Central Australia here I comes - Part I

I don't know what struck me during the semester, probably a serious one, leading me to the decision of joining the 11 days Central Australia Camping Adventure organized by MUOSS (Melbourne University Overseas Students Service). It is a tough decision for me, ones that had never camp before, yes, correct, trust your eye>> I NEVER CAMP BEFORE, for the past 20 years of my life... Please do not ask me where my teenage life is, probably daydreaming all the time? Hmm..

Anyway, back to the story, I decided to join the trip and yes, I was amazed by my ability to tolerate a 26 hours bus drive to Alice Spring, MacDonnell Ranges Tourist Park. We passed through Port Augusta, Adelaide, Coober Pedy and more. It is the longest bus trip I ever had in my life! Not even my last bus trip in Taiwan. Guess what is the most exciting thing to hear after the bus journey that last for 26 hours? Yes, the magic word ALICE SPRING!! We finally make it there! Hmm, did you notice that there is not much greenery there? Of course, not! We are in the middle of nowhere, hmhm, desert. The only thing that wait for you there would be SAND and.. SAND and only.. SAND.., nah, maybe some ROCK? And guess what? Yes, water is VERY precious there, the price for 1L of fresh water can skyrocketed to AUD$5. And yea, I spent about AUD$10 on my water during the 26 hours bus journey, pain, it was such an expensive water to drink.. T_T Hoho, and here comes the question. Where on earth that I supposed to erect my tent? Tada, here it is, a better place than what I expected, at least there is some grass around. And, *cough cough*, I am definitely not the one who erected the tent, XD. There are humans around, I 'utilize' the people of opposite gender there during the trip, gentleman, of course, as I do not trust myself on setting up the tent. I believe that it would not be able to stand up straight, not even for an hour. So, better parasite on others' effort, XD. We have a whole day rest after the 26 hours bus journey, which I felt grateful of. T_T, finally I can lays down flat(ignoring the fact that I am in a tent, not in my room and cocoon inside a sleeping bag, not my warm, cozy bed). Overall, I like my first night there, warm although it was insanely windy there. I woke up a few times during the night, scared that my tent would collapsed due to the crazy strong wind, fortunately, it stayed strong!

Waking up 5:00am in the morning, T_T, is totally a different scenario, COLD!!! Yea, and I begin to regret, why I join this freaking tour??!! The first visit in Alice Spring was the Alice Spring Telegraph Station. It played a key role in Australia's development as it was midway along the Overland Telegraph Line from Darwin to Adelaide. Nothing much to say about it, in fact, it was quite bored back then. And here comes the interesting part, guess how the people living in the outback get medical care? What happen when there is in need of intensive medical care during emergency? Aha, people in the outback uses Royal Flying Doctor Service, where individuals in need of urgent medical care, surgery or labor that cannot be done or provide by local clinic are transported by aircraft to the nearest cities, such as Adelaide or Darwin to seek for better medical care in hospital. Sounds cool right? This is an example of the detailed schedule for pilots and nurses that on task. Of course, like most ambulance, the aircraft have been modified with built-in first aid equipments. Here, I salute for those working in the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, especially the pilots and the nurses. The day ends with a visit to Cultural Centre which provides some knowledge about Australia Aborigins and Territory Desert Park, which introduces relationships between the plants, animals and people of the desert. Oh, and there is one thing that I forgot to mention. I saw Milky Way for the first time in my life!!!! In the outback, there is no artificial light around, the night sky is totally different from the typical city night sky with 1 or 2 stars or probably even none at all. You can see stretches of Milky Way across the sky, which cannot be captured by my lousy camera, SADDD. We even tried to identified stars during the night and we were able to spot both South Cross and Centaurus, which are relatively easy, =)

And now the word ADVENTURE finally fit into the itinerary of the trip. We had a 2 hours walk at Ormiston Gorge that day. Hmhm, as shown in the map, it is quite a big place and our route is the red dotted circle at the bottom left corner of the photo, which only covers er.. 1/6 of it, PHEW! OK, now, it is time to depart to search for the water hole! As you can see from the photo, the route are well built and it was an easy walk. The Ormiston Gorge was probably the

GREEN-est place for us to hike during the whole trip. With patient + stamina + water, we finally found the water hole! Although not very clean, but this is where the food chains begin and where the life sustained. Haha, remember what I say about easy, aw.. here comes the hard part! We will need to walk on and across the rock in order to get out, T_T.. The one and only one way, ROCK scattered everywhere!

And our slightly adventurous Day 4 concluded with a visit to Simpsons Gap, and yea.. lovely river bed, gum scenery and of course SAND again.. X|

=s, Day 5 commenced with a bus trip again, sob... We packed our stuff, fold the tent and I fold my tent without any helps, so proud of myself, lol... And this time, instead of heading North, we head South to Watarrka National Park for the Kings Canyon. Well, I would regards it as the most beautiful place during the trip. We had a walk along the canyon floor before climbing it the next day. The next day started with climb, straight up the hill, you will need to conquer this heartbreak hill first before you can observe the scenery at the top of the canyon rim. The walk after the heartbreak hill is all relatively easy. Of course, remember sunscreen + water + hat when you progressed through as this was not normal climb/hike that you usually do. It is situated in the middle of desert! Ones get dehydrated quick.

There are water hole in Kings Canyon, with role to support life as well.

I don't want to sound conceited, but I took 3 hours to conquer Kings Canyon out of average of 4 hours(standard), ^^, proud of myself again~ From my opinion, the difficulty level of this climb is moderate. Till now, I am still amazed by the power of nature, it can shape the same place differently, from red sandstone walls to lush vegetation and then to natural rock pools.

~To be Continued~