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Welcome to Oschtraelia!

by - 3 Mai 2010

Coming to Australia felt a bit like coming home. Australia is like a vacation from our vacation, because it brings us back to the comfortable western lifestyle that we are so used to. This means considerably cleaner hostels, toilet paper, no food worries, no communication barriers with English being the only official language and all social interactions follow rules which we can easily anticipate.
But there are two more good reasons why it felt like coming home: Elly and John! Sarah met Elly and John five years ago in Venice and they stayed in touch since then. We were very excited when we finally saw them again at the airport. We stayed almost a week at their house in Melbourne – a week that went by too quickly 😦
Lunch at the Great Ocean Road Relaxing in the shade
Our friends were lovely hosts who cooked delicious dinners for us and made much time free to show us around. They walked us around the city, took us to a winetasting in beautiful Yarra Valley, showed us the parklike native animal zoo „Healesville Sanctuary“ and drove with us along the Great Ocean Road.
Koala Kangaroo
We had another fun evening going to the Comedy Festival where John had almost every night a show with his impro-theatre-comedy-group. The story of their play takes place on a cruise ship with John being the Captain. What happens during the journey is improvised and based on the audience’s comments. We would have loved to stay longer in Melbourne, but the flight to the Red Centre was already booked and sadly enough one morning at 5am we had to say goodbye 😦
Situated in the middle of the desert our next destination „Alice Springs“ once was just a telegraph station and now grew into a major tourist hub because of its famous neighbour Uluru (Ayers Rock). Something about this place does not feel right though. Despite its location and severe water restrictions the streets are lined with grassy and blossoming parklike areas. Huge supermarkets which are airconditioned to the freezing point, KFC and McDonald’s ensure a comfortable western lifestyle and the locals don’t miss a thing – even in the middle of the desert. But beneath the spotless surface social problems are boiling: Drunk, loud and smelly Aboriginal people live like bumbs on the grassy fields in town, the burnt out campervan in front of the hostel showed us what happens at nighttime with cars parked outside the garage and the hostel staff advised us not to walk alone after dark. Alice Springs felt like such an artificial and weird place. Here we encountered for the first time Australia’s Aboriginal people and it was a depressing if not shocking sight. Their culture has been overrun and destroyed by a western lifestyle to whom many hardly adjust until today. Alcoholism, unemployment and a failed integration process are continuous problems which Australia is struggling to solve.
Since there are few reasons to stay longer than necessary in Alice Springs we rented a car to explore the stunning MacDonnell Ranges and to stay there overnight. The MacDonnell Ranges are an area of mountain chains, gorges, waterholes and interesting desert walking treks.
West MacDonnell Ranges
After fifteen years of drought this year it rained a lot more than usual. Therefore the red soil was widely coverd with lush grassy fields and dense bushes in all shades of green and yellow which contrasted effectively with the blue sky above. The rain had not only transformed the „Red Centre“ into a colourful rainbowland, it also turned the streets partly into rivers which made it difficult for us to reach all our destinations. It turned out to be a wise decision to sleep in the car since there were some heavy downpoors also during the night.
Unser Bett-Mobil Flooded highway, West MacDonnell Ranges
Coming back from the MacDonnells we started the three day „The Rock“-Tour visiting the dizzying Kings Canyon and the sacred sites of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). During our walks around the rocks our guide Sam informed us about the Aboriginal survival strategies in this hostile area, he explained the use of certain plants (food, medicine, drugs) and the religious meaning of the different sites.
Uluru in the sun Uluru changing colour Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
Kata Tjuta and Uluru are truly impressive how they unexpectedly tower above the flat area and how they change colour during sunrise/sunset. It is not surprising that the Aboriginal people considered these places magical and holy. Our days ended by the camp fire everyone curled up in a swag (Australian waterproof sleeping bag with mattress) gazing into the sky full of stars. Beautiful!
Uluru-Sandwich Uluru hat Sarah den Kopf verdreht!

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One Comment
  1. Hey, ihr beiden. Die 15jährige Trockenheit muss ich korrigieren auf 12 Jahre. Als ich 1998 dort war habe ich den Ayers Rock beim „Champagner Sonnenuntergang“ nur als einen schwazen, nassen Klotz sehen können, den Kings Canyon in Müllsäcken als Regenschutz tragend durchwandert und auf der Rückfahrt nach Alice alle Straßen als riesige Flüsse erleben dürfen. Wir sind mit unserem Wagen wie auf Wasserskiern zurück geeiert. 😉
    Schade, dass ihr schon aus Melbourne weg seid. Dort hätte ich euch noch Adam vermitteln können – unseren Grillmeister von unserer Mallo-Hochzeit.
    Fals ihr jetzt hoch nach Darwin mit dem eigenen PKW fahrt, hltet doch mal beim Butterfly Gorge: Kleiner, schöner, abgelegener, nicht viel besuchter Flusscanyon mit Campground. Sehr zu empfehlen. Außerdem oben bei Darwin toll: Litchfield Nat. Parc mit 4WD!! Wir haben zuerst Kakadu in einer kleinen Gruppe mt Gondwana Adventures gemacht und dann waren wir fit für eine eigene 4WD-Tour.
    Viele Spaß und „no worries, mates“, Thommy 🙂

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