As part of the activism module, my WeXplore this term was a six-day trip to Alice Springs - which is basically a town in the middle of the red desert in the centre of Australia. It’s hot and dry, and I promise you the dirt and the rocks are genuinely red.
We spent a few nights at a boarding school in Alice Springs and met some local kids our age, it was nice to see what life is like for people who live there. We went into town a couple of times (mostly for snacks) and were brought to a few nearby rock art sites. We spent the last three nights in local indigenous communities, cooking kangaroo and eating around the campfire. We went on walks to lookouts and gorges, and went swimming in rivers and springs.
My favorite part of the experience was our last night in Palm Valley.
We were driven in our van (that was definitely not a 4WD but somehow managed to follow Greg’s ute around) to an area below a rock hill - a big rock, maybe? I don’t know, but it was tall and rocky… Anyway, we climbed this rocky hill and were brought to a beautiful flat lookout - we were the first ‘tourists’ ever brought up there, which was definitely a privilege.
There are no words to describe how beautiful the sunset was. The view was incredible… we were surrounded by red rocks and cliffs, and we watched them all slowly change colour as the sun went down. The air-cooled down, the flies disappeared, and the world was peaceful.
After the sunset, we went back to our camp and had dinner with every single mosquito in central Australia - no, every single ridiculously massive mosquito in Central Australia - they were the size of my fist! But we drenched ourselves in bug spray and didn’t get too many bites, and after we turned the lights off, they left us alone.
We spent the rest of the night around the campfire, and an indigenous man, Conrad, told us Dreamtime stories. The stars were incredible that night, and we were all so grateful to be there to experience that. We ended up deciding to set up our sleeping mats outside under the stars and fell asleep to the view of the night sky.
Overall it was a really incredible experience, spending time in the communities really gave us all an insight into the problems currently facing the indigenous people of Australia. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend going to Central Australia - it’s absolutely stunning.