After we finished touring Aït Benhaddou we drove another few hours and end our night at Skoura. Our accommodation for the night was a boutique hotel called Espace Kasbah Amridil- 300 year old Kasbah! It was actually the filming location for a classic film called “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” back in 1944! Even though I have never seen the movie before, but I was very familiar with the tale from Arabian nights.
Archives for April 2015
When the British settlers arrived in Australia, they took over and forced the Aboriginals out of the area and renamed Uluru into Ayer’s Rock. Many people attempted to climb the Ayer’s Rock and will accidentally fall and die. The rope on Uluru was placed around 1960s to make rescue missions easier for the locals. Not too long after, many people from all over the world starts to come to Uluru and climb the rock. The actual climb is only 2 hours; physically there is nothing to brag about (only 348m high), unlike climbing Mt Everest (8848m) where it is actually physically demanding.
We woke up at 5.20am to watch the Uluru sunrise at 7am. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is half hour drive away from the campsite. The actual name of this place is called “Ayers Rock Campground”, next to the campground there’s another hotel called “Ayers Rock Resort” for people who enjoy staying in luxurious places. Judging from their website, it looks like a completely different world. Today’s sunrise is still a distance away from Uluru itself, Leith said only when the sun goes over the horizon then we can have breakfast.
The Sugar Club is the fourth restaurant opened by Peter Gordon who is a famous New Zealand-born, London-based chef. The restaurant is located on Level 53 of Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower. The restaurant itself does not rotate like the restaurant “Orbit” which is a level below. There is also complimentary valet parking for people who dines at the restaurant in the car park below. I reckon this is the must-go restaurants for any tourists who wants to dine with a view!
After whole day of sitting in the car, at 4.40pm we arrived at our final resting station. We saw a massive mass in the distance that looked like Uluru. All of us got super excited and started snapping away. Leigh yelled to us saying that is Mt Conner, aka, “Fool-uru”. It may look like Uluru from one angle, but it is not. We didn’t believe him until we saw some random paintings outside the toilet walls with bald writing that says “Mt Conner”.
Apparently Coober Pedy has the best filter water system in Australia due to the high mineral contents in the water. The water actually tastes quite good, much better than Adelaide. I guess the governments rather invest in good water filter system in the area than people dying. We filled up our water tank in the van with Coober Pedy’s water and chuck in some ice to make it icy.
After dinner we went to “Josephine’s Gallery & Kangaroo Orphanage”. It is free to see the kangaroos in their backyard. We were given some fruits to feed them. Josephine explained to us that if there are any injured kangaroos or small animals that require their help, they will look after them until they are capable of surviving themselves (either by phone consultations or pick them up from rural areas). The size of area they need to look after is similar to the size of Germany.
Coober Pedy has a population of 1695 according to 2011 census from Wikipedia. It is 846km north of Adelaide on the Stuart Highway. Not only it is famous for the amount of precious opals mined here, it is also famous for underground residences called “dugouts”. It helps to avoid the heat during the day and keeps the house warm at night. The name of this town is actually from the Aboriginal word “kupa-piti” which means “white man’s holes”. Leith said the underground houses used to cost only AUD$20,000, now probably need AUD$200,000.
The Grove Restaurant is the winner of 2014 “Restaurant of the year” in Auckland. After leaving Auckland for 18 months, my friends and I decided to catch up over some fine dining. The Grove Restaurant is next to the newly renovated historic St Patrick’s Cathedral, the square is quite quiet on a Thursday night, giving a serene ambiance.
2 hours later, we arrive at Lake Hart. It is a smaller lake in the Lake Eyre basin- a drainage basin that covers just under 1/6 of all Australia and is one of the largest in the world covering around 1.2 million square kilometers, including inland Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and part of western NSW. The actual Lake Eyre is actually not accessible by vehicles, can only been seen via helicopter. Lake Hart itself looks deep, like a real lake, where you can swim or kayak in it. However the lake is probably only 20mm deep due to the rain from 2-3 weeks ago.