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Exploring the endless widths of the Outback

When you think of Australia, one of the first thing that comes to your mind is the Outback - Known for its wildlife, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, breathtaking night skies, as well as views that seem to go on forever.

It’s only reasonable that I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to experience this unique piece of nature firsthand. So I, together with 3 newly-made friends from UTS, went on a road trip, which was going to become an unforgettable adventure:


It turned out to be unforgettable for many different reasons: Starting with the flight to Alice Springs which was the starting point of our trip. Due to severe winds, the pilot was not able to hit the runway for the landing and had to pull up right before touching down for another try giving me and the other passengers a taste of what being Tom Cruise in Top Gun must feel like. My stomach didn’t enjoy that… But definitely a moment to remember. After this first difficulty, we picked up our camper van and started our Outback journey which would later end in Melbourne. Yes... Melbourne: +3500 kilometres, crossing 3 states and all that in 6 days. Not to mention the +1000 kilometres of pure gravel road that were included in our trip.


Little did we know, the next challenge was right around the corner: On day 2, at Ayers Rock, we discovered a big nail in one of our tires. So, while enjoying the sun setting at Uluru, we fixed the tire. Oh yea.. our compressor broke, too, during these efforts.


After putting our tire changing skills to the test, we were able to hit the road again the next morning. Seeking for adventures, we took the Oodnedatta Track, a 620 km unsealed road which follows a traditional Australian Aboriginal trading route: no reception and little to no civilization – this was the real Outback. We drove hundreds of kilometres not saying a word as we were stunned and impressed by the sheer presence of the Outback. Every now and then, we came by little villages like Williams Creek or Oodnedatta itself. Those villages usually consisted of a road house, a workshop, a tiny airport and a couple of houses.




As we came closer and closer to Melbourne, the Outback slowly faded until we completely left it behind us on day 4 of our trip. But our adventure was not over, yet. Instead of driving to Melbourne airport straight away, we took a little detour to Port Fairy, to take the scenic Great Ocean Road – from nothing but sand, gravel, and bushes to vivid green landscapes, civilisation and the sea - A contrast that could not have been any bigger.



At long last, we arrived at Melbourne airport on day 6: Exhausted but also happy and proud of our achievement and the little challenges we overcame.

 

Jost Wiethölter

Spring 2023 Study Abroad student from FH Münster, Germany

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