Northern Territory Favorite Tips by richiecdisc
Northern Territory Favorites: 10 reviews and 14 photos
Favorite thing: I think that a trip to the Northern Territory must involve some up close investigation of the Outback and no better way then a camping trip and some swimming in local billabongs. Sure, you get great perspective on a flight over Ayers Rock and other prominent features, but can that top the feeling of standing on top of Ayers Rock at dawn, the sun just jutting over the horizon on it’s way to scorch the already ravaged landscape for another day. I think not. And there is always something to be said for sleeping out under the stars; little in the way of creature comforts can compensate for being restricted to a room with four walls, and a ceiling. Kakadu, Ayers Rock, Katherine Gorge are all great areas to explore, but if time is short, I’d say the area closest to Alice Springs is the easiest to reach and fully see in the shortest amount of time.
Fondest memory: It was still dark, and cold. I was snug in my swag (great Aussie version of a sleeping bag come bivy sack), not wanting to leave, comfy aside from the cotton in my mouth from the previous night’s raucous display of drinking, dancing and singing that was seemingly out of harmony in this land of great meaning to the Aboriginals. But at the time, it was more a pagan ritual to psych up the tribe for what we envisioned the biggest climb of our time together. And of course, it was fueled by beer, outlandish talk and the clear starry night. Someone had brought a portable tape player and was playing the song, Unbelievable by EMF, and this just caught my fancy to the point that I played it repeatedly, mimicking the singer and it’s repetitious riff. Kristin and half our group had gone to bed hours ago but some of us just couldn’t give up on the night much to the other half’s dismay. It wasn’t that it was that late, maybe a little after midnight, but that was late enough with a 4:00 am wake up call to climb the Rock. We’d gotten to Ayer’s Rock (Uluru to the Aboriginals) the day before just in time to enjoy the sunset, and this was the next planned part of the trip, to climb the monolith before dawn and watch the sun come up from the top. Colin, our great Sahara tour guide explained we’d have to get up at four to get over there in time. The other bonus aside from the drama was we’d beat the intense heat and the crowds of people that do the climb when light. Sounded great at the time, but now, it seemed crazy, my head throbbing, and downing whatever liquids I could get my hands on. Unbelievable indeed! I could now still hear the song echoing in my head (the things, BA BA, you say, BA BA, you’re unbelievable) a much-deserved punishment for keeping the others awake with my loud and boisterous laugh and rebel rousing. After a quick breakfast for some energy, we were off to the Rock in total darkness. But the sky was so clear that the moon provided enough light to see it looming in the distance. After a brief pep talk from Colin, we were off. We lost one group member in the parking lot, who sprained her ankle, tripping in the dark. There was some talk of the group not going but we’d have none of that, we’d anticipated it for too long. Off we went and another member fell into a small crevice, badly scuffing both her knees, but unwilling to abort her ascent. And so we trudged on. It was a steep incline with a very slippery surface so the authorities have put in a make-shift railing of a steel bars and chains to hold onto, more for the way down or resting. So, with this incline, many were getting out of breath and soon I found myself separated from my group and up with a couple of guys that had started before us. Then there were just two of us. And as human nature generally does, it got the better of us and it became a race of sorts; each afraid to stop for a breath in fear of losing ground to the other. Maybe this ruined the walk for many, and I did leave Kristin behind, but I just couldn’t stop, and soon it was just the two of us, racing blindly to what we knew not. Finally, out of breath, we reached the top, me a tad behind, only to find a girl in a sleeping bag, her tripod and camera already set up for the ensuing sunrise. We couldn’t believe it and finally our eyes met and we couldn’t help but laugh at our foolishness. But there we were, two people that didn’t even know each other sharing this incredible sunrise together, our comrades somewhere on the way up. Clicked a quick photo and went back to the edge to wait for Kristin and the rest of our group. She was initially pissed, but soon was overcome with the usual sense of combined relief and accomplishment that accompanies even a small climb like this (it had only taken me 45 minutes!). Laughing and smiling, we basked in the initial rays of sun falling on Uluru, and on us.
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