Its been another week of lots of time behind the wheel of the #BadBettyBus as we make our way through the southern part of the Northern Territory – starting from Alice Springs, we travelled out to the West MacDonnell Ranges for a couple of days then back into Alice to get cleaned up and then the 400km trip to Yalara – the base town for Ayres Rock and The Olgas.
Along with all the cool places I went bush walking in the ranges, I (#BadBetty Mk II) am still buzzing from getting to the top of Ayres Rock (thank you dad, mum was a total bust on that score!) and then riding around the base on our bikes – once again I travelled in style poking my head out of the backpack and I have seriously lost count of the amount of kids and adults that do a double take every time I am out and about with their first thought being to question if I am a real dog or not…. Of course I am!!!!
Both Ayres Rock and The Olgas were likely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us and all we can say is that if you ever get the chance, you need to see them both for yourself to appreciate it.
We have also added short video's for you to check out as well.
Its 250km each way from the Stuart Highway out to Yulara so once we headed off from there, we made our way towards Coober Pedy – arriving yesterday (19 August) – more to come on Coober Pedy itself in the next edition but we saw the Dingo Fence – the longest man-made structure in the world! I got trapped on the wrong side of the Dingo Fence but my mum saved me! We might go a bit further out of town on our way out of Coober Pedy and get some more pics from another vantage point too.
Its pretty windy out this way - check out the remains of a caravan that we saw on the side of the road - we saw two between Ayres Rock and Coober Pedy - I wonder what the insurance company said?
west MacDonnell ranges
Alice Springs is surrounded by the MacDonnell ranges – both East and West. http://macdonnellranges.com
This time around we spent a couple of days hiking in the West MacDonnell ranges but there is still more to explore out there and we are still to do the East MacDonnell ranges too.
Alice was a great town and we will be back to do the show circuit here sometime soon and then find someone to look after the 4-legged Kortmar show team for the week while mum and dad head out and do some more exploring and hiking - both East and West. Even within the ranges, the landscape was constantly changing and for those that are a bit more adventurous, google the Larapinta trail – that is one for the fit – dad would do it but mum, yeah, not so likely!
What is also incredible is the unexpected places that you find water out here – no doubt in the wet season there is a lot of area that is flooded as the water comes down from the Top End but even this much into the dry season, there are secret pockets of water – like an oasis in the middle of rock.
Ayres Rock – check out the photos and videos – I made it to the Top Of The World! Dad was a champion – it was a 3km round trip so pretty much 1.5km UP and then the same back down and his thighs are STILL hurting! He even went out of his way to make sure he did photo’s and video with me and him to prove our achievement. #BadBetty RULZ!
We then rode around the base of Ayres Rock – although we tried, its hard to know if the pictures of the sheer sides do it justice and convey just how BIG this rock is! There was another little oasis hidden at the base on the other side to the climb but since a local Elder was giving a talk about the spot as we went past, we didn’t want to intrude by getting any pictures. There are chunks out of the rock and in some places, it looks like it is being eaten away – no doubt the constant weather erodes it over time. Even in the short time we were there, the rock changes colour depending upon the sun and the cloud cover – it was stunning to watch the sunset and the changing colours too.
We headed out to the Olgas on our second day in Yulara – seriously – they are equally impressive! With The Olgas, there are several bush walks (we did them all) that allow you to not only get up close and personal with the rocks but also get in the middle of them – its almost impossible to convey the wind coming through the gully in the Valley of the Winds walk (but hopefully Simon’s video gives you an idea) and again, the sheer faces of the rock are simply overwhelming. We didn’t think that The Olgas were quite the same colour as Ayres Rock (maybe a bit darker) but then again, it might all come down to shadow and light – they are such massive objects that the elements plays a huge part in how we see them.
The Dingo Fence (also The Wild Dog Fence or the Rabbit Proof Fence) stretches 5,600 KM from Jimbour on the Darling Downs near Dalby through thousands of KM of arid land ending west of Eyre peninsula on cliffs of the Nullarbor Plain above the Great Australian Bight near Nundroo. It has been partly successful, though dingoes can still be found in parts of the southern states – possibly due to holes in the fence found in the 1990s – although I personally wonder if, after living with Shiba’s, that they couldn’t either jump the fence or simply climb it? I know a lot of ours could get over it!
This is the portion of the fence that we saw just North of Coober Pedy but also in Tambo in Queensland – but there it is called the Wild Dog Fence (which just confused us all into thinking it was a different fence!)
I have lost all track of time, all I know is that we are still in August. Don't ask me what day of the week it is, or the date, you might find my vacant look disturbing.
The usual markers that drive our daily routines at home are gone. There is no morning alarm screaming for us to get out of our comfortable beds and leave our sanctuary to face the nasty world. No morning coffee break to escape the office politics and difficult personalities of work colleagues we don't like or care for, no happy Friday to mark the end of the working week and a temporary reprieve before it all starts again.
I can see with clarity why so many grey nomads are attracted to a life on the road even if it's only for a few months each year. It's liberating. Time becomes your friend and no longer your enemy, no more importance for numbers 9 and 5, it is of no importance or consequence when you start or finish your day.
Yesterday we spent the whole day free camping just outside Alice doing absolutely nothing, it was glorious not doing anything, not having to be anywhere or do something, just hanging around. We left camp at first light to get an early start, not because we had to but because we wanted to, masters of our own destiny we plot our own course exploring uncharted territory (for us anyway).
There is stuff boiling away in the background, family drama, but that's life and there always seems to be one thing or another vying for attention. Life is constantly changing and that can be difficult to accept when you are younger, I subscribe to the wisdom of Forrest Gump when he uttered the words "shit happens". That phrase, my friends, is life in a nutshell!
Embrace the good and the bad because you can't have one without the other and remember that life is short for all of us.