When Greyhound Australia invited me and a friend to try out their Whimit Pass to use on any of their routes available in Australia, it didn't take us long to decide on the Northern Territory's stunning Red Centre region!
If you haven't heard of Greyhound Australia, I can guarantee you have seen their iconic red buses once or twice along Australian roads! Greyhound's Whimit Passes are the ultimate travel pass granting you access on Australia's coach network which offers heaps of routes in any direction for as many days as your pass allows. With multiple daily departures, travel has never been so flexible and hassle free as you can hop on and off as you please! In this blog, i'll be highlighting the heart of Australia!
Field Of Lights
If you love fairy lights like myself, wait until you see this incredible art installation by artist Bruce Munro! When the sun sets the earth glows with 50,000 spindles of light, changing colour and looking like it's swaying effortlessly within the dark landscape. Covering more than seven football fields in size, this overwhelming display is sure to take your breath away! What was only suppose to be a temporary exhibit, due to popular demand, this installation now calls this place home indefinitely.
Wayoutback Australian Safaris - 4 Day Perentie Tour
We wanted to experience the best of the Red Centre with the best in the business and after reading so many positive reviews of this company, we booked their 4 day option and we are so glad we did! Our guide, David, was passionate and enthusiastic with a wealth of knowledge of the land and the Indigenous people. Meals were provided, and were delicious, and choice of sleeping arrangements included a permanent tent with a bed, pillow and linen or sleep under the stars in a swag and mode of transport was a 4WD style air conditioned bus. There was no time wasted in these 4 days, from sunrise to sunset this tour was jam packed with experiences including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon that I will always remember and cherish!
People can't quite find the words to describe Uluru and when you see it for yourself you'll understand why. Photos and videos are one thing, but to see this incredible example of nature right before your eyes you truly are lost for words. Uluru's sheer size is just unbelievable and the way Uluru glows at sunrise is really something else, especially with the rich, red earth surrounding it! No matter where you see Uluru from, whether it be from a distant lookout, from it's base or up in the sky, you can't help but smile!
To make the most of the Red Centre, be sure to pack your best hiking boots because you are going to need them, especially if you decide to hike Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. The trail at Kata Tjuta is known as Valley of the Winds and is a roughly 5.4km round trip of loose rocks and steep hills taking about 2.5 hours to complete, but trust me, the views and landscape are well worth it, it's like you're in a whole other world!
There are a few trails to choose from here, but the most iconic hike is known as Kings Canyon Rim Walk which takes you on a 6km circuit taking around 3 - 4 hours depending on your pace. The start of this hike is the hardest and is known to some as "heart attack hill" due to it's incredibly steep ascend of about 500 rocky steps, it's a real workout but wow, the views are so worth it and along the way you will pass through Priscilla's Crack made famous by the Australian movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert! The landscape here is mind blowing and once you start nearing the top of the canyon, it's reasonably flat most of the way back. About halfway you have a choice to continue exploring the top or take the stairs to the ever so picturesque Garden of Eden, an incredibly beautiful and peaceful lush water hole. This place is very sacred and swimming is prohibited and it is appreciated to remain calm and quiet when entering this space.
During your tour with Wayoutback Australian Safaris you will get the opportunity to learn the Indigenous ways in how they identify and gather bush tucker, how they build and use certain weapons and tools and more about their culture and way of life. It's a very interesting experience!
During our time in Alice Springs, we had a hire car to get around some spots in the area to take photos, do a bit of shopping, go out for dinner and sightsee!
Squeakywindmill Boutique Tent B&B
There's a few accommodation options to choose in Alice Springs, most of them your big hotel chains but please, do yourself a HUGE favour and experience glamping at Squeakywindmill Boutique Tent B&B! Situated on the edge of Western MacDonnell Ranges and only a 15km drive from Alice Spring's CBD, this was the perfect stay to relax and unwind after a couple of days of intense hiking!
Michelle is the lovely owner and host of Squeakywindmill, she lives in her home on the property and has three of these gorgeous eco structure tents, generously spaced apart so it still feels private but not completely isolated.
Each tent is self contained with a bbq, kitchenette, tv, air con, bathroom, outdoor seating on your deck and bedding with bed option as either a double or two singles. There is parking on site and if you feel like kicking your feet up for the afternoon and give food shopping a miss, you can let Michelle know in advance to organise you a bbq hamper, complete with dessert, so you can cook up a delicious meal, Squeakywindmill is unable to cater for young children.
The birdlife from dawn to dusk is amazing and the golden glow that hits the ranges at sunset is so breathtaking! Squeakywindmill operates between late March and mid October each year and I highly recommend you book well in advance to avoid disappointment!
A short drive from Squeakywindmill is Simpsons Gap, which features towering cliffs, a permanent waterhole and opportunities to spot wildlife. Simpsons Gap is located on the Larapinta Trail however, from the carpark it's only a short 10 minute walk to get to the gap for some amazing photo opportunities!
Pyndan Camel Tracks
Another activity only a short 3 minute drive from Squeakywindmill is camel riding at Pyndan Camel Tracks. There are a few tours to choose from, one starting at 12pm, another at 2:30pm and one at sunset. Each tour goes for one hour and we decided to go with the sunset tour which also includes nibbles and refreshments at the end of the tour. My friend and I were paired up with a camel called Cookie and he was very pleasant, I unfortunately can't say the same for the camel behind me, named Good Boy, he was full of gas and burped right in my face! The camel ride was so peaceful and watching the landscape shift between shades of browns, reds and oranges as the sun set was quite a sight to see!