“We were living near Waikerie (citrus capital of Australia), South Australia picking oranges as part of our regional work to get our second year visa. We were randomly faced with one week with no work, so rather than sitting around where there’s nothing to do, in the middle of nowhere, we thought lets do a road trip! We stocked up on supplies a.k.a anzac biscuits and hit the road first thing in the morning. Mrs Sam, our very eccentric and crazy hard working Cambodian contractor really didn’t want us to go on the trip, trying to horrify us with stories about how dangerous the drive is. We knew what she was trying to do… she didn’t want us to leave the farm as she thought we wouldn’t come back and work for her. But there was no way we were staying there for that week. We took some of her advice though and avoided driving at dusk, dawn and night… didn’t wanna hit any kangaroos or I would cry!
Stop 2 & 3Port Augusta & Flinders Ranges
So we began our 1503km journey. We were excited to get to Port Augusta which was going to be our food stop, but when we got there the town was experiencing a power cut so everything was closed! Thank god we were prepared and had loads of snacks in the car! Although we were all secretly crying inside about not getting our maccas. Coming out of Port Augusta we got onto the Stuart Highway and this is when the real sense of freedom kicked in. Goodbye traffic lights and bends. We drove past Flinders Ranges and the vast horizon and beautiful blue skies really made the journey. It wasn’t all about the final destination, the journey in itself was a real adventure…and that’s why we go on road trips right? There are tons of lookout points along the way, and we’d be behind schedule if we stopped off at each one but one that stood out was this beautiful salt lake. Unfortunately we didn’t remember the name of this place, but that’s one of the unique things about doing a road trip, each journey is unique to everyone and it’s best just to go with the flow.
Stop 4Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy was our halfway point and where we stopped for the night. It’s the opal capital of the Australia and is a really extraordinary place. It was also where a waitress laughed in my face when I asked for some aioli…thought that was pretty standard around Australia.. obviously not. We were there in winter so it wasn’t particularly hot, but in the summer months, half the population lives underground to escape the summer heat. Most of the people at our campsite were there opal mining and we were pretty impressed with the gems they’d been finding so we had our go at ”noodling” the next morning. Noodling is basically sifting through the dumps left by miners hoping to find some left over treasures. We planned to just do this for an hour before hitting the road, but we got so into it that we were nearly there for 2 hours! A couple of us found opals, nothing worth too much but definitely a nice little memento.
Hitting the road again, windows rolled down music blasting we felt like we were really on the final stretch towards our final destination. Prices of fuel are super crazy there, so we made sure we filled up as we approached. We also probably had about three ice-creams each that day…the climate was totally different already. Then we finally started approaching Uluru and I’m not going to lie that the hairs on my arms stood up. We were in total awe of this giant, magnificent rock. And even though we’ve all seen countless images of it on postcards, the internet and what not… nothing compares to coming face to face with it and really being able to take it in. We pulled up the car at the look out point and we arrived at the perfect time, sunset. A symphony of colours danced across it as we watched it change from one shade of red to another. I could totally understand why Uluru is considered so sacred in Aboriginal culture.
Stop 6Ayers Rock Campground
We stayed at the Ayers Rock Campground which was pretty nice, as well as loads of cute bunny rabbits hopping around the place at night. The stars were pretty good…but we had gotten used to the amazing stars where we were doing our farm work. Still, they’re pretty amazing and I’m sure the best that some people have ever seen. We got up reasonably early the next day, this was the day we walked around the rock. Being up close and personal with Uluru was amazing and the 10km walk around it took a good 3.5 – 4 hours. You get to really see all the intricate details that make up the rock and you realise it isn’t just this big solid thing, it’s got lots of caves and ridges right around it. We saw quite a few people climbing up the rock, but being respectful of Aboriginal culture we didn’t partake.
Stop 7Uluru for Sunrise
The following morning we got up early to watch the sunrise over Uluru, from a different point to where we watched the sunset. This was the perfect way to say our farewell before hitting the road back towards Adelaide. And we all concluded that this is a trip that we’d do again if we get the chance!”