When-Where-Why?

A stay in Australia would not be complete without crossing the red center! We chose to reassemble it from Adelaide. We stopped at Coober Pedy for its Opal mines and then visited Uluru and the surrounding canyon. There are many more things than we think in the desert and it is magnificent! I advise you to stay there for several days and not just go to Uluru.

We left in December 2019. Bad choice of season because the temperatures were almost 50 degrees. So we had to get up at 4am to start the hikes before 7am.

Before coming

*Money

Here we use the Australian dollar (AUD). 1AUD = 0.62 euros in November 2019.

* Internet & Telephone

There is wifi in a lot of cafes and restaurants but also free wifi in the city.

You can buy phone cards with a lot of internet.

At Vodaphone, for 30AUD you have unlimited calls and messages and 30GB of internet for 30 days.

You will not pick up anywhere in the center. In some campsites you will have free wifi but in others you will have to pay.

* Applications to download

I recommend that you download these applications:

– Great walks: The application of hikes in Tasmania. She will give you the list of the biggest hikes in every corner of Tasmania.

– MapsMe: The best application for up-to-date offline maps.

-Wikicamps: This application lists all camping sites (free / paid), water points, and certain places of interest. It works offline.

– Camper Mate: This application gives you access to campsites but it does not work offline.

-FuelMapsAustralia: This application lists all the petrol stations.

Transport

We rented a camper van on Motorhome Republic. You must be transported to come.

When it comes to gasoline, be careful. There will be petrol stations on the way but they will be much more expensive and you will have to arrive before they close (usually 5pm). I advise you to take a jerry can just in case!

There are tarmac roads and other unpaved roads. Some are accessible to all vehicles, not just 4×4.

Housing

Type of campsite: It is in the resort town of Uluru. There is a lot of space. The toilets are very clean. There is enough to do your laundry. You can cook on the bbq (no plates though). A free bus takes you to the sites, the convenience store and to the airport.

Price: 20AUD per person in the vehicle.

Water: Yes.

Shower: Yes.

WC: Yes.

Kitchen: Yes.

Good to know: There is a swimming pool, petrol and a mini-market.

Type of campsite: A few kilometers from the canyon, this large campsite will do the trick. It is clean, there is a small kitchen with an oven and hob. There are a few bbqs. Everything is clean.

Price: 20AUD per person in the vehicle.

Water: Yes.

Shower: Yes.

WC: Yes.

Kitchen: Yes.

Good to know: There is a swimming pool.

Type of campsite: Just before the city there are several campsites. This one is very good, there is a large kitchen with bbqs, plates, microwaves. No utensils, however. The spaces are large. The toilets are clean. There is a swimming pool, a gym, and enough to do your laundry.

Price: 36.5AUD for two.

Water: Yes.

Shower: Yes.

WC: Yes.

Kitchen: Yes.

Good to know: There is a swimming pool.

Food

There are small restaurants at petrol stations sometimes.

You can cook in the campsites.

Activities

Before arriving in the center

What: Coober Pedy is the place of choice for opals. It’s the most famous place in the world for its mines. The inhabitants live underground; there are mines everywhere! We visited the UMOONA mine. It is very good because there is a large museum, a lot of information and the visit is very interesting.

Where: On the road to Uluru from the south.

Price: AUD 25 per person. It works by guided tours; see the timetables on the site:

https://www.umoonaopalmine.com.au/

What: A magical place. It is a private reserve where you can see beautiful rock formations.

Where: On the road to Uluru from the south, 30 minutes from Coober Pedy.

Price: Fees to be paid in town. If it’s closed and you can’t pay … it’s free!

Uluru – Ayer’s Rock & Monts Olga

You will have to pay the entrance to the park, 25AUD per person; it is valid for 3 days. You can buy it at the entrance or online. It includes both sites. On the map that we will provide you with, there will be different parking lots to view the sunsets and sunrises.

What: you can walk around the rock. You will see interesting geological formations, some explanations on the life of the Aborigines, cave paintings and caves.

Where: there are several starting points, look at the map. If you do not want to do everything, know that the prettiest side is that which cannot be photographed.

Duration: 2-4h.

Difficulty: Easy. It is flat. You can do it by bike.

Tip: Start when the site opens or immediately after sunrise to avoid hot weather if you do it in the summer because there is no shade.

*Centre culturel 

Quoi : Un lieu avec quelques explications sur la région et la vie des aborigènes. En toute honnêteté ce n’est pas super bien fait il manque énormément de choses surtout sur la vie des aborigènes aujourd’hui car il faut bien souligner qu’ils sont rejetés et exclus! Il y a une boutique et un ranger mais aucune des personnes qui travaille n’est aborigène…ça en dit long non?…

Monts Olga – Valley of the winds

What: Very nice hike in the valley. You will see the domes with their beautiful coumeirs and beautiful geology. There are beautiful views throughout the ride.

Where: In the park, follow the signs to Kata Tjuta. 1 hour drive from Yulara.

Duration: we took less than two hours but it is indicated 4 hours.

Difficulty: Easy or medium because of stones. We didn’t understand why they put it in grade 3.

Tip: Start when the site opens or immediately after sunrise to avoid hot weather if you do it in the summer because there is no shade.

Mont Olga – Walpa Gorge

What: A little walk that will take you into the canyon. To do if you don’t have time to do the big loop,

Otherwise not essential.

Where: Take the road to Uluru.

Duration: 30min-1h.

Difficulty: Easy.

Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon – Canyon Rim Walk

What: Very nice hike up the canyon. We see superb geological formations and at the time of sunrise the canyon takes on pink and red hues it’s too beautiful!

Where: From the resort, take the road to Alice Springs for 10 minutes.

Difficulty: Medium because of the steps at the start and the stones otherwise it is not really difficult.

Duration: We took less than two hours taking our time and starting before sunrise.

Advice: if you do it in the middle of summer like us, start it before sunrise so that you will avoid the heat and in addition you will have a superb brightness. Start with the ascent of the steps which leads you to the top of the canyon, it is in this sense that the walk will be the most beautiful afterwards.

Good to know: you will think that you can swim in the Garden of Eden because you will see a lot of people doing it (If there is water). However, do not do this because, as indicated on the information boards that almost nobody reads, the water sources must remain pure for the water to be potable and for animals to still drink it. By bathing in it you destroy the ecosystem.

Alice Springs & Mac Donnells

Once in Alice Springs there is a lot to see. The east side and the west side of the MacDonnells Mountains are wonderful places to explore. These are some things you can do.

East Mac Donnells

We could not do everything because we did not have a 4×4. If you have one try to go to N’Dhala park as they have petrographs and this is rare in Australia.

*Trephina Gorge Walk & Panorama Walk

What: Two very beautiful hikes in the gorges. You will see great views across the valley and beautiful boulders and rock formations.

Where: One hour from Alice Springs, take Route 8.

Duration: By combining the two and taking your time, less than 1h30min.

Difficulty: Easy but there are a few small climbs.

Advice: Try to leave before sun to avoid my heat if you do it in summer because there is no shade.

Good to know: you can camp right at the start of the hikes in the Panorama campground. There is potable water, toilets and bbqs; it’s free.

What: Formation of dolomites which is of sacred importance to the Aborigines.

Where: 30 mins from Alice Springs following signs for the East MacDonnells.

Duration: 15 min.

Difficulty: Easy.

What: Magnificent rock formations where you can admire cave paintings. These two places are of great sacred importance to the locals.

Where: First points of interest on the East MacDonnells route, 10km from Alice Springs.

Duration: 10min each.

West Mac Donnells

As we did not have a 4×4 we could not explore the Serpentine Gorge but we read that it was very beautiful and that there were hikes.

What: A gorge with an ever-present water point. Nice training to go swimming.

Where: 1 hour 45 minutes from Alice Springs following signs in the West MacDonnells.

Duration: 10min one way.

Difficulty: Easy.

Good to know: There is a hike to see “Organ Pipes” but you have to swim before you can start the hike.

What: A breathtaking hike! At the beginning we wonder why we do it but after half an hour we are amazed by the beauty of the landscapes. There is a breathtaking view of the canyon and the gorge. We see grandiose rock formations and rocks of all colors.

Where: 1.5 hours from Alice Springs following signs in the West MacDonnells.

Duration: 2-4h.

Difficulty: Medium because of the rocks.

Advice: Leave really early in the morning to have beautiful colors but also to avoid the heat. Once in the canyon in the middle of summer it’s stuffy.

What: A precious place where you can see great colors on the rock. These rocks were used by Aborigines to cure certain ailments by mixing pigments with animal fat or water. They also used it to paint their bodies.

Duration: 15 min.

Difficulty: Easy.

What: A gorge with a water point for swimming.

Duration: 5 min.

Difficulty: Easy.

What: Another type of geological formation located in a private reserve. Go there when the sun gives bright colors to the rock.

Difficulty: Easy.

Price: 12AUD per person.

What: A gorge with beautiful rocks.

Difficulty: Easy.

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