Outback – Roadtrip through the Red Centre | Diary 006

After a few relaxed nights in Adelaide, I went on my second group tour that led us from Adelaide over Coober Pedy, the world famous Uluru to Alice Springs in 6 days. Like on the Great Ocean Road I did this tour with Groovy Grape* and it was once more an awesome experience.

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Saturday 13/10

Saturday started early with a pickup from the hostel and meeting our tour guide Bronny and my new travel mates. We were 13 people (a couple from Germany/the US, a mom and her daughter from the US, two Asian girls, a Dutch family of three and 3 solo travellers: Charlott from Amsterdam, Stephanie from Guatemala living in Canada and Harri from Wales). We were a great group and especially with the 3 other solo travellers I got along well.

The tour started with a long drive to our first stop and was only the start to very long upcoming drives. For lunch, we stopped at a super cute vinery run by an old couple who invited us to eat on their property and enjoy the idyllic scenery of their home. We had yummy buns and once again I was super happy to get great, fresh and mostly healthy food on tour.

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Afterwards, we drove to Alligator Gorge to hike through the canyon and enjoyed the nature and the silence in the gorge.

Arriving at our campsite for the night we got ready for our first night in a swag under the stars. We had a BBQ and delicious salad for dinner and crawled into our sleeping bags next to the campfire.

Swags are basically bigger sleeping bags with a thin mattress inside and made from thicker and denser material. In the inside, you have your real sleeping bag and that was our bed on the ground under the stars for 4 of 5 nights on tour.

 

The first night in nature immediately made me fall in love with sleeping outside and I enjoyed every single night. Even when it started to rain a little bit because it is such a cool feeling and you can easily put a cape over your head.

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Sunday 14/10

On tour, we either woke up early for a sunrise hike or to start driving to get to our next destination earlier. Sunday we finally made it to “the outback”. Red sand, less vegetation and less green outside the window.

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For lunch, we stopped at a super small “town” that consists of only one roadhouse with a refill station and about seven trailers. As there was basically nothing around, we had a very windy and sandy lunch: couscous salad, green salad and sandwiches.

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In the late afternoon, we arrived in Coober Pedy and got a very informative and interesting tour through old opal mines. Afterwards, we were able to shop some pretty jewellery and I bought something for my mom. As most things were made with silver, I didn’t buy anything for me as I usually were rose gold, but I already regret it as they had very pretty rings and necklaces…

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While watching the sunset from above the hill, we ate pizza and enjoyed the view.

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Afterwards, we went to one of my highlights of the tour: visiting a kangaroo sanctuary and being able to pet and watch disabled adult kangaroos that live there, and baby kangaroos, called Joey’s, that will be released back to wild when they are big enough. It was so cute to see this little animal with its big ears and eyes.

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This night we slept in another unusual place: under the rocks. Most houses in Coober Pedy have rooms under the earth as it gets super hot here and it was very nice to sleep in a cold and very dark dorm, so I had a great night sleep.

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Monday 15/10

On Monday we had to drive the most kilometres on tour (over 600km) so we got up at 5.30 am to see the sunrise over the opal minefields and fall asleep again afterwards on the bus.

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That day, we passed the border to the Northern Territory which was basically the highlight of the day.

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We arrived at the Kings Canyon Creek Campground, where one of my favourite picture from the tour was taken. It really sums up the vibe of our tour: many sunsets and sunrises, beautiful star skies, campfires and good company.

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Tuesday 16/10

Tuesday was finally the day of less driving and more adventures and we started right away with a hike around and through the Kings Canyon.

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We got up at 4 am, jumped in our comfy clothes, had a big breakfast and drove to the beginning of the trail called ‘heart attack hill’. It is named like that because the beginning of the hike super steep and exhausting, to get on top of the canyon. From there we watched a beautiful sunrise and then hiked around and into the canyon which wasn’t that difficult anymore. We had many wonderful views over the breathtaking nature and in that park, this first hike was my favourite.

When you wake up super early every day feels like two days because you do so much. It was only 11am when we finished the walk and drove to the Ayers Rock.

 

Arriving at the Uluru our guide told us about the history of the rock and some Aboriginal stories around it and we walked a bit around the Uluru/Ayers Rock.

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For sunset we drove to the best place with the best view on the rock and had yummy cheese and crackers while admiring how the red rock changes its colours while the sun sets.

For the next/last two nights we stayed at the Uluru Campground.

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Wednesday 17/10

Another day another hike. So we got up at 4am again and drove to the famous Olgas/ Kata Tjuta. The scenery was amazing once again and on top of the mountain ranges our guide had the idea to stay completely silent for 3 minutes and just be in the moment and I really enjoyed that quiet time and it was a beautiful experience.

On our way back, I got to know Stephanie the Guatemalan girl more and we had such a fun time together. We really got along so well and I was once more amazed by how easy it is to meet likeminded people while travelling – but that’s probably because you already have one similarity: the urge to travel and adventure.

Steph invited me to come to Guatemala one day when she is there too and she would be my travel guide and show me around her favourite places and I already know, that I’ll do that for sure!

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For our last dinner together we had an amazing veggie curry with coconut milk and rice noodles (called Laksa) – a special recipe from our guide Bronny.

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We had another wonderful sunset view in the evening. This time with a view over the Olgas and the Uluru from more far away and it was gorgeous once again!

And then it was already the last night under the stars. I am already considering getting one myself at home to be able to go to beautiful places in summer and sleep outside wherever I want to…

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Sleeping under the stars was an awesome experience every night. I really enjoyed sleeping with fresh air, light wind and snuggled up into my warm sleeping bag. The matrass in the swag was comfy and it is the best feeling to fall asleep looking at the beautiful dark sky full of light stars and when you wake up at night (to go to the toilet or turn to the other side) you are amazed every single time by the beauty of nature and I could never resist smiling. Furthermore, waking up at 4 am is much easier when the first thing you see is the endless sky.

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Thursday 18/10

This day, we got up early for the last time again to see sunrise over the Uluru. Another special morning and wonderful view. We enjoyed pancakes for breakfast while watching the sun rise and it was another favourite moment on this tour for me.

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Afterwards we did the base walk around the Uluru (around 8km) which was a great and easy trail and I had time to talk and get to know my travel buddies even more.

As Alice Springs is another 5-hour drive north from the Uluru, we had a last very hot and exhausting drive, but arrived full of new memories at our final destination.

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In the evening our tour group met again at Uncle’s for burgers and waffle fries (so yummy!), beer or cider for me and playing pool, which was so much fun. Afterwards, we went to another pub and had a great night, but didn’t go home that late because we were all super tired from the eventful last days.


My days in Alice Springs

…consisted of going food shopping with my friends from the tour, writing the blog, saving pictures and editing and cooking a yummy dinner together at night. We had sweet potato spinach bowls topped with salted cashews (so so amazing!) and watched Karate Kid and talked.

Saturday and Sunday I basically did the same: went for a run, bringing postcards to the post, working and cooking dinner.

On Monday I flew to Sydney and left the red outback with hundreds of new memories, experiences and new friends.

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*Disclaimer! Just to clarify that: I got a discount for my tour with groovygrapetours, but I am obviously still 100% honest with all my reviews and thoughts!

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What’s in my Backpack for One Year of Work & Travel in Australia

For about 10 months I’ve been preparing my work & travel journey. Reading books, blogs and talking to people. I scrolled through hundreds of articles about what to pack as a minimalistic backpacker, female backpacker, Australian backpacker or on a long-term journey…

I tried to filter what I think I will really need and use and gave my best on packing very minimal. My backpack contains 60l and weights 10kg (which is pretty good for my first time backpacking and without any experiences). In addition to that, I have a small 12l daypack that carries some extra stuff.

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Backpack

I bought this backpack because it was cheap in comparison to the brand backpacks and the quality felt good. It also has a back support that I could easily remove so it’s a lot lighter like that. It has many straps to adjust (too many in my opinion, but I could cut them off if I want to).

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For my daypack, I chose a small and unspectacular one because I am not carrying a lot on an everyday basis and I don’t like too many pockets and straps because they annoy me.

The size is good to carry my camera, water bottle, snacks, papers and wallet like I do every day, but for the plane (where I needed my laptop, pillow, kindle, food, water bottle, papers and more) it was too small and I had to take an extra bag with me on the plane. I also always carry one with me for when I go food shopping.

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Clothes

Luckily, I can replace some things in my backpack when my cousin or my parents visit me. For now, I have some more warm clothes like two hoodies, longsleeves and an extra pair of shoes that I’ll get rid of when it’s summer. Right now, it’s only around 16 degrees Celsius in Melbourne so I’ll be good with an extra layer of clothes.

With all my clothes I tried to stay in the dark colour palette (or it’s stuff that I don’t care too much about) so that I only need to wash one machine every week and not separate into light and dark laundry. I’ve heard that white and light clothes get yellow/grey so fast while travelling and they also get dirty so much more easily, that’s why everybody suggests to leave them home.

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The only ‘unpractical’ t-shirt I brought is my self-made tidy t-shirt, that I have to wash with my hands. But I love it so much so it’s worth it and one t-shirt is washed quickly in the sink.

  • 2 long sleeve shirts
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 4 tops

I don’t have specific workout clothes or pyjamas with me because I feel like being okay with my regular clothes. I’ll just wear one of my comfy shorts for sleeping/working out and a t-shirt and that’ll be fine.

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  • 2 comfy shorts
  • 1 jeans shorts
  • 1 pair of long pants/jeans (very stretchy & comfortable)
  • 1 pair of flowy pants (sun protection on hot days)
  • 1 pair of long leggings (I wore them on the flight)

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Through reading all the blog posts I learned that you should never pack something that you are not sure about or that you can only wear on specific occasions. That’s why I tried to pack clothes that are practical and functional for every day (hopefully!)

  • 1 thin blouse (great sun protection)
  • 1 t-shirt dress (that I can always quickly throw over and be good to go)
  • 1 pretty dress (short, comfy and suitable for every day or special occasions)

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It was really hard to decide how much underwear I am going to take. Some people suggest to only take 5 and wash more often, others had 10 pairs with them so they don’t need to wash that often.

I decided to take 8 pairs so that I can wash around once a week and always have one pair as an extra.

  • 8 pairs of underwear
  • 2 bralettes (because I don’t wear bras)
  • 1 sports bra
  • 2 bikinis
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of elastic stockings

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Organizing

I bought some drybags to organize my clothes and keep them together and I highly suggest that if you travel with a backpack otherwise, you won’t find anything.

I also got a belt bag and 2 more bags with me and I would even suggest taking 3 because I use them a lot. I got one for shoes and the other for food shopping and storage (because at the hostel you store your food in the kitchen area / in the fridge and you need to pack it in a bag).

  • 1 drybag 6l (for underwear, socks, bikinis)
  • 2 drybags 12l (one for bottoms & dresses, other for t-shirts & tops)
  • Deuter belt bag
  • 2 eco-bags

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Shoes

I’m probably not going to carry 4 pairs of shoes with me for my whole year. I plan to get rid of my converse when the weather is warmer and I am wearing sandals a lot, but until then 1/3 of my backpack is shoes…

  • Running shoes (that I can wear for hiking and long walks in cities)
  • Converse
  • Sandals (I know, not the sexiest kinds of shoes but they are super comfy and I already got used to them)
  • Flip flops

It’s hard to tell what you will need at the end of the day because you never know where you’ll end up and what you’ll do, but I still only packed clothes that I knew I will wear a lot. If I will miss something I’ll just tell my parents to bring it or buy it here. That’s so much better than taking way too much stuff with you and carrying it around without wearing it and I already got used to wearing the same stuff almost every day.

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Toiletries

I got a toiletry bag that you can hang which is super practical for hostels where it can be wet or gross sometimes. My towels are super thin, quickly drying micro phaser towels and I got a small one ( 30 x 50 cm) and a big one ( 75 x 150 cm ).

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For shampoo, shower gel and face wash I decided to skip big plastic bottles that are heavy and used up quickly and bought solid soap bars instead. I find it super practical on one hand and it’s also so much eco-friendlier and better for skin and hair because it is all natural.

My face wash is by The Body Shop and I use the “Duschbrocken” from a small German start-up brand that is shampoo and body soap in one. I already used it three times and I love it – the smell is amazing (I got “Frieda Früchtchen”), it feels super moisturizing to my skin and hair because it contains a lot of natural oils and I can’t even tell that I used it at all because you only need so little product. My hair feels really great using it and it doesn’t gets greasy more quickly than usually.

I decided to only take a come with me and so far it’s been alright. If I miss it too much, I’ll just buy one.

For shaver, period hygiene products, deodorant and body lotion I also went for the eco-friendly version because it lasts so much longer and is more practical in many ways. I’ll talk about that in another blog post about eco-friendly & minimalistic beauty products for travelling soon!

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  • Duschbrocken (shampoo & body wash) (*PR-Sample)
  • Face soap
  • Shaver (plastic free!)
  • Shea butter as body butter (in the Body Shop container)
  • Toothbrush (plastic free!) (*PR-Sample)
  • Toothpaste
  • Wolkenseifen Deo crème
  • Coconut oil (in a little container)
  • Lavera face moisturizer
  • Come
  • Hair ties
  • Menstrual Cup
  • Nail scissors and nail file
  • Eye Brow Pen (only “makeup” I take with me)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand cream

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Medicine

I only took a few things with me because you don’t have to be prepared for everything. In case you really get sick you can buy whatever you need. Also, I would suggest to not take a whole package with you – it’s just not necessary.

  • Nurofen painkillers
  • antidiarrhoea medicine
  • Eye drops
  • sore throat tablets
  • plaster

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Food

You aren’t allowed to take most food to Australia, but packed food is alright.

  • Many oat and dried fruit bars
  • Vegan chocolate
  • Instant Oats (I didn’t end up taking it with me bc I was afraid they wouldn’t allow me to bring it because it contains nuts, but they didn’t care a lot so I should have brought it…)
  • Chewing gum
  • Cinnamon
  • Veggie Broth
  • Reusable water bottle (1l)
  • 2 food containers (750ml and 450ml)
  • Camping fork-knife-spoon
  • Vitamin B12 drops
  • Vitamin C tablets

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Important Documents

  • Passport
  • Drivers licence & international drivers licence
  • Visa
  • Flight documents
  • vaccination certificate
  • Some Australian dollar
  • important addresses & phone numbers
  • copies of important documents

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Other Stuff

  • Wash paste
  • Locks for lockers at the dorm room
  • plastic zip bags (to store and organize all the small stuff)
  • travel neck pillow (that you can blow up)
  • Earplugs
  • Sleeping mask
  • Pen & pencil
  • notebook

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Electronics

I tried to minimize my technical gear, but you just need some electronics if you plan to take some pretty pictures and videos.


That’s everything I took with me to Australia! I will for sure make an updated version after a few months to see what I had to buy or what I didn’t need and gave my parents.

What is something you could not travel without?

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 * This is an affiliate link. If you purchase something through this link I get a commission and you support me and my work, but it doesn’t affect the price for you. Thanks!

* Dies ist ein Affiliate Link. Wenn du etwas über diesen Link kaufst, bekomme ich eine kleine Provision und du unterstützt mich und meine Arbeit. Der Preis ändert sich für dich dabei natürlich nicht. Danke!

 

Places I want to Travel to

If you’ve been following me for a while you’d know that I loved writing Bucketlist Travel Posts and present some beautiful places that I want to visit one day. But for these posts, I always used Pinterest pictures from strangers and now that the data protection regulation is more strict, I deleted them all from my blog.

So from now on, I am only going to show you places that blogger / Instagrammer that I follow have visited, so I can use their pictures and have a proper source and I hope I am allowed to do so – if you know better please let me know!


picture source: @morton_mac

Palawan, Philippines

I never heard of this island before but Palawan is part of the Philippines and on the west. It is a very long but narrow and looks like paradise – am I right? Crisp turquoise water, beautiful wild nature to explore, long white sand beaches and nobody except you. That’s probably the main reason why I want to go to the Philippines so badly. It is still very underrated and unspoiled.


picture source: @hilvees

Norway

I haven’t been to any Scandinavian country but my dream is to rent a campervan and explore Norway ( & Sweden & Finnland & Danmark) for a longer period of time and really see a lot of the beauty they have to offer. A family member of mine has done a kayak tour in Sweden for a week and that sounds super fun and adventurous as well!


picture source: @mvb

New York

I could never imagine living in such a big city, but I would love to experience the N.Y. vibe for some weeks – not just being on vacation and going to the popular places but really soaking that special atmosphere in and exploring some more unknown places.

That’s really what I want all my travels to be: longer than necessary to see all the touristy stuff so I can experience the place a bit more like a local. Hopefully, I will be able to do so in the future when I have a job and a family – but that’s what I really want, so I need to find a job that works with that life I want to live!


picture source: @gypsea_lust

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Another little paradise on earth that I would love to visit, maybe for my honeymoon :D Bora Bora reminds me of the Maldives with all the water bungalows which isn’t usually my thing because I am not a huge fan of hotels and many touristy people on one place, but I mean – it’s still a little paradise and I am sure I would love it anyways! I think traveling should be a mixture of both: rest and adventure.


picture source: @eljackson

New Zealand

Another absolutely stunning country that I am super stoked to explore with a camper! All this breathtaking nature and amazing views. I would love to hike through the mountains, swim in the lakes and explore. Maybe I’ll do another work & travel year but in New Zealand – who knows?


Which places do you want to visit? Where are you going to soon? What is on your bucket list?