Niklas Keller is a young German who is passionate about travelling the world. After finishing his high school, Niklas decided to take a GAP year to Australia where he volunteered and travelled for an year! During that year he had the chance to visit Uluru where we went on a exploring trip!
This is about a car and camping trio in the Northern Territory, Australia’s least dense populated state or Territory. The NT has an area four times as large as Germany but only has about 180 000 inhabitants. 120 000 of these live in Darwin and it’s surrounds at the North Coast, where we started our trip.
Darwin NT’s capital is a very modern but also remote city and Australia’s smallest capital.
This article however focuses on the Stuart Highway. A street that cuts the continent in half connecting Darwin to Adelaide in South Australia.
If you start from Darwin you have to take on about 1500 kilometres to get to Alice Springs, the famous desert town. If you continue south for a few hundred k’s you get to a turn off to the west, which takes you along another 400 kilometres directly to Uluru. So basically fi you start in Darwin you only need to do one turn to get to Uluru!
Along this drive are a lot of beautiful, funny, creepy, weird and most of all fun things to see!
I have selected just a few of them to show you.
First of all, don’t be surprised if you find yourself driving through a bush fire. In certain times of the year there a fires laid on purpose to burn old wood and other fuel laying around so that they don’t feed one of the bigger fires during the fire season.
Another thing you will most likely encounter are kangaroos, wallabies and other animals crossing the road, so always watch out and have two people sitting in front that always watch out, seriously that is important, you will see a lot of animals that did not make it and they have a certain size, they are a danger for you too!
One of the most beautiful nights we had was the night at the devils marbles. A giant field of big round rocks randomly laying around in the desert. Like most nights we camped at a national park public camp site. They usually don’t have more facilities than a toilet, but they are cheap and most times in the middle of nature, apart from wild camping, you can’t get closer to nature when staying out in the country.
One of the best things about the dessert are the stars, which you can see exceptionally clear and bright since there is no light pollution and almost no moisture in the air. Time your trip with a new moon and you are set for one of the best night skies you have ever seen!
While on your drive take time to stop every now and then and just enjoy how far away you are from everything! The best way to do this is just to take one of the many dirt roads and see where it takes you, but always mind your cars abilities, it can get VERY rough! We tried to find an old gold mine, but we could not and found ourselves in the middle of nowhere.
One of the best and most famous highlights other than Uluru is Kings Canyon, which is between Alice Springs and Uluru. There you can do a 3-hour walk, which takes you around the rim of a beautiful canyon. Watch out for little lizards and other things!
When you finally make it to Uluru, it is important that you take time just to appreciate how massive this one solid rock really is! Like an iceberg there is only about 1/8 of it visible from above the surface.
Around Uluru there are a lot of interesting places and things to do. Make sure that you do the Mala Walk, where a ranger tells you about it’s significance for nature and the local people. Also there is a cultural centre where you can learn a lot about local and regional indigenous culture! You can also do a walk around Uluru and always keep an eye open for cool little places and indigenous wall paintings!
When around Uluru you have to watch the sunset and also to get up for sunrise! These are just magic and also Katja Tutja, a rock formation about 50 k’s north of Uluru, is definitely worth the drive at sunset.
The drive through the Northern Territory with the rewarding destination Uluru is a great adventure! It does take a lot of effort to get there in the first place and also the driving when you are there is a lot of work, but it’s an absolutely magnificent experience and you will see a lot of things you just can not see in Europe.
P.S.: When you are at Uluru: Pleeeeeease don’t climb it! I know it looks ridiculously tempting, but it’s actually quite dangerous and more important, one of the most offending things you can do to the indigenous people of the region.
By: Niklas Keller