Another highlight of Australia that I didn’t want to miss was central Australia and the Northern Territory. The majority of Australia is desert so I felt strongly about visiting while I was in this part of the world even though it’s way off the beaten path. Unlike the US where people live throughout the entire country, 85% of the population of Australia lives along the coast with only 15% in the middle of the country. That’s saying something for a country that is about 79% the size of the US. The majority of the country is desert and unpopulated, known commonly as the Outback.
It was an expensive excursion. For one week it cost me $2000 and everything was very basic. Here is the price breakdown:
- Flight from Sydney to Alice Springs on Qantas Airlines $615 – pretty expensive for a short 3 hour domestic flight
- Hotel in Alice Springs for two nights $180 – private hostel room at the YHA with shared bathrooms
- Shuttle to and from the airport with Emu Run Experience $40
- 4-day Uluru to Kings Canyon Adventure with Intrepid Travel $1100 – Camping with very basic facilities. Breakfast and lunch were included but they were also basic. Cereal/toast for breakfast and sandwiches every day for lunch. If you don’t eat meat sandwiches aren’t a great option so that was rough. We had dinner at the one restaurant in town which wasn’t very good and didn’t have many vegetarian options.
I enjoyed this tour because I got to interact with the aboriginal population more (which I hadn’t up until this point) and I got to learn more about their sacred sites. I loved being off the grid so it was worth it in my opinion.
We visited a local aboriginal museum. This woman is making jewelry from seeds and beans.
After Kings Canyon we drove another 3.5 hours to Uluru. A sacred indigenous site for the Pitjantjatjara people. It is a UNSECO World Heritage site and has springs, watering holes, rock caves, and ancient paintings all around it. People settled in this area more than 10,000 years ago.
After Uluru we drove 40 minutes to the site of Kata Tjuta another sacred site to the aboriginal people of Australia. A lot of the sacred stories are not shared with outsiders, and we didn’t have a native guide for this site.