Part 2 - The Northern Territory & Uluru.
The second leg of the journey extends for many miles of red sand and gravel roads inward, in which the Australians call “The Outback". The term "the outback" covers pretty much everything in Australia that is off the beaten track, in other words most of Australia from east to west. The area that Stig travels through is also referred to as "the red centre" due to the distinctive red sandy soils that adds as a red carpet over the landscape.For those who sit and think "I want to try this", here are 5 useful tips that can make your trip through Australia's outback a little easier.
- Do not leave the main roads –The chance of finding you if you get stuck decrease significantly if you drive away from the main road.
- Take water with you on your travels - 4 litres per person per day is the recommended requirement. The temperature can fluctuate between 40 and 50 degrees during the day so you need a lot of liquid.
- If the car breaks down, stay in the car – There was a reason that Stig got the message "stay in your car". It provides both shade and protection from the sun and from the cold at night. You are also easier to find for people who are looking after you.
- Do not do activities in the day - Because of the heat and sun, it is recommended to keep quiet in the day time and only move after the sun has gone down.
- Inform people about your travel plans – If you have not installed an electronic travel log from ABAX in your car, and thus can not be tracked via GPS, it is important to inform people around you about your travel plans. It makes it easier to find you again if the worst happens.
"That part of Australia is not the countryside, it's the bush! If your car breaks down, you must stay in the car." It is not exactly crowded here, and I had to ask for directions to the countryside. After 85 miles on straight asphalt roads, I ended up in a small village that had a few dozen houses. Then we travelled 57 miles, on gravel, before we got to the next village. I arrived there late on Thursday night and stayed until Friday. I thought I would get the homeowner’s name on the map – as there were only 4 houses including a petrol station. Between the two towns there was only one gas station, which was run by a married couple. It was 28 miles to the nearest neighbour ... The morning after I got the answer to where the houses were. The village was located 5km inland on a small dirt track. But I was not allowed to drive on this road, and was physically barred.. But I saw some of the village people at the gas station. And it must be said that they look a lot different to me. Small and dense. Almost completely black, and lots of hair on most of their face. Even the ladies have beards. And walk stooped - just the way I think people walked in the Stone Age. It was no more than 23 miles to the next place, where I met a policeman called Dave. An emigrated Irishman who had taken a well-paid job as a policeman in the bush. He and his buddy covered an area the size of Belgium. He told me willingly about the lives of indigenous people. We then travelled 130 miles on gravel roads through the bush and later into the desert. It must be said that I do have the best car to drive far in. As an old competition driver, I have been awarded with lots of great cars to drive people around in the world championship rally. So some cars I've tried. But driving at 120-130 km / h on gravel and sandy roads impresses. The VW Multivan really impresses me. It invests heavily in the dunes. I have almost a love affair with the car. Since being in Australia, I had been looking forward to seeing kangaroos. But apart from some dead on the roadside, I have not seen any yet. But in terms of camels, there are plenty of these. It could possibly be a bit too dry for kangaroos in this area. Or, there could have been a few dogs in the bush.
"You are quite lucky today. It has been closed for four days now." I stood in front of the giant stone ‘Ayers Rock’, or Uluru as the indigenous people call it, and wanted to climb up to the top. They close Uluru when it rains, when it gets too hot, or too windy. It is 348m high, 2.4km long and 1.6km wide. And it lies in the middle of a plain. The definition of a monolith is a mountain consisting of a single stone or rock. Uluru is additionally several km into the ground. I have previously been to Gibraltar and did not think it was so spectacular. It is however Uluru, so for me this is my favourite monolith. The climb up on it was an absolutely wonderful experience. You can see for miles and for us who like mountains, it is incredibly fascinating with all its formations and no vegetation. Something you do not see until you climb up. I have lived in Yulara, a small village that is built around tourism. The site has 1,200 permanent residents, but counted about 5,000 in high season (May to September). With 5,000 residents it means that the desert city is the fifth largest town in the Northern Territory, where I now find myself. And in a state which is 4 times as large as Germany. Most live in Darvin and the rest is said not directly hopping ... Yearly, there are about 350,000 tourists. But tourism in and around Uluru has also been controversial, as the mountain is sacred to Anangu-people, who live close by. In fact they kept on having to shut down the mountains to tourists in 2009. The indigenous people in the area do not count more than 200 people, and since it is not possible to grow anything in the desert, they also need the Anangu-people money to live. Today, tourism is secured for Australia's second most famous landmark for the opera in Sydney. Today I got up early and flew in an 8-seater light aircraft to Kings Canyon and on the way we flew around both Uluru and Kata Tjuta- a funny little mountain range that extends 548 metres above the ground. Now it’s time to drive up north!Do you have any tips for Stig about places he should see or visit or restaurants he should try? You can send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Click here to follow Stig's route in Google maps.