Australia: Experiencing a Land Down Under


ozAustralia is an amazing, natural wonder. From exploring the world beneath the waves in the Great Barrier Reef to road tripping on the Great Ocean Road, there’s an adventure to be had whatever your interests.

I’ve travelled Australia a couple of times. White water rafted down the East Coast, surfed in Sydney, broken down in a beaten up camper van just outside Melbourne and paddled with dolphins in Perth. But the place that always stands out in my memory most vividly is the outback. The vast, overwhelming isolation of that immense part of the land fills me with fear and intrigue, and is home to one of the best travel experiences I have ever encountered.

I was absolutely blown away by the enormity of, well, to put it as dramatically as it felt at the time, the enormity of oblivion. I’m from a country where you cannot drive for a long period of time without seeing a building, let alone another human being, so the concept of all of this nothingness was alien to me from the start. After three days spent camping with a small group close to Uluru (Ayers Rock), I quickly embraced this foreign space and ended up with an unforgettable trip.

My short stay started out in the small, dingy city of Alice Springs. After a surprisingly long drive which included a stop off at a camel ranch in the middle of the outback which still kind of confuses me to this day, I arrived with my group at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. We eagerly digested all of the historical information about the sacred aboriginal landmark and watched the sunset over the iconic rock itself.

After a pretty exhausting day of travelling, walking and getting our initial taste of the great Australian Outback, we headed back to a makeshift campsite. We were given something called a Swag. A swag is like a heavy duty, hard-core sleeping bag and sleeping mat all rolled into one. It’s super warm and protective, and surprisingly comfortable. This is certainly not the most glamorous place I’ve ever slept, but who needs glamour? Roughing it to get as authentic an experience as you can without endangering yourself is an incredible feat, and something I will never forget.

The next couple of days were jam packed with activities. Hiking, trekking, walking, travelling far and wide in our little truck. An active day spent in the heat is, needless to say, exhausting, and after BBQ’s and beers in the evenings, it was getting easier and easier to slump into unconsciousness around the campfire each night and forget about the threat of spiders, insects, dingo’s and other various species of unwelcome outback visitors.

Although exhilarating, sleeping under the stars and really living a piece of Australia that has been relatively untouched by civilisation definitely wasn’t easy. From the sheer amount of travel involved to the physically draining aspects, it was hard at times. But the seeing the sun slowly creep over the infamous rusty orange of Uluru, and then sweep back down hours later, nestling into a big bunch of hardened material and being completely exposed yet totally safe and learning about an indigenous culture almost forgotten to the rest of world outweighed the effort. Like most things in life, nothing that is worth doing is ever going to be easy, and the tough journey up there just makes it more worthwhile. I couldn’t be more grateful that I did it.

About the Author: Gemma Fottles, an English travel addict. My passion in life is to follow my passion in life; exploring the world and penning the experience one country at a time. Learn more on my blog.

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