the cooking, cleaning, and packing up, and for the most part, were punctual with the set times our guide set us. We had long full days – waking up at 430 usually to grab a quick bite of breakfast before driving to a great spot to watch the sunrise, then hiking for a few hours before driving to our next campsite at dusk.
By the end, we were quite sad to be leaving. If only we had more time to properly explore the surroundings, especially Kings Canyon. It’s really quite an isolated region though. We never did get up Alice Springs, so we don’t know how that town looks, but otherwise we never drove by any sort of settlements at all. I suppose the Aborigines live in communities far off the main highway, and the farmers are also spread out all over the land. All we saw were scrubs, the occasional outcroppings of rock that rise up over the flat landscape, and the few dusty gas stations by the side of the road. It’s a harsh place to live in that’s for sure.
Kata Tjuta sunrise
Kings Canyon rim walk
Garden of Eden in Kings Canyon
After we’d collected firewood (i.e. uprooted small dead trees), we drove to our private bush camp in the outback
Cooking pasta bolognese, outback style
Soda bread, fresh out of the cast iron pot
For mere minutes, the curtain of clouds parted enough to show us the stars
View from my swag in the early hours. Got up to add more wood to the fire
Pit toilet with a view of Mt. Connor
Sunrise over Mt. Connor – we didn’t get a chance to visit this though, only admired from afar