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The 2001 Gleneagles Central Australia Tour went for twelve days, stretching from June 27 to July 6, 2001. Forty-two Year 10 students were proudly representing the Gleneagles Campus of Eumemmerring College, in Endeavour Hills.
Everyone was looking forward to a fun-filled trip, but even before we left Gleneagles there were plenty of dramas to contend with! Ms. Webster broke her ankle playing basketball two weeks before camp and was replaced in the Starting Lineup by Mr. Beard (B2). That meant that the tour leaders were Ms. Gaudoin, Ms. Reynolds, Sue Hall, Mr. Beard (B1) & Mr. Beard (B2).
9AM, 42 students, 5 leaders, 1 mission-Central Australia here we come!
We loaded up and excitedly boarded the bus, ready for 11 days of exploring the middle of our huge continent. So we left cold old Melbourne, with our first driver Jeff, and Darren the cook, heading for our first stop at Horsham. It was then on to Adelaide for dinner in the mall, where we all got to see how boring a city can be on a weeknight. We then drove onto Port Augusta to swap for a new driver, Stan (Ace). He then drove us up to Glendambo where we picked up our Central Australia Tour Driver- Chris. Trying to sleep on the bus was a nightmare, but necessary in order to have as many days as possible in Central Oz.
Breakfast was in freezing cold Coober Pedy, and on to Marla for lunch. We then stopped at our bush camp for dinner and the night. It was near the Henbury Meteorite Craters, which were as huge as they were cool! No showers, and one pit toilet was quite an eye-opener for us city folk.
We used our newly-found tent packing up skills in the cold morning. Spaghetti on toast for breakfast, before we headed for Alice Springs and a SHOWER! We stopped at the Stuart’s Well Camel Farm for a camel ride. Hoosh! In the afternoon we visited the Desert Park, which was excellent. The Birds of Prey demonstration was awesome: the buzzard that broke open the emu egg with with a rock, the kite that chased the lure and flew right over our heads, and the huge wedge-tailed eagle that caught the rabbit lure after fighting with two local wedgies. We visited Anzac Hill lookout, before going home for dinner. Rex, the reptile man, visited our campsite that night, and showed us heaps of snakes and lizards, whilst telling us important snakebite first aid (use elastic bandages). Apparently the temperature got down to MINUS 3 DEGREES last night!
Still in Alice Springs, today we visited Simpson’s Gap, Standley Chasm, the Rev. John Flynn’s grave and Namatjira’s twin ghost gums. Next stop was the Royal Flying Doctor Service headquarters for the world’s most boring film (Steven Louie wanted to buy it, NOT!). As tomorrow was Territory Day, fireworks were legal to buy for three days, but only to over 16’s!
After packing up our tents, we feasted on McDarrens (muffin with egg and bacon), YUMMY! We had a quick Alice Springs shopping trip before Hot Dogs for lunch. Kings Canyon (and Kings Creek Station Campground) were next on the agenda. Overnight the other schools were very loud, including fireworks, and even pulling out tent pegs. Just ask Yvonne and Talia, whose tent was pulled down!
Early to rise and pack tents, so that we could start at Kings Canyon early. Unfortunately, the start of the walk was only seven degrees. The walk was fairly tough, but worth it when we saw the canyon, Garden of Eden and the Lost City. After lunch (hamburgers) we headed for our next bush camp at the base of Mount Conner. We were very fortunate as not many groups get to visit this area. Here we met ‘Uncle’ (Ian) and ‘Girl Dog’, who let us all know who was the boss. He reminded us of ‘Curly’ from “City Slickers”. Only two pit toilets for our convenience, but what a view. Before dinner Uncle took some of us on a bush medicine tour, and two of us got to taste Witchetty Grubs (not like chicken!).
Up early again, so that our long (5 ½ hour) trip could get underway. Before light someone’s torch ended up down the pit toilet! (Who was that Yvonne?) As we approached the sheer cliffs, we wondered how we would ever get up there. Once we did, we knew that all of our efforts were worth it. We could see W.A. and S.A. (300kms) as well as Uluru, SPECTACULAR! We then jumped on the bus and headed for Yulara, which is the closest town to the Rock. For sunset we went to Sunset Strip, but many of our group missed it, because there was a group from the U.S.A. distracting us.
Finally, a chance to climb Uluru (Ayer’s Rock), after visiting the cultural centre. The climb was very strenuous (348 metres of calf-burning activity), but once we reached the top we knew why we were here! On the way up, Brad’s hat blew off and was never found again. In the afternoon, although we were exhausted, we went to Kata-Tjuta (The Olgas) for a walk through a beautiful gorge. Some of our group took a helicopter ride over Uluru!
We had an early start as usual, packing our gear for our day-long trip to Coober Pedy. We reached it in the afternoon, and got a tour of the town, including the dirt and rock covered footy ground! It was then on to the Umoona Opal Mine for a tour, including a simulated underground explosion. Tacos were for dinner, followed by Darren’s famous chocolate ripple cake. Tonight we had a trivia contest with Duty Group One victorious. At last we got to sleep in a bed, and the underground temperature was a toasty 24C.
We got to sleep-in until 7am, before a quick shopping trip in Coober Pedy. Before we left B1 found a small opal (potch) outside the door of our dorm rooms. It was the onto Marla, Glendambo (where it started raining), and then Adelaide Mall for dinner. We picked up Jeff in Tailem Bend, then we drove right through the night.
The bus was getting rather messy and smelly by the time we got to our breakfast stop of McDonald’s in Melton. The last sixty kilometres were a breeze after all of our travelling. It was pouring when we arrived to unpack at Gleneagles. Our families picked us up, and we told them how exciting the trip was!
Day 11: 9AM- 42 students, 5 leaders- MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
Here's some of the camp pics.
Click here for all of the shots.
Here are some of the funniest camp quotes:
"Can I go and get some sphincter?" - Kieran (he meant spinifex)
"The fire is hot" - Belinda
"Shut up Alexia! - Everyone
Click here for all of the camp quotes!
Central Australia is not a state, it's in the Northern Territory.
Yulara is the closest town to Ayers Rock (Uluru).
The Olgas are also known as Kata Tjuta.
Mt. Conner looks like Ayers Rock, until you see Ayers Rock.
Fossicking for opals that are in disused heaps is called "noodling".
Click here for all of the camp trivia!
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Gleneagles Central Australia 2000 Tour
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