When I couldn’t afford to travel overseas it never once occurred to me that I should travel my own backyard. Last year was meant to be a year of saving as my plans for working overseas fell through. My parents told me to have a year break from travelling but I couldn’t resist and booked my third Contiki tour, the Outback Adventure.
The tour runs for 11 days and starts at either Darwin or Alice Springs. So what did I chose to do a tour in my own backyard? The reason behind this decision was I had always wanted to see the outback. I guess from living in the city you want to see what it’s truly like to stay out in the middle of nowhere. No phone reception, water that wasn’t drinkable (in Kakadu) and the amazing scenery I had seen over the years from the television, social media and of course the World Wide Web.
The tour was to start in September (which was where I celebrated my birthday) and the temperatures were just as I expected. Hot and sticky. But I didn’t mind it. This was what the experience was all about. Having already come from Brisbane, I know humidity when I can feel it. When planning a trip to the centre of Australia, consider the time of year you’ll go as the top end have 2 seasons, Wet & Dry. Middle of the year is our winter so pack some warm clothes for the nights. During the summer months is when it rains. I felt like September was the perfect time to visit.
I was just as excited about any other holiday I have taken. I was finally going to see more of Australia. This trip was full of adventure and of course A LOT of walking (make sure you bring suitable footwear if you’re thinking of going). Like any other tour, the group got on really well and we had a blast. The bus was half full so most of ended up getting a row of seats to ourselves. Perfect for those long drives in between towns, which there are a couple.
My favourite hotspots on tour was seeing Uluru (ticked off my bucket list) from the ground and up in the air, seeing the Katherine Gorge, and doing the Kings Canyon Rim Walk. There are still some things I want to cross off my list when I head up (who knows when that will be) like seeing the Mindil Markets, witnessing a Darwin Sunset (I’ve seen the photos and this is an absolute MUST!), go on the Jumping Crocodile Tour on the Adelaide river, and of course visit more national parks.
Some of the things I saw/did:
Litchfield National Park, Florence Falls.
Kakadu (Scenic Flight)
Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Uluru (Scenic Flight and from the ground)
Hot Air Balloon in Alice Springs
Daly Waters Pub
Mataranka Thermal Pools
Cruise along Mary River
Camped under the stars in a swag
Saw Mt Connor & Lake Amadeus (Salt Lake)
Uluru Cultural Centre
Wildlife Centre in Alice Springs
Dinner at the Overlander’s Steakhouse
For the hot days, make sure you wear something light, take sunscreen, hat, sunnies, walking/hiking shoes and plenty of water
If you are thinking about doing a holiday in the centre of Australia, make sure you do. It’s better than what I expected.