Darwin to Adelaide
A grueling adventure, fraught with danger and peril. 20 days driving thousands and thousands of miles across wasteland of sand and shrubs. Most nights were spent camping, sleeping on a mattress rolled up in a canvas swag. Temperatures were as unforgiving in night as during the day. In order to avoid the harshest temperatures, waking up at 5 am became a daily habit. However, it was not the extreme desert heat that proved most daunting, rather it was surviving the night. Venomous creatures small and large all paid a visit in attempts to eat us.
Perhaps the worst night was spent in Tennant Creek, where about 10 3-4" scorpions scavenged our tent site in search of prey. If you can picture 15 people sitting with their legs up on picnic tables as the deadly arachnids scurried below for hours upon hours, you are about there. That night in the tent was not a happy one, mostly spent hoping we had remembered to close the flaps before any had ventured inside.
If scorpions were not bad enough, we also had run-ins with an 8 inch deadly centipede, venomous red back spiders in our eating quarters, and a 4 foot long flesh-eating perentie lizard who I caught shamelessly scavenging through our campsite. Being a backpacker suddenly was overshadowed with a mere desire for survival. However, it was all worth it for the ascent of the mighty Uluru. 5 hours from the nearest civilization, a giant red stone monolith stands alone in the heart of the desert. Waking up at 3:30am, we scaled the treacherous face of the mountain to witness a breathtaking sunrise from atop. It was our greatest adventure in Australia.
Although touristy, we rewarded ourselves with the traditional champagne toast at sunset watching the color changes in the outback sky.
The next few days were spent exploring other adventurous sites of the Australian outback. We hiked around Kings Canyon in the heat of the desert sun, then moved on to the Olgas, a rock formation sacred to the Aborigine people. The Devil's Marbles proved as trecherous as their namesake as Geoff accidentally kicked Kate in the head whilst taking this picture.
Christmas day was spent driving in a small bus for hours through the vast nothingness of the outback. However, we had a festive group and spirits were high. That night, in the six-person town of Parachilna, provided the scene for the most interesting Christmas of all time. The town ended up being little more than a run-down trailer park, but they served up quite the Christmas dinner of camel and emu meat. Mmm mmm good.
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