Hi all! I am Denise and am one of the Dutch Interns working for Groovy Grape Tours and have really enjoyed it. After hearing a lot of amazing comments about the Rock Patrol tour, it was my turn to explore the amazing Outback and experience the real Australia. As I travelled in June, it could get quite cold at night, so I was slightly worried to sleep outside in swags. But this changed after I experienced it. To sleep outside in the open is quite confronting, but to fall asleep under a clear sky with the Milky Way sparkling above you and the fire crisping besides you was just an amazing experience.
Driving along long roads with nothing around us, spotting all kinds of animals such as Kangaroos, Dingoes, Camels, Wild Horses, Wedge-tailed Eagles and even a Thorny Devil Lizard! At one point there was nothing surrounding us, just vast desert landscapes, and then we spotted a sign ‘Coober Pedy’ out of no-where. Upon arriving into the town, majority of the locals live and work underground, as it can reach extremely high temperatures in the middle of summer. But hey, it’s the desert, what do you expect. This town held a lot of new experiences for me, I got to hold my first Joey (baby Kangaroo), hand-feed rescued kangaroos, search for opals in the dirt, visit a real opal mine and sleep in an underground bunkhouse where it was warm and cozy.
The landscapes during this trip continued to amaze me. From the changing colours of the sky during a sunrise hike at Watarrka Kings Canyon and learning more about the big Red Rock (Uluru) and its fascinating Indigenous stories while walking around the base, to hiking alongside towering red sandstone walls at Alligator Gorge in the Flinders. But what amazed me the most was hiking through the Valley of Winds at Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Red ancient rocks soaring above you while walking through. It felt like I was a speck of dust to this rock formation and made me think how truly enormous the world is. It is very windy in some areas of the hike, I guess the name ‘Valley of the Winds’ expresses this all too well. You really appreciate the wind at times so that flies won’t ruin the beauty. The Australian outback landscape really makes me appreciate the natural world.
The people and the guide on this tour really made traveling to the Outback a wonderful experience which I will never forget. There are many Europeans traveling through the country who want to experience the Outback in a fun, group dynamic and share their travel stories. Everyone is like-minded which makes it easy to connect, make friends and have lots of fun! It is amazing how you can bond with people you never met in such a short time and it was one of the best experiences in my life. I will recommend this wonderful tour of Groovy Grape to everyone!