A Memorable Experience: Uluru Rock
The Land Down Under
During my Sophomore year at university, I had the opportunity to study abroad. This process took a long time as in the beginning I had to decide where to go. Sweden was my first choice; I never been to Scandinavia and one day hoped to be there. However, due to unfortunate circumstances I was unable to do Sweden. But that did not stop me, I’ve done my research and lo and behold I found Australia. Australia was one of the many places that I wanted to visit on my bucket list. So I jumped onto my computer and did my research. Low and behold I found the University of Adelaide, right in the middle of Adelaide, South Australia. It took months of paperwork and countless meetings with the Study Abroad counselor. But I made it happen, the call I got from the International Exchange Organization telling me that I was accepted made me the happiest person on the face of the world.
The education system is different in Australia as it starts in February and goes until November. I went during the second term so my summer break was cut short. The program was six months long and I took every opportunity to explore and experience the life as an Australian. Australia is known as the land down under and is home to a variety of animals. The first thing I did when I landed in Cairns was a trip to an animal conservancy where I got to hold a Koala and meet so many birds and kangaroos. That welcoming trip was fun and before I knew it was time travel to Adelaide where I will start the school term. For the six months I lived there I studied anthropology and sociology. Even went on trips on my own to travel and see Australia’s beauty. From scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, seeing Uluru Rock, and even taking up a surfing lesson. As well as weekend trips to Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
However, there was one particular place that made my jaw drop. Ayers Rock or as the aboriginals call it, Uluru Rock. Known as one of the largest rocks in the world it is truly a beautiful site to see. Along with its neighbor Kata Tjuta, Uluru Rock is one of the most visited spots in Australia of whom like me want to marvel at its beauty day and night. As the sunsets and sunrises were very luminous. As I recall this experience, I think about the camping trip I signed up for. It was the kind of camping trip where I would be sleeping in a sleeping bag under the stars and hiking throughout the wonderful park. Luckily for me I am in very good shape and love the outdoors, which made this trip easier. I took a bus from Adelaide to Alice Springs, which was a whole day’s drive. From there I stayed at a hostel for the night to be well rested for the adventure the next morning.
On the first day, I had to wake up at five in the morning, it was still dark and I was very tired. I went with the Rock Tour, which is a program for tourist to go see the rocks and enjoy camping too. The ride itself was six hours as the park was in the middle of the Outback as the Outback is a huge area in Australia. That was why my group had to leave early in the morning, to at least get to the park at earlier time. When we arrived there it was a twenty-five dollar fee to get into the park, I paid my fee and had some time to relax and stroll around the area for awhile for our next activity. I have only been outside a little bit and I was already sweating as it was recording breaking and in the middle of the summer.
The first place we hiked was at Kings Canyon which is not far from the rock. It was a long hike and it was very hot outside (then again it was the Outback) but hey I had so much fun and got in more shape during that three day trip. The hike was worth it, the scenery was beautiful filled with red and brown colors. The bright blue sky stood on top of the canyon and green scrubs were spread across the rocks. I remember walking through the canyon with my tour group looking all over the place and seeing the landscape. We even had the opportunity to swim in a waterhole that was in the middle of the canyon. The water was cold which made it refreshing on a hot summer day.
When the day was coming to an end, my group drove to a small camp area where settled our things and ate dinner (which was a mixture of foods our guide had and very delicious by the way). We set up sleeping bags in front of the fire and boy did it get cold very fast. Luckily I packed a sweater and warm pants to keep me warm at night. I can recall being so mesmerized as I looked at the night sky, I could visibly see more stars than I have ever in my lifetime as well as the milky way, which was extremely gorgeous. It was a memorable experience sleeping under the stars for the first time.
The next day, day two, everyone woke up very early to drive to Uluru rock for the sunrise. Watching the sunrise from pure darkness to a bright sunny day as indeed beautiful. After the sunrise, it was time to hike the rock. Before started the hike, the tour guide told us stories and what the hike will entail. The tour guide told us about about the origins of the rock and the aboriginal history behind it. He said that aboriginals do not climb the rock and out of respect we were told that we would not being climbing the rock compared to the other tourists who were climbing it. Uluru Rock is a sacred ground and despite the various signs and warnings about climbing it, people still do it. So as a sacred ground I was okay with not climbing the rock.
As the day was about to end, my group went back to the viewing area to witness the sunset. It was just as beautiful as the sunrise. Then we left for the campsite where we slept under the stars again. Then came day three, the final day, the trip came to an end and the guide was sending us back to the starting point. I then left the Northern Territory and back to Adelaide to continue my studies.
Long story short, my trip to Uluru Rock was awesome. As for the rest of my Australian experience, it was a little awkward at first for not knowing anyone. But I survived. I’ve met the most amazing people and made memorable friendships. There is so much I could write about my study abroad experience. This was one of the best experience of my life, I want to come back, and the only thing I regret about Australia is that I had to leave. As there is still so much more I want to see.