Although Australia didn't pan out how we expected (i.e. we couldn't find jobs), we didn't want the journey there to be wasted.
The closest thing to our temporary home in Darwin was the centre of Australia.
And when I say close, I mean we took a 22 hour bus to Alice Springs where our tour with The Rock Tour began. From Alice Springs to Uluru was only another five hours away after that.
Yes, everything in Australia really is that spread out. And that is coming from a Canadian, we basically coined the term.
It is called the Rock Tour, and you won't be surprised that this post is mostly about giant rocks in the centre of Australia. Don't worry, I'll let the pictures do most of the talking about the actual rocks.
On the flat desert of Australia, Uluru stands out like a giant rock on a really, really flat surface. Because that's what it is.
As it is a sacred Aboriginal site and can be hazardous in certain conditions, climbing Uluru is no longer allowed. Instead, visitors can do a base walk around the site and see rock paintings on its surface.
We all know we haven't had the best experience with vehicles, like when our safari vehicle broke down, or when we popped two tires in the Namibian desert, so it should come as no shock that when we made it back to our tour van, it wouldn't start.
Although pushing the van and a battery boost wouldn't start it, we were saved by a tour driver who actually turned over the ignition while we pushed. That is apparently a key component of bump starting a vehicle. Who knew.
That night we had dinner and drinks with a sunset glowing on Uluru as our backdrop. I'm a sucker for aesthetics, so it beat the hell out of a dinner and drink almost anywhere else.
Lucas and I had opted in for the Field of Lights, which meant while everyone else went back to camp, we went to a light installation of thousands of glowing orbs all connected by fiberoptics. It was a beautiful experience, where I pretended to know how to take any form of night time photos (I don't).
Afterward, we hitched a ride on public transit back to our campsite. The bus was filled to the brim with drunk resort people heading out to the live music and camel races at a camel farm, which I never knew I wanted to go to until that moment.
Unfortunately, we had an extremely early morning ahead of us, so instead we slipped into our swags (sleeping backs tucked in a rougher exterior so you can sleep under the stars) and slept.
In the morning we had the best wake up call: the Harry Potter theme playing gradually louder over a speaker until we all woke up.
We went back to watch the sunrise at Uluru with breakfast, coffee, and me insisting on way too many photos, before hopping into the van and traveling to Kata Tjuta.
After so much busing, we finally had a chance to climb and hike. It was a short climb, but steep, and the entire time we had sweeping views behind us and views of the rock formed approximately 500 million years ago around us.
We took the opportunity to get to know our tour mates, and, like children, were supplied with snacks at the top. With beautiful views, friendly people, and snacks, we couldn't have been happier.
Our time driving was not over, but hey, that was what we had signed up for. And this time, spending some time in the vehicle today, meant we would be on top of King's Canyon as the sun rose.
Because we were no longer near much of anything, sleeping in swags genuinely meant we got to sleep under the stars. And, although our guide scared us by grabbing a rubber snake from the bushes, he also insisted the worst thing they had seen on tour was a big moth. But, also to keep our shoes near us because dingos might take them. We don't know if it was a joke...
Making it up before sunrise meant another early morning wake up call, but this time it was to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Our guide was a veteran in knowing how to make people okay with waking up at unreasonable times.
The pictures will do more justice to the views than I will, but we loved hiking around the canyon. Since we did the King's Canyon Rim Walk, we had amazing views of the canyon at every turn. And, when we descended into the Garden of Eden, we were greeted with a pool of water perfectly reflecting the rock towering above us.
At the end of our hike, we had reached the end of our official tour and had only the long bus ride back to Alice Springs to look forward to, but not before we stopped at a camel farm with two Joey's and, you guessed it, lots of camels.
And now? An even longer journey back to Canada to start a new chapter. Thank you for following along!