Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Alice Springs to Adelaide to Tasmania

The photos of Tasmania and Adelaide are here:
Adelaide, Tasmania

Now after ignoring the blog I have to do itall in one big chunk. I've done a heap since I last updated it. Anyway we had arrived into Alice Springs last time I updated this. Alice is smallish but as we were to find out before we left the place was very unsafe. There are were lots of Aboriginals roaming about the place much like you see some young lads roaming around O Connell street. They're doing nothing wrong but you're very wary of them as they just seem dodgy. I think people that have been trodden on for over 100 years with no education and no opportunities would be no different but at the same time they don't do themselves any favours. For instance you can't go out in Alice Springs on your own at night. You have to get a taxi home. Also that night we stayed in Alice 2 of the hostels were broken into and it was said that it was aboriginals and in one of the places one of the girls actually saw aboriginals taking her rucksack. They were only given the vote in 1967 and Uluru was only handed back to them in 1985 with one of the conditions being that they allow people to climb it. The Aborigines ask people not to climb it but hundreds still do. As a mark of respect I think they shouldn't allow people to climb it. Our guide likened climbing it, to skygliding off the vatican. I think it's closer to pissing on an altar. Also compared to New Zealand where they're educated on Maori customs, there's no education in Australia on Aboriginal customs. Rant finished.

We lefty Alice at 5 in the morning to do over 500 k to our first stop Kings Canyon. Here our walking was going to begin. It wasn't too bad but it was a good taster of what the following 6 days would hold. The photos will give you a better idea of what it was like than any description I can give you. It was good but it paled in comparison to Kata Tjuta which comes later. We saw the sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta that night from our campsite which was nice. On the way to the camp site we passed a mountain really similar in shape to Uluru called Mount Connor and it was gas seeing everyone taking photos of it in excitement only to be told later it wasn't the main man.

We saw Uluru for sunrise the next morning but I wasn't that impressed with it. There's a taller monolith than it in WA called Mount Augusta but I suppose it's not as pretty. I main thing I thought that would recommend Uluru to people is the Aboriginal stories/history here.Our guide Adam from adventure travel was really informative and it was good to see an Australian person actually cared about the plight of the Aboriginal people. The Aboriginals are starting to get into Aboriginal based tourism and I think this could be very useful for educating people about their customs. We saw Kata Tjuta that evening which I thought was the most impressive out of this 6 day trip. You'll see the pictures but it really reminded me of scenes from the Lion King.

Our next stop was Coobers Pedy in another 7 or 800 k. I was looking forward to coming here. This is an underground city but I didn't rate it in the end. I don't know I just thought of it as all being underground with tunnels between shops and houses but it wasn't like that at all. Most places just had a cellar in their house. The underground bar here was actually overground. I didn't rate it at all but I suppose fair play for making something of nothing here, something Australian tourism is brilliant at. Irish tourism could well take a leaf out of their book.

The next day we saw Lake Torrens and stayed close to Wilpena Pound which is part of the Flinders ranges. Lake Torrens is a big salt lake. I thought this was very impressive. We climbed Wilpena Pound the following day. This is a decent climb but it was well worth doing. We stayed in Parachilna that night for our bush/roadkill bbq. We had Kangaroo, Camel and Emu. I thought it was very tasty but the views of the girls on the trip differed wildly. It wasn't all bad, more for me. We had a couple in the pub here that night. It was a real bush pub with no bars for over 400 km.

The last day we headed for Adelaidevia a wine tasting in Clare valley. It was nice to be back in civilization but it was scary as well. It was really strange to see all these people after being in the wilderness for 6 days. Overall the tour was very good. Uluru and Coober Pedy were a bit of a dissappointment but the other parts more than made up for it. Adelaide was nice. We didn't get up to a whole lot here but it was grand just to stroll around the streets. The market and Glenelg beach were very nice.

We were only 2 nights in Adelaide and then we hit for Tasmania. To be honest I think we were shattered after all the 6 o clock starts on the 6 day tour and we did alot of sleeping the first couple of days. We arrived into Hobart airport and only spent a night here which was more than enough. We hit the harbour, Salamance place and north Hobart. North Hobart was the most happening of the whole lot. It was very quiet and we were happy enough to hit the road the following day.

Our next stop was Port Arthur, a former convict settlement. We did a ghost tour here that night which was brilliant. Caroline was holding my hand alot tighter in here for some reason. This was the highlight and was much better than the tour the following day in daylight. The brutality here was shocking and judging by our guide, he seemed to think it'd be a great idea if this system was re-introduced. Solitary confinement was a feature here and the opening of a lunatic asylum here didn't seem to alert the English authorities that something wasn't going quite to plan here. Good to see but there isn't a town nearby to here. Tasmania isn't setup very well for tourism at all here. Especially in the south you're very lucky to find backpacker or budget accomodation in the towns. You have to check this out before you go near a town.

We headed for Ross that night for the famous bridge. They have a crossroads here that goes in either of 4 directions temptation (pub), salvation(church), recreation (town hall) or damnation (old jail). A happening spot as you can believe.

We headed for Freycinet National Park the following day to see Wineglass bay. The photos of this are fairly impressive.

The Bay of Fires up the north is also worth a visit. This is a real beach area although you have to be careful with the rips here. We stayed in Longford that night above a pub and we headed down at 9.30 for a drink only to find the pub was actually closed.

Next stop was Cradle mountain. This is the start of the overland track. After 1 day of walking I was glad I wasn't doing 7 more days of it. I think all the walking between Alice and Adelaide had us all walked out.

Then back to Lanceston. Not much to report here either. Cataract gorge is the highlight here. Tasmania is very nice but you'd have to be fairly fond of the walking. Nightlife here was pretty non-existent. The entries you might have noticed are getting shorter and shorter now. It's not entirely due to Tasmania but more due to me getting bored writing.

Myself and Caroline arrived back in Sydney the day before yesterday and she went home yesterday. I'm in Sydney till the 19th after which I'm heading for Mexico for 10 days to meet my mam. Then I'll be meeting Caroline back in Lima in mid April to be home for late June. You can surely drop me a line after that big long essay. Slan.

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