Our First Camp – Uluru Resort Campground
We started out this morning from Alice Springs at just before six this morning. At 12:45 we got our first sight of what we had come to see...........
............ we arrived at the main Ayres Rock Resort just before two.
David our guide and driver had to nip off to pick up three youngster from Taiwan, meanwhile the rest of us got stuck in to preparing lunch. Janice took charge of us. Sarah found opening cans a real challenge and somehow tried to head butt them open..... Burgers on the griddle, salad chopped and camaraderie all round.
An orderly queue to gather lunch. A real Aussie burger and all the trimmings. After we had eaten we all washed up, dried, put away and then time for formal introductions. We represented Australia, England, France, Germany, New Zealand, Scotland, Taiwan, USA and David is originally from Canada. Our ages ranged from twenty one to seventy two. The happy group were now ready to go to see the world famous rock.
Sunset. After a very long, exciting and tiring day, it was time to return to camp for griddled chicken, vegetables, pasta and salad. Showers and swag lesson......
David demonstrated what to do with our swag. Choose one from the shed. Take it into the hangar, unzip both sides and rummage under the thin mattress. Check it all over for stray items left by the last user, empty out sand and a cursory check for creatures. Gather a sleeping bag. Take the lot outside and choose a site. Unroll, making sure the fastening straps are flat on the ground ready for easy furling on the morrow. Unflap the flap which acts as a ground sheet if your pillow falls off the top end. Unzip both sides. Sleeping bag in situ, get in and sleep peacefully under the stars. “Oh, don’t forget to tuck your shoes under the whole thing in case dingoes carry them off.” Splendid. By the time we were all settled it was about half past ten, we were due up at four thirty and there was a real party going on in the camp next door.....
On the way back from the shower I took a set of shrubs too soon and found myself in an area strewn with what looked like a swarm of caterpillars. Back to our own camp and that’s what we all looked like. We had brought our own sleeping bags so we used the provided ones as extra cushioning. Me being a cold body, got into my bag and zipped it up then got Bear to zip both side of my swag. By the time I had turned over a couple of times I was fairly cocooned, the stars went in for a while and things got pretty damp. Beds ears shot back and I don’t think this malarkey is for him, I’m not sure it is for me either. Remarkably comfortable except for a damp head. Huh. What with struggling to keep my own pillow in the right place, my sweat top in case I got cold, Beds, my flip flops, my juice and keeping tabs on my lipsalve, I think I had a solid hour and rested for the other. I did look at the stars, good - but nothing like off the coast of Morocco. Overall, fun, but perhaps not again, it will be interesting to see who does it again tonight......... After we got back to Alice Springs we looked at what swags were all about.
Swags at AU$199 – the type we had slept in, $399 and $569
In Australia and New Zealand, a swag is a portable sleeping unit. It is normally a bundle of belongings rolled in a traditional fashion to be carried by a foot traveller in the bush. Before motor transport was common, foot travel over long distances was essential to agriculture in the Australian bush. It is sometimes referred to as a "backpack bed". Swags have been carried by shearers, miners, the unemployed, and many others, some of whom would have been happy to have been called swagmen and some not.
Modern use: In Australian and New Zealand, the term swag is still widely used to refer to a tent or other portable shelter used for camping or outdoor sleeping.
The Rolls-Royce swag at AU$749.00 down side – quite heavy.
A modern swag is a waterproof canvas sleeping compartment that is sometimes insect-proof. All swags come with a foam mattress, and can comfortably be slept in with the addition of a pillow and sleeping bag. When rolled up the swag is relatively lightweight and compact, making it ideal for storage and transport. It is typically easy to erect and roll up can be done quickly. Swags are still heavily used, particularly in Australia, by overlanders. There are still a large number of manufacturers actively making both standard and custom-design swags. The modern swag is designed for robustness and is marketed towards those travelling by vehicle - they are too heavy and bulky to be transported long distances on foot. Bushwalkers and hikers would use conventional lightweight tents and sleeping bags. More recently, several camping supply firms have produced readymade bedrolls along the pattern of the original swag, and refer to these as "swags".
Swags stowed, off we went to our sunrise special. Due back for lunch and packing up.
ALL IN ALL SLEEPING IN THE RED CENTRE
VERY WELL ORGANISED