When I first left for Australia in 2007, it was hard for me to grasp the enormity of the country. Sure, people told me it was large and I had seen it on a map but it really don't think it sunk in until we were there. It's like saying, oh yah, I'll cover the entire U.S. in a year. Not impossible, but at the same time you would be constantly moving, never stopping, never fully getting to know a city or an area.
We had one goal for the year we were there - to explore. Both Australia and everything else we could catch a flight to (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Fiji, New Zealand). See as much as we could while still holding jobs that paid the rent (and for our travels).
One place on our hit list was Ayres Rock (Uluru). The center of Australia intrigued me. I wanted to see the red dirt. huge rock formations, tumbleweeds and the feral camel (no dice). One of the few things my mom stressed to me before I moved to the other side of the world (aside from be careful) was how much my granddady enjoyed seeing Uluru.
So when it came time to book our trip to Alice Springs, even though the price of the plane tickets were shocking, I had to make it happen. We booked our tickets, hostel nights, sunset & sunrise viewing of Uluru and our guided hike to The Olgas (Kata Tjuta). All in, it probably cost us $4,000. More than we spent on 2 weeks backpacking in Vietnam - for only three days. But even now it was worth it.
One huge travel lesson learned - never underestimate the ever changing temperatures of the desert. Packing little more than a Gap stretchy hoody and a pair of jeans, I spent the entire trip using my pajama bottoms as a scarf and wearing every single other layer I had with me when it got dark.
Here are a few of my favorites from the trip. We spent hours watching the rock colors change from red to orange to purple as the sun set.