Last week, after five months living in Melbourne, we finally went on our first Australian adventure. For this first trip we decided to visit Central Australia.
We flew to Alice Springs, a small town in the middle of nowhere, and there we rented a campervan. Despite we had booked a two-persons campervan, the company "upgraded" us and gave us a 4-people campervan... what in the end turned out to be more a punishment than an upgrade: huge car, more difficult to drive and with a huge fuel consumption!!
Our first stop was King's Canyon at Watarrka National Park, 500km south from Alice springs. It was a long way driving, so we decided to take a shortcut through an unsealed road. Because the car insurance wouldn't cover us in that road we asked a couple who had their car stopped at the intersection how bad was it. The lady told us it was ok (at the same time that her husband was changing a flat tyre and fixing some other things on their caravan), but we decided to believe her, ignore the swearing of her husband and suffer the consequences.... what a hell of a road!!! The longest 100km ever!!
We arrived to King's Canyon campground to discover that they had a mice plague. Little mice run everywhere: in the restaurant, the toilets and, according to the noises we heard in during the night, they probably got into our campervan too!!
Next morning we did a 3hours walking loop on the Canyon and in the afternoon we drove further south to the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. The Uluru is a huge red island mountain (860m high, 10km circunference) in the middle of the desert. Its colour changes along the day, depending on the sun, from greyish to bright red. It's something difficult to capture with the camera, but it is really impressive and you don't get bored of staring at it. On our first day at the park we saw the sunsrise, we walked around the rock and, despite my guilt feelings for not respecting the aboriginal culture, we also climbed it.
Australian aborigines don't look at as the New Zealanders or the Hawaian aborigines we've seen in our previous trips. While the later descend from the polinesians, arrived to the island by the sea and lived on the coast, the Australian looked very simmilar to the people in Africa, with really dark skin and similar face features. It seems that the Australians are direct descendents from one of the emigration waves that leaft Africa more than 40.000 years ago and reached Australia when it was still conected to the other continents by a land bridge.
The most incredible thing is that these people have not evolved at all since then!!! By the time the Europeans arrived to Australia, few hundreds years ago, they were still living as nomads and hunter-gatherers. Now they fight to preserve their culture, but what do they want... to keep on eating warms and ants? We had long discussions with the other turists we met about the aboriginal people, their culture, and their big social problems (alcoholism, unemployment...), and we all agree that they have an uncertain future.
On our second day we visited the much less known Kata Tjuṯa, another rock formation 50km west from the Uluru. These were 36 huge rock domes that looked like giant heads from far. Surprisingly, everybody knows about the Uluru but no-one ever speaks about the Kata Tjuṯa, despite being as nice as the famous Uluru.
This has been a great trip. We have now added a tick to the list of places we have to visit in these three years. And now that Central Australia is done... which will be the next one??
Despues de varios meses viviendo en Australia hemos podido por fin hacer nuestro primer viaje. Esta vez ha tocado Australia Central, en particular el Kings's Canyon en el parque Natural de Watarrka y el famoso monte Uluru y las menos famosas Kata-Tjuta. Para ello alquilamos una caravana y condujimos cientos de kilimetros a traves del desierto australiano. El paisaje aburridisimo, eso si, y ni una emisora de radio (que te puedes esperar estando en medio de ninguna parte). Pero el camino mereció la pena. Entiendo que el Uluru sea una de las maravillas de mundo, pues tiene algo especial. Nadie lo esperaría, pues en el fondo es una roca en medio del desierto... pero algo hay que no te aburres nunca de mirarla. Y además, descubrimos las Kata-Tjuta, unas rocas que bien parecen cabezas gigantes. Estas no son tan famosas como e Uluru, aunque bien lo merecen.
Ademas hemos conocido algo mas de la cultura aborigen. Esta "gente" emigró desde áfrica hace unos 40.000 años, cuando Australia todavía estaba conectada con el resto del mundo, y no han cambiado mucho desde entonces: hasta hace bien poco seguian comiendo gusanos y hormigas, y recolectando frutos en el desierto.
Total, un gran viaje. Ya estamos planeando el siguiente!