Day 15 of Australia Adventure – Alice Springs to Cairns Australia – May 1st 2010
Very early morning start today as we have to pick up a small bus to take us hot air ballooning. It is about 530am and for the people going hot air ballooning its me, Brian, Lauren, Carin, Danielle and Jeremy for this excursion. This bus that does Hot Air Balloon trips in this area picks us up. There about a few other people coming along as well.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
We drive out to some far away field and they set up the balloon. It is still dark out and its quite cold; I would say 8C or so, and quite cold. Once the operators get the burner working there is some heat now. After an hour or so the balloon is ready for lift off as we scramble to get into it.
As we get up into the air, it is now warmer at this altitude. From here we see the sunrise over the great outback, quite amazing. We go over parts of Alice Springs and an airport area. A Good trip overall; check out the photos for the full low down. We end up getting an extra 40 minutes of balloon time as the pilot went to the wrong landing spot so he had to fly to another area to meet the ground crew.
We finally land and the pilot steers wrong way and we end up partly in the bush. We get out and all help out to pack away the balloon, packs up like a tent almost. Then we are given are certificates and a champagne breakfast of fruit and cookies.Quite fun to drink at 8 in the morning on a nice sunny morning.
West Macdonnell National Park
Then we are off onto the bus and do one last adventure in the Northern Territory. We head off to this one park called the West Macdonnell National Park and visit this one valley area. There is a dried up riverbed here and lots of fancy rocks. A good area to check out for sure. Then we go to a spot of where Alice Springs got its name. There were never was a spring here, just a granite under a riverbed, check out the sign I took a photo of for details.
Anyways then we are taken back into the town for a one-hour lunch break before we are dropped off at the airport to fly to Cairns for the East Coast portion of the tour.
Fly to Cairns
I quickly run off to the nearby Subway for a quick and filling lunch as the rest of the Contiki group did as well. During this time, the Brazil guy, Ariel, makes some last minute adjustments to his trip. He was supposed to fly back to Brazil today, but instead he books the East Coast portion of the trip and gets a plane ticket all within 3 hours of flying out to Cairns, as well he calls home to quit his job so he has time. All this just over some girl he met on the tour, he got a little obsessed with, too funny.
After lunch we say good-bye to Christoph who ends up walking in the wrong direction. Then we go up to a lookout area of the Alice Springs to see the city view, very nice.
Then we are off to the airport and we say the last good byes to the Australians who were only on the Northern Territory portion of the trip. Those include, Naomi, Lauren, Carin, Brian and a few others.We all get to the airport and fly off with Qantas link to Cairns, a few hours flight. Good flight overall and we had to connect in Uluru again, so get to see Ayers Rock one last time.
Booze Cruise Cairns
After some time we land in Cairns and walk the long distance to get our bags. We are greeted by the East Coast Tour manager, Dan and board the Contiki bus, which is exactly the same bus, almost. We arrive at a Resort style of hotel which is a little far from the town but good. We drop our bags off and meet up with some new people as well, on the east coast trip. We later that evening all go into town to a bar/restaurant and have good evening. For dinner have a good plate of fish and chips and some beer, good times. Then it’s upstairs to the nightclub where everyone is dancing on the chairs and tables for rest of the evening, including crazy Lucy who almost fell off of one. Anyways, the photos will tell the rest of the story, enjoy!