Feb 5th – Alice Springs
I can’t quite believe we’re in Feb already. January came and went in a flash it seems… although, we were in Cornwall for NYE and that feels like months ago. Sam and I started our trip on January 15th and so far we have visited Dubai and Perth, and also done an 8 day road trip all up the Western side of Oz, up to Exmouth. We have just left for a camping trip at Uluru (Ayers Rock) for 3 days before heading to Adelaide. The neat freak in me thinks I should wait and write about the first month, rather than the first 3 weeks, but the long journey into the outback feels like a good time to write. We have had a great mix of desert, city, beach and outback so far and we have seen some amaaaazing wildlife. Also, as someone who has a bit of a sea-swimming phobia, I have conquered a fear of mine and properly swam in the sea for the first time in a very long time, and not just swam alone, but with wild dolphins and also turtles. For a while, I would just go to the beach and dip my toes in, or get in briefly and get out again, so this is a pretty big deal for me. I think it’s the unknown that frightens me, but this whole trip has been about the unknown, so I have just tried to embrace it. I would have massively missed out too if I hadn’t gone in the sea, so I feel pretty pleased that I did it.
I am going to do another post soon as a mini guide to Western Australia, not that I know half as much as some people, but just from the experience we’ve had. For this post, just wanted to document our progress and what we have loved so far.
Firstly, although Dubai is a unusual place, we loved it. It feels like a vibrant, lively and exciting city to be in. There’s also loads to do and see and we would definitely go back. We stayed with Sam’s family and we had such a great time, it really was a brilliant start to our trip. They really made sure we saw as much of Dubai as we could in the few days we had there. We did a desert safari that included quad biking, 4 wheel driving across the sand dunes and dinner at a camp with fire breathers and belly dancers. We also tried paddle boarding for the first time, and explored Dubai’s amazing malls and hotels. (I had to massively hold back in Sephora… I only bought a pair of eyelash curlers and a couple of eye masks, anyone that knows me would be very proud). Food is also a huge part of Dubai’s appeal, with some great restaurants and breaky spots.
After Dubai, we headed to Perth, again to stay with some other members of Sam’s family and wow did we love it. I’d never been to Australia before and Sam went when he was a lot younger, so it was such a breath of fresh air for both of us. I had wondered what Australia would be like for such a long time and Perth was a great place to start. With the gorgeous beaches of Scarborough and Trigg, the beautiful King’s Park that I would spend all day in and the buzzy city centre, we loved it. We actually stayed in Perth for a few days before our West Coast road trip and also for a few days when we got back before heading here. I can really see the appeal of Perth, although it could be considered isolated in some ways. As a drama and performance lover, the Perth Fringe was right up my street, and was on while we were there. I would go back to Perth just for that alone! We also went to see the Perth Glory football team play and also the Perth Scorchers cricket team too. I actually really enjoyed both- aided by vod, lime & soda. Some great beach days, bbqs and a look around the famous Fremantle jail too, we had a brilliant time and felt so welcome.
After our first visit to Perth, we picked up our car, Tina the Toyota and drove North, stopping at Cervantes, Kalbarri, Monkey Mia, Carnarvon and Exmouth on Ningaloo Reef. As I said, I’ll do another post on our best tips for a Western road trip soon. Highlights were: seeing an Emu family cross the road in front of our car, some incredible sunsets, Australia Day in Kalbarri and seeing about 25 kangaroos in one place, Hangover Bay- potentially the bluest sea I have ever seen, swimming with dolphins in Monkey Mia, feeding pelicans, the blow holes at Quobba and swimming with turtles in the Ningaloo Reef- oh and the best jalapeño dip ever… already mentioned on my Instagram, but definitely worth writing home about.
As I write this, we’re in the van with our group driving to Uluru and I probably won’t be able to post this until we fly to Adelaide, but we’re so excited to see Ayres Rock and hopefully not have too many encounters with spiders (me not Sam).
A few things we have learnt so far:
1. Aussie drivers like to give a little wave to each other on long, remote roads. Also, if you see somewhere to stop on one of those roads, do it… you never know when the next loo will appear.
2. Raspberry Maltesers are a great road trip snack.
3. Don’t eat before going 4×4 driving on the sand dunes, we didn’t and it was the best choice I ever made. #scrambledstomach
4. Kangaroos are amazing.
5. Flies are relentless.
6. The pink lakes are brighter in person than any photo I’ve seen. Our cameras just couldn’t pick up the intense colour!
7. Take a snorkel to every beach.
8. Dubai has loads of frozen yoghurt spots…one had birthday cake flavoured yog- a big yes from me.
9. Sand gets everywhere…
10. Dolphins like it if you wave at them.
Here’s some of our photos from Dubai and Perth, I’ll include the Western road trip pics in the separate blog post! Thanks for reading xx