Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 2 - The Red Centre

Day 2 - Kings Canyon Tour and BBQ dinner!

Ring Ring Ring - Hello this is your wake up call! I love wake up calls...i wish I got them every morning...but then I guess they would loose their spark! Our wake up call was at 3.30 that morning! You will see a pattern in our days up there! Up at 3.30am bed at midnight ohhhhh gosh the days were so long! But we had so much to fit in to so little time so we powered through it! Our day began in the dark as we drove off in our coach to our second tour on our trip. It was dark, their air was hot, such an amazing thing to experience! Even in our summer here in Brisbane the early morning still have that little chill to the air! Sitting there watching the coach drive into darkness I was so tired peaceful that I drifted into a lovely little snooze on the bus... BANG stomach was in my mouth, bags were flying everywhere coffee was spilled in front of us! Driver on the speaker - "totally normal folks, there's a lotta roos out ere and there's no way I'm hitting them so sit tight and hold on to your coffees" Grreeaaatttt maybe a little warning of this would have been nice! Thank goodness for seat belts otherwise I may have been through the windscreen myself! It was dark and the driver would only see the kangaroos or birds at the last minute and out there its animals before people! He hit those brakes so hard and our HUGE coach went screeching about 20 times that trip! Only 1 'roo' was hit but jumped away ok! The breaking and screeching kept me up for the 3 hour trip but I am so thankful that it did because I witnessed the most beautiful sunrise! The colours were gorgeous and the silhouettes of the outback were just amazing!

We finally arrived at a local cattle station which was about 15 minutes from our destination. We stopped in here for breakfast. I got spaghetti on toast and Rob got jam on toast! Quite the fancy eaters we are hahah The cattle station was so beautiful! An old rustic shed with beautiful surrounding trees. 6 dogs playing and walking around the place, camels in their yard. It was just gorgeous and very outback Australia! I loved every inch of this place! It just had that homely country feel that I long for back at home! We all finished up and were back on the bus...but not without the water police on everyones back! You were not allowed on the bus unless you had 3 litres of water! Rob and I were lucky we had our camel packs which were (thankfully) 3 liters each! But most of the other travelers had to go and buy water in order to get on the bus! We were about to take a 3 and hlaf hour hike in 42 degree heat...we needed every single drop of the 3 liters. A quick drive down the road and we arrived at Kings Canyon! I must admit that I did not look up! I don't have any memory of actually looking at where we were about to climb! I was nervous! Very nervous! I had been awesome the day before, but that was nothing to what we were about to do today!

Once we got to the start, it was then I looked up! Yes I looked at the 500 stairs that we were about to climb! This was the lovely motivating beginning to our 7.5 kilometer hike! Oh Crap! Our guide told us that we would take the stairs 200 at a time...200 then 200 then 100...easy! Yeah right! I was nearly vomiting and we hadn't even started! She said that the first 200 was the test. If you didn't want to keep going you could turn around and go back down! But once you hit that 201st step there was no going back and you were stuck with the group for the next 3.5 hours! I knew I would of had to push myself! So off we went..umm I think I got to about step 20 and everything was burning but I just sucked it up and kept going...200 done! but oh so puffed! I was so determined to do this walk that nothing would have stopped me! Of course my lovely, helping and caring husband was running up those steps and was right behind the guide so I was by myself just pushing and pushing and motivating myself! Thanks babe! But I got through...burning thighs, chest pounding...but oh my gosh I tell you it was worth it! The first view was spectacular! Just to stop and look out over kilometers of rock and dessert woah amazing! We kept on going as our guide said there was a better view! Um how could there be...but she was right! It was right down into the canyon! Who would of thought that red rock could be so beautiful! The different colours and formations you could stand there for days! But the views just got better and better as we went on! It was hot and sweat was dripping, but for most of the way I didn't even realise. It was so empowering just walking and being ok! I was worried...I honestly didn't think I would be able to do it! But I was ok!

We walked on through the red and then we got to the "dead sea" which led us through to the 'garden of eden' where right in the middle of red red red was the most gorgeous greenery I have ever seen. The perfect little sanctuary with a gorgeous water hole. The plants were hundreds and hundreds of years old and were so big and lush! We walked around this and retired to the waterhole for a break! A few international tourist were swimming but the thought of completing the hike in wet undies just didn't tickle my fancy so we admired it from the edge! It was a beautiful backdrop for our little breather! We had 8 minutes for break! It was getting very hot! So if we didn't keep moving we would melt! It was only 9.00am and already 42 degrees! Our guide explained that the last leg would be hard! We were in direct sun the whole way with no shade! Ohhh man! Ok 8 minutes to regroup, refocus and get sipping on that water! We were off and boy she was not wrong! It was soooooo hot! Every step I took I swear it rose a degree! But luckily, once again, the views just kept getting better! We finally reached a sign that said 3 km to go! Woop this was like gold! I had made it this far! Over half way! Not much more to go! Then the most amazing sight I had ever seen! 1 KM to go! I nearly ran the whole way back! Ok not really because it was on the face of a cliff and I would have fallen to my death! I actually stopped on that 1 km and just looked around and soaked it all in. I felt the heat on my face, the sweat dripping down my arms, the burn in my thighs and I shed a tear! I was so proud of myself! I've never done anything like this before and what made it better...Rob turned around to me, kissed me and told me how proud of me he was. I had done it! Rob then got very excited and started talking about going on 2 day hikes when we get home up to ORileys ummmmmm no! Well actually maybe! I think I'd give it a go ;)

With no mucking around we were back on the bus, mainly because it was air con and it was 1000 degrees outside! On the way home we stopped in on another local cattle station! cute! Rob enjoyed a cool beer  from the "bar" and we went and met the local emu and visited the birds in the aviary! Even the birds had their wings and beaks open and were panting! What a sight! Once we got back to our hotel we decided to have a quick shower and have an early dinner and early bed as we had another early rise in the morning! We went to another hotel and went to their outback hotel for dinner! On the menu...Kangaroo and Crocodile! This was an experience to eat buy your raw meat...we chose roo and crock...."when in Rome" and then you cook it yourself on the BBQ...totally Australian...totally corny...but I loved every second of it! We cooked up a storm and chose from the selection of hot and cold salads from the buffet! We sat down to our "Aussie Meal' watched the sunset through the trees and reflected on our amazing day! Perfect!

~ 500 steps completed! ~

~ The Dead Sea and The Garden of Eden ~

~ 1 km to go!! ~

~ Completed! What an achievement! ~

~ Kangaroo and Crocodile for dinner ~
x S.K.K x

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day One - The Red Centre

Day One - 28th of December 2010 - Arrival and Kata Tjuta Tour

At 3.30 am on Tuesday the 28th of December I awoke from a very restless slumber full of excitement and nerves. It was here, finally here. The night before I had packed and re packed and packed again for our holiday. We were going from a humid and rain attacked Brisbane to a 42 degree dry (with a possibility of showers) Northern Territory. What on earth do you pack for that. I have never experienced that type of heat before and being fair skinned and knowing we were going to be in the sun ALL day every day it was so hard to chose the right clothing. Then throw in the possibility of it raining urgh lets just say it was a nightmare but finally Rob and I finalised our packing and managed to shove place it all nicely into one suitcase...go us! My parents arrived at 4.30 to pick us up and take us to the airport. (Thanks Mum and Dad) Goodbyes were said, air sickness tablets taken, bags checked in, flight food bought we were ready for our adventure to the red center.

We had to fly from Brisbane to Sydney and then Sydney to Ayers Rock - I have no idea why we had to go the total opposite way before going to our destination but it worked out cheaper that way and hey we got to see some beautiful sights of Sydney and its views as we flew over. Ok that's a lie...Rob saw all the beautiful views and I saw the photos later. I get SEVERE motion sickness. I always have - oh the memories of traveling to Hervey Bay every school holidays and vomiting my guts up on the side of the road every time - so when I fly I have routines and behaviors that I must obey otherwise it is a very unpleasant trip for me and the poor people around me. I find if I sleep I'm fine! So the minute we get on the plane headphones are on and eyes are shut...thank goodness for Qwells (travel sickness tablets) and their drowsy side effects. At 12 i got a very hard nudge from Rob and he said I HAD to look out the window. Reluctantly I looked and oh my goodness I am so glad I did..there it was...Uluru! We were so excited we were like little kids at a toy store. I guess it finally hit us! After a full on year and our ups and downs here we were, finally, doing something for US and taking a special holiday!

We landed and the minute you stepped of the plane the heat just hit you. We had come from weeks and weeks of rain and terrible weather so the heat was just amazing and the sun oh my gosh the sun felt so good beaming down on our skins (I will complain about this over the next few days of course but that initial experience was beautiful) We collected bags, quick toilet stop and were transferred straight to our hotel. We stayed at Ayers Rock Resort and as we were driving Uluru followed us the entire way. We always had view of the special Rock and it acted as a brilliant background to the gorgeous red dessert and the greenery on the side of the road. We arrived at our hotel "The lost camel" and settled in. We didn't have much time to waste though because we were on a tight schedule and our bus for our first tour was picking us up at 3.00pm sharp.

The walking shoes were put on, the camel packs were filled, the sunscreen was applied, the hats where put on and we were ready for our tour of "Kata Tjuta" or "The Olgas" We were picked up by coach not a bus a beautiful air conditioned coach which over the following days I would CHERISH and taken to our first destination. This was the lookout for "The Olgas". It was a short 10 minute walk up to the lookout to view the olgas from a distance and see the panoramic view of these amazing rocks. I feel a little guilty as I describe the olgas and Uluru as 'rocks' but ultimately that's what they are so I'm sorry in advance if this offends anyone. The first thing that we noticed were the flies. I was warned about the flies by my travel agent and was advised to buy fly hats, which I did, but didn't bring them out on our first tour as I wanted to experience it all. The heat, the flies, the sun, December is the worst time to visit Uluru, as I was also told by my travel agent, as it was extremely hot - reaching temps up to 45 degrees and swarms and swarms of flies. I saw this as adding to the experience though. When you go to the dessert you expect it to be hot, when you go to the dessert you expect there to be flies. I wanted to experience it all so 'bring on the flies' They were a little annoying and they loved your lips and nose but nothing to drastic that I needed to put a net over my face. We took a few photos and admired the view and we were then sent back onto the coach for our next stop.

I must admit, I was nervous. I'm not a very fit person. I have a gym membership and I had lots of intentions to go but the end of the year got so busy th....ok I'm stopping...that's another lie, basically coming home and snuggling with my man was way more enticing than going to run on the treadmill at the gym every night...anyway long story short, I lost my breath after walking up a flight of stairs at work. there I said it. Sooo you can see my nerves and as we approached our next stop which was the Olgas and a 2.5 hour hike up the 'rock'. But you know what...I did pretty good! I was actually quite impressed. I guess it helps being surrounded by gorgeous scenery! The rocks and their formations were just unbelievable. The colours, the textures, the imperfections, they were just amazing. My poor little digital camera could not capture the beauty of this area but boy did I give it a work out. Our guide told us stories along the way which also helped in the motivation department and took my mind off the grueling hike I was partaking in with no previous training or experience. But I made it, I had done it! I completed my first hike and boy was I excited. I wasn't tired, I wasn't sore, I was pumped! So pumped and ready for the next one! Rob was so proud of me and we both knew that this was the first step to an awesome journey of the beginning of awesome adventures together.Ok I was hot...very hot! The temperature was 42 degrees and it was 7.00 at night! I was sweating so bad, more than I had ever sweat before in my life, but who cares, I had done it! I just had to remember to keep sipping on my water and keep my body hydrated!

We all jumped back onto the coach and were taken to our final stage of the tour which was watching the sunset over the Olgas. The sun set at 7.58pm that night. How crazy is that! We were greeted with champagne and salty peanuts to recharge our batteries. I don't drink champagne and dont like nuts....great!!! I miss out on the cool treats! Luckily they had some lemonade for the kids (and me wooo) and I thought hell I had just completed a 2.5 hours hike which I thought I could NEVER do so I can seriously try a measly little nut. Umm YUM addicted to peanuts now! It tasted like peanut butter - who would have thought haha! The setting was beautiful, the colours were extraordinary. As the sun set over the 'rocks' they changed colours so many times it was just gorgeous! It was a perfect ending to a perfect first day in the red center. We took photos and laughed and enjoyed watching the special view! Our first day was a beautiful success. fun was had, stories were told, lessons were learned and limits were pushed, What an adventure.

x S.K.K x

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas 2010

~ Merry Christmas to  my beautiful blogging community ~

I hope that this Christmas brought an abundance of love, joy and peace to you and all of your loved ones. This Christmas was very special to me as it was my first Christmas married to my beautiful husband. It was also my first Christmas that I cooked a dinner for my family. My In-Laws. I know they wouldn't have thought twice about it but I wanted to plan every detail and make my first dinner very special for everyone. The pressure was on though don't laugh...I have never roasted anything in my life. And this dinner I was to roast a chicken, a pork and a turkey. Talk about taking on more than I could handle haha but I must report that the dinner went perfectly. My table that I set up was so simple but just gorgeous and the food was...tooting my own horn delicious! I was very proud of my efforts and my first Christmas dinner for my in-laws was a complete success.
 ~ My first roast Chicken that I seasoned and cooked ~

 ~ My table setting ~

Christmas morning was spent with my side of the family at mums. She puts on a breakfast every Christmas morning and we all gather to celebrate this special day! I love spending the morning at mums. We still get Santa bags and it allows us to still dive into the magic and innocence of Christmas. Here are a few photos from our fun morning, 

 ~ A very special friend bought me this book. Look closely at my right finger - The book was called 'Special Moments' The name of my blog. What a special and extremely thoughtful gift. I will treasure this forever! ~

As I wrote about in my Christmas with a difference post Rob and I decided that for our first Christmas as husband and wife we wanted to do something special for our family and friends! So we added up all the money we would normally spend on our loved ones and then went to Kmart and bought as many toys as we could with that budget. We then donated these toys, on behalf of our family and friends, to those children who are less fortunate than us and needed that special gift this Christmas. Our loved ones sacrificed a present this year so that a beautiful little child could experience the joy and magic of Christmas! We had so much fun choosing all of the toys for these special people. It was definitely a special moment in our lives!

 ~ I hope the children that received these gifts experienced the same joy and magic that we did ~

*** I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas ***

x S.K.K x

My Birthday Celebrations

~ Turning 25 was very special and I was one very lucky girl ~

~ Breakfast at our local nursery to celebrate mine and Dads Birthdays ~

~ A special present from Mum and Dad ~
 ~ My Tiffany that I will treasure forever ~

 ~ More Celebrations with my family ~

~ Rob took me out to Gold Class movies - this was a special treat ~

 ~ I then celebrated a lovely lunch with all of my close friends! ~

I was a very very lucky girl and all of my family and gorgeous friends made this birthday one that I will never forget! I got lots of more presents which included pj's, money, books and best of all KE$HA TICKETS from my sister! Looking forward to a girls night out!

x S.K.K x