During the 24 hour journey to Coober Pedy, we lost many things; our sanity, our personal space and our trailer (which contained all of our food for the next week). Regardless, we persevered, shared laughs, sung songs and had way too much junk food. After being woken up much too early, to watch a sunrise on a big salt lake (Lake Hart), we were welcomed into Coober Pedy by Tanya (aka Beyonce). She did an amazing job at showing us the town, explaining the long history of opal mining, which included many landmarks that had been blown up.
After our night spent underground, we made our way to Alice Springs where we finally got to show off our tent-making skills, some of which were better than others. After a long day of sitting on the bus we heard Daniel and Andrew tell stories of the stars and constellations, if anyone ever needs to know which direction south is, we are your go-to – preferably at night. After a big sleep, for those whose air mattress did not deflate, we embarked on our first walk through Ormiston Gorge, where we got the opportunity to swim in a watering hole and race the freshwater crocodiles, congratulations Hamish on the win, we hope your Maxibon was good. A quick trip to Simpson’s gap resulted in a massive stack on, where some lost the ability to breathe, everyone is fine now. Once respiratory health was regained by all, we received kisses from a blue tongue and cuddles from an olive python (the Rainbow Serpent).
After shaking our tents free of snakes and getting some confidence back we decided to familiarise ourselves with some more pests of the Australian outback, camels. We were able to ride on the back of them and pretend that we were early explorers before making our way to Lilla. At Lilla, we met some of the locals who showed us around the sacred sites, taught us how to dot paint and tell stories (songlines) through picture and word. We also tasted some kangaroo tail (9/10, a bit chewy). This was the first night that we got to sleep under the stars, and while it was a little chilly, and we all got eaten by mozzies and scorpions, the real highlight was Rulee’s snoring.
One of Tash’s favourite days was the walk around Kings Canyon due to its amazing views, and challenges (hold onto your hats while you are up there). We hopped on the bus which we were now very familiar with and started the journey to Yulara where we got the chance to swim in the local pool and sing songs around the campfire (Thanks Gabby, Abbey, Jasmine, Kayley and Oscar). Lauren’s favourite day was when we did the 8km Kata Tjuta walk and the guided cultural tour around Uluru with Sarah and Carl. Some adventurous students joined Mr Gardiner in the 10km base run (shoutout to Darcy who finished in 47 minutes), or Mr Trewella in walking it. We then finished our last day in the NT by getting screamed at by the most enthusiastic tour guide we had encountered at the field of lights. This was an amazing experience of seeing the sunrise and set every day, going to bed and waking up under the stars, and consuming WAY too many Maxibons-Oscar is the MVP for finishing the trip on a total of 30 ish, we aspire to have your strength.
Honourable mentions to Roger, Chris, and Graham who shared the driving and putting up with 50 smelly teenagers. Also Monisha for cooking us amazing food, no one ever did meat and veg so well. Old pop Ruley, thank you for giving us your wise knowledge from past camps (you must be really old) Nana Thomas, thank you for your humour and being our real-life example of why we shouldn’t consume 3 energy drinks a day. Mumma Stewy, Thanks for keeping it real, your braids look really cute, we cannot wait to see them again on Aths day. Papa G, thank you for showing us those table manners do not matter as we move into adulthood, we will never look at custard the same uncle T, where do we start. We are so grateful for your persistence in fighting for us to go on this trip of a lifetime and we hope that it continues as a DSC tradition for many years to come. What a group, what an experience, what a country!
Studying Media as a VCE unit, Alex has developed great technical skills and used the Central Australian Tour as an opportunity to practice his art. His photos provided a spectacular visual account of the fun and adventures the students experienced. Follow Alex on IG @alexrusdy to see more of his incredible work.