Tuesday, September 23, 2014

His: Living in America: Field Trips/Excursions Part 1

A map of our route around Australia.
When I was in school in Australia we went on some great excursions (field trips). When I tell my friends in America that many of them were overnight trips they are shocked that that happens as overnight trips are not common in America. 

One of my favourite excursions was the Central Australia trip. This trip was a 2 week journey through the outback and down the east coast of Australia and was almost a rite of passage for many of us. At our school it was taken in 10th grade and most of the students took part. It cost $450 to go but that included all travel, food and entry fees. The only expense we had after that was spending money. 

Day 1-2: 
    Our bus left at 6pm and drove throughout the night to Broken Hill. After breakfast we went to nearby village called Silverton and saw an old silver mine and a few other attractions. We then hopped back on the bus and drove for several more hours to Port Augusta in South Australia. After a day and a half of traveling on a motor-coach it was nice to be able to pitch a tent at the local campground, crawl into your sleeping bag and get a few hours of sleep.

The ruins of the old silver mine at Silverton

Crossing over the border into South Australia.

Day 3: It was another day of spending many hours on the bus, as we headed north into the desert to Coober Pedy. This small town is well known within Australia as one of the main opal mining centers in Australia. Much of the town is underground as it much cooler during the day and is naturally heated to about 21C/72F no matter how hot or cold it is outside. After visiting some of the local attractions and learning about the opal mining industry we headed to our accommodations which in true Coober Pedy style was underground.

Our accommodations for the evening in a underground hotel.

The Desert Cave Hotel which is also underground but is a 5 Star Hotel.

Day 4: Even though we were in the middle of the outback we were a long way from our next stop, Uluru. Also known as Ayers Rock, it is one of Australia's most recognizable natural landmarks. Along the way we stopped at a salt lake and to view Mt Conner at a distance. After several hundred kilometres on the bus we pulled into the campground at Uluru for our first 2 night stop.
The edge of the salt lake. We were able to go out onto the lake but couldn't venture too far as you would start to sink.

Mt Conner. To the untrained eye it looks like Uluru but is a totally different mountain.

Day 5: Uluru was the destination for the day. We hopped back on the bus but it was only for a 30 minute trip to the rock. Uluru is one of the world's largest monoliths and towers over 1100ft over the desert floor. We had the option of climbing the rock or walking around it. I climbed the rock first and when I got back to the ground I had enough time to walk around some of the rock. I preferred the walk around the rock as there were several sign posts telling stories from the aboriginal people. We also got to visit the Olgas which was nearby before returning to the campground

Uluru at sunrise. I went up to the lookout an hour too early to get this photo and got really cold as the desert is really cold at night.

The start to the climb to the summit of Uluru. From the base to the summit is an elevation change of 1148ft/348m.

A view of the desert from the summit of Uluru.

The end of the walk at the summit of Uluru. There is a guestbook here that you can sign. 

 The Olgas. They are made out of the same type of stone that Uluru and is only a short drive from Uluru.

We are only half way through our trip but it's too big for one blog post. Come back next Tuesday to see the rest of the trip, including Kings Canyon, Alice Springs, Walkabout Creek and more! Happy Travels!

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