Midway through our trip to Cairns and the nightmare of the Northern Territory well and truly revealed itself. It’s not the lack of petrol stations, drinking water, showers, miles of straight roads with nothing to do or the lack of social interaction with anyone. It all came down to the dreaded fruit fly. You open the car door once you’ve finished your day’s drive, hoping to relax into a chair, cook some dinner and drink some wine by the fire, only for a thousand flies to swarm you so that you can’t see, hear or open your mouth for fear of inhaling them. Even the most simple of tasks become an absolute chore and you find yourself becoming irritable about the most trivial things.
We bought a couple of fly nets for our heads at Ayer’s Rock and they were probably the best $10 dollars we have ever spent; they just about kept us sane.
Ultimately though, we were coming to the end of our trip through the outback and we took some time to reflect. I honestly believe that the outback is something worth braving and I’m truly glad we made he effort. That being said, I think it takes a certain type of person to go through it to the extent that we did, and I wouldn’t recommend the trip to anyone. Unless you’re like me and like the feeling of earning views/spectacles/rewards after an ordeal, then I’d say fly to Uluru and take a weekend trip into the outback instead. That way you get the best of both worlds, without losing your mind in the process.
Whenever we told Australians that we were traveling through the Red Centre all the way to Cairns, they would simply grin to themselves and wish us luck. Obviously we knew it was going to be a challenge but nothing can prepare for quite how vast this country is. We’ve almost finished our first long day of driving and it has been relatively boring and tiring on the eyes. There hasn’t been any of the excitement of being seconds from death at any moment like there was on the night driving experience. So far the most exciting thing that’s happened has been almost running out of petrol. We have seen some awesome eagles, I just wish they had been circling the skies like predators rather than picking at road kill like scavengers but I guess a bird’s gotta eat.
One really amazing thing was being able to witness the stars in complete darkness at the campsite last night. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to see so many and trying to pick out the constellations when they’re the wrong way round provided some entertainment. For a while at least…
However, the main reason some of the Aussies would laugh at our objective is that they’ve done the same thing before. As tiring and boring as the journey may be, a trip through the outback is something that has to be done at least once in a lifetime. All I can say now is that Uluru better be worth it and next time I’m definitely flying.