So I have just got back from the Northern Territories (well on Thursday!) from an 11 day tour with Contiki which was AMAZING! I met so many lovely people, saw some amazing sights, hiked (yes hiked!) and walked some amazing paths and just had a pretty damn amazing time! This is the story of Contiki - Territory and Outback tour May 2011.
I left Brisbane at silly o'clock on the Saturday morning, the lovely DG & SP gave me a lift to the airport - much easing the pain of the early start following a few bottles of bubbles watching the royal wedding aussie style!
All went nice and smoothly (and I am pretty much loving the comedy cabin crew / pilot action from Quantas - made the flight really quite funny!) and I arrived in the delights of Alice Springs where I got the shuttle bus to the hotel in preparation for the tour starting the following morning. As I was exiting the shuttle bus I met the lovely Andie (Gold Coast) who ended up being my roomie on the tour for the first five days or so. We got to the room, dumped the bags on the beds, left a note for anyone else joining the room and headed to the bar for lunch and refreshments...about half an hour later these 2 girls came bounding up and introduced themselves as Caroline (Toronto) and Louise (Cornwall).
The next morning the tour started at 8am and we met up with the rest of the tour group (I think there were about 26 of us - from Australia, NZ, USA, UK, Germany) and we headed out to a number of different places around Alice Springs starting with an aboriginal community where we were given a talk about some of their traditions and things they do like eat Kangaroo tail (which tasted a lot like lamb!), throw boomerangs, painting and an explanation of some of the rules they live, for example the marriage arrangements they have to stop inbreeding....it was really fascinating and definitely something I want to learn more about. One of the amazing things is that as a tourist you are only really given the child's version of any story and they don't always make sense. Here are some shots from the talk:
I think the most fascinating thing I found out about them is what they refer to as 'Sorry Business'. It is basically what happens when someone dies and it is their way of seeing the soul back into the ground, or at least that was my take on it. The bit that amazed me though was that once Sorry Business has been conducted that person is never spoken of again, even some photos you see will have black marks as that person no longer exists. I really want to learn more about the culture, might have to do a whole lot of reading on this one!!
We then went on to Simpsons Gap, the Telegraph station and Anzac Hill.
Then on the way home we went into the Royal Flying Doctors Service and to a reptile centre where I was all brave and let a snake attempt to crawl across my shoulders - not doing that again!!
We then headed back to the hotel where we were advised if you are going out to take a taxi - Alice is not the safest of places after dark! So a few of us made the decision to stay in the hotel and chill out. Especially as we were up early the next day to head on to Kings Canyon...