Central Australian School Trip - a great success!

9 August 2017 | General Interest

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We flew straight to the heart of Australia to touch down at Uluru airport and sighting the iconic rock in its magnificence out the window of the plane as we descended to land was awe inspiring and the contrast of the beginning and end of the day was noteworthy. The start of the day saw us in dismal, dark Victoria and at the end of the day we were watching the brilliant sun setting on Uluru; a truly remarkable image. Touring Uluru and Kata Juta occupied us the following day before we packed our tents to journey another 400kms to our next destination.

After our next 400km journey, we found ourselves at Watarrka (Kings Canyon), where all students walked the well-worn route up the very steep 100 metre track to the ridge of the canyon. Once reached, students were able to see the incredible view of the valley below. An excited but tired crew of 50 came back and we boarded the bus for the next 400kms to reach Alice Springs, pausing for a 5 minute camel ride which proved to be more than long enough for most people.

The sights of Alice Springs were on display for our two day stop, the Old Telegraph Station provided us with information on the early settlers, along with the life of the indigenous community. We visited the Flying Doctors Service and the School of the Air where we presented funds we had raised, a total of $500, which will assist the incredible team to provide a remarkable service to those in remote areas. 

Rex the Snake Man came to visit our campsite with his variety of snakes and lizards, he also gave a presentation on how to survive in the bush when encountering a snake. The chance to hold a thorny devil and a huge python was an opportunity most people did not pass up.

We travelled for 12 hours on our next leg of the journey, to reach Daly Waters, 10 of which we sat in the coach. We had our first experience of sleeping under the stars which highlighted the spectacular night sky of the outback.

Katherine awaited us after a short journey and several stops along the way. Devils Marbles, Mataranka thermal pool and Cutta Cutta caves were enjoyed by all and broke the journey for us, even though it was minimal miles compared to the day prior. The colours of Mataranka waters and the lush foliage surrounding it were welcome after the red sand and small dusty shrubs of the centre. We had reached the start of the Top End and it was noticeable. The ant hills were gradually growing and the landscape was changing, becoming more tropical the further north we travelled.

Another night under the stars followed by a two hour boat cruise up the Katherine Gorge and then a leisurely day, leaving after the cruise and making our way to Kakadu-the township of Jabiru to be precise. We set up the tents, swam in the pool, had tea cooked for us and went to bed. What a life. The next day saw us visiting the world heritage rock art sites which included an image of a thylacine, finishing the day with a 4.30pm sunset cruise on the Yellow Waters river system, where we encountered the incredible crocodiles of Kakadu. Our guide Ryan imparted his vast knowledge of the area to us and allowed us to see a great many beautiful things.

Our journey back to civilization in the city of Darwin had a late start and gave us the chance for a town tour of Jabiru, all of which took approximately 5 minutes as the town is very small and due to become smaller once the mine closes down next year. A visit to the Mindil market to watch the sun set for our last time in the Northern Territory on the iconic beach of Mindil, before wandering through the stalls in search of last minute souvenirs and tasty morsels of kangaroo and camel for dinner.

Our time was up for this year however and we packed our bags and board our plane for the 3000 plus kilometres home. A big thank you to all involved, it was a memorable expereince and one we will cherish.