Saturday, March 7, 2009

Australia Driving Trip. Day 8; Coober Pedy to Yulara

Louise couldn't sleep at all night. She was convinced a snake fall down one of the air tubes. As usual, I slept like a baby. I'll have to check her into the day spa at Lassisters Hotel for a day of pampering to recover.

In New South Wales they have the Stop, Revive, Survive road signs; in South Australia they have Drowsy Drivers Die. Subtle.

Around 11am we crossed into the Northern Territory, where the speed limit is 130 kilometres an hour, on a two lane road.

Here we are at Kulgera, Northern Territory, an outpost of civilization (they accept my Shell Fuel Card) in the middle of miles of miles of nothing. Out here you don’t have service stations, they are called roadhouses, and they are all run by eccentric characters. It’s really like Mad Max out here.

Soon we were at the turnoff to the Lassisters Highway. It takes about two and half hours to reach Yulara, and the Ayers Rock Resort, which come quick enough for Louise as she is at the end of her tether, and has threatened to jump on a plane at Alice Springs and head to the Gold Coast. (I’m hiding the keys to the Gold Coast unit in case she gets any ideas). Really, I don’t know what she is complaining about; 3,500km, 4 States, in a week ……….

There are a number of different accommodation areas in the sprawling complex, however they are all owned by the one company. We are staying at the Desert Gardens Resort, where we can see ‘The Rock’ from our room.

We had a late lunch at the Red Rock Deli, one of the cafes in the resort, before heading to Ayers Rock. It costs twenty five dollars for a three day pass to enter the National Park.

My first impression - that’s a bloody big rock. My second impression - who are those lunatics climbing the thing.

One of the idiots climbing the rock (hang on, that’s me). Don’t worry I didn’t climb all the way up, due to my respect for Aboriginal cultural sensitivities. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

These plaques commemorate the people who have died climbing the rock.

We drove around Ayers Rock, and then visited the Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

Travel constantly surprises you. We went to the buffet restaurant, Bough House, at the Outback Pioneer Hotel, because it was only buffet at the complex. We didn’t expect much, but ended up pleasantly surprised with one of the most pleasurable dining experiences we have had in any of our travels. In fact, it is one of the best buffet’s, Louise and I have had. The service is fantastic, and the food was unbelievable; fresh seafood, roasts, cheese platter, and mouthwatering desserts. The cheese cake was simply amazing. If you ever come to Ayers Rock you simply have to try this buffet. The only problem is trying to fit it all in.

TRAVEL TIP: Bough House
Open daily for buffet breakfast and dinner
Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge
Voyages Ayers Rock Resort
$50 per person.

Tomorrow, we are driving to Alice Springs, where we will be staying at Lassisters Hotel and Casino for the next two nights. I'm so glad it's only four and a half hours away.