Our last week of travel in Australia before being stopped by the COVID-19. This is our route from Melbourne, Uluru to Darwin.
This week marked our move from the South East to the North of Australia and another turn in our MRW! We thought long and hard about what to do next and decided to cancel our flight to Nice, as the Coronavirus is now widespread in France. We should know more about our program in the next few days, hoping not to have to make any changes once again.
As for Ayers Rock, we did not go to Alice Springs (for those who know it) or Kings Canyon unfortunately… Firstly because it was a lot of driving for us and the kids (3h30 one way just to Kings Canyon), and secondly because we had to take time (a lot) to contact Aeroplan. The opportunity to go at our own pace.
Last days in Melbourne
Last Sunday, the children had fun in a new park again. I had the opportunity to discover an installation with 4 swings, a first.
In the afternoon, after a full briefing to our babysitter for the day, we headed off to the Ultra Melbourne music festival for some fresh air.
I don’t know if there are milesopedians like us, but festivals are the occasion for us to clear our heads, discover new DJs to the sound of an electrifying atmosphere and of course to find ourselves together.
It was the last major music festival around the world with widespread containment due to COVID-19.
The next day, I took the opportunity to let Jean-Maximilien work all day and go out with the kids to the Melbourne Museum. The Museum is surrounded by the Carlton Gardens, an exhibition center and a playground among other things.
The Melbourne Museum is a natural history museum perfectly designed for children, with a large children’s section and various exhibits. We can learn about bacteria, dinosaurs and species from around the world, and dreams among other things. I really loved it.
They liked the museum so much that we spent a good part of the day there. And we finised by going to… guess where? An outdoor park! Which was just as great and worth the detour!
The surrounding area is much more family friendly, with more open and green spaces than the center. The tram makes it easy to get around, especially since it is free throughout the center, as already mentioned last week.
I would conclude by saying that Melbourne is an artistic, cosmopolitan and cultural city with a rich nightlife. A nice melting pot that reminded me of Montreal in a way. The quality of life is very good and the atmosphere quite friendly. The skyscrapers and hotels are rising rapidly and one notices a very stylish design and architecture. A paradise for those who love to go out and eat.
Flight Melbourne - Ayers Rock with Jetstar
We left our Airbnb before 7am. Getting up was a bit difficult for the children. However, we can tell they got used to it, preparing them becomes very easy. We had time to take a break in the airport lounge and have breakfast.
The kids had fun with the available massage chairs and led me to test it at the same time. A treat! So much so that I pushed Jean-Maximilien to try too. A surprised man (laughs).
The suitcases were weighed again. 7kg allowed per person. It’s always a tricky optimization that requires a good organization, but we always end up checking in a suitcase (phew).
The flight was full. All of this was well orchestrated by the stewards. Nothing was served on board, however, since it is low-cost. Once arrived, a landscape of red earth awaits us. An arrival in the middle of the Australian desert, far from everything, where the heat falls on you (40 degrees Celsius)
As we left the plane, another thing strikes us: the flies. They are EVERYWHERE, coming at us, trying to get into every orifice… preventing us from breathing properly. Horrible.
So much so that the first thing Jean-Maximilien did when we arrived at our room at the Emu-Walk Apartments, was to go and buy us some nets!
Try to put a net on a two year old … Arthur is a very, very scared little boy, we had a hard time even though he couldn’t stand flies. I finally succeeded after a few times outside, putting my net with him until he gained confidence and understood the point of it.
Uluru or Ayers Rock
To be honest, we didn’t have the heart to visit much this week, nor to participate in the guided tours or group events organized by the resort. The buses were still coming in, as if nothing had happened. On top of the flies, Covid-19 has made a mess of the around the world and for our trip. We had to revise our plans, itineraries and priorities several times.
There were many activities on offer. But our choices were quickly made. Many of them were not possible with our children (too young) and we did not really see the point of some of them such as telescope observation, cocktails or breakfast/dinner outside with all those flies present.
Entrance to the national park is $25 per person and gives access to Uluru and the Olgas Mountains for 3 days, payable in advance online. People are reminded that it is now forbidden to climb the rock.
Several hikes are possible, some of which are easy, but we only did some of them partially, as the children refused to walk more than 15 minutes in the net and under the stifling heat. A must do to learn more about the aboriginal culture as well as the peaceful atmosphere and silence of the place!
The day after our arrival at the Resort, we were able to see the sunrise on Uluru around 7:00am with a rainbow on the rock, as well as several sunsets the following days. It’s crowded, but there’s room for everyone.
The Uluru rock is still impressive. 348m high (the Eiffel Tower is 324m high). We admired it extensively from different vantage points and at different times of the day. Depending on whether there were clouds, the sky could take on colours ranging from golden yellow to pale pink. The best is at sunrise, in my opinion, to observe the most beautiful shades of red that the rock took.
Here are some pictures of sunset:
Kata Tjuta (meaning “many heads” or called the Olgas Mountains) is worth the detour; however the observatories do not offer a breathtaking view, in my opinion. Either too far or too close. I still really liked the silhouette view of these 36 domes, when the sun was setting.
Thanks to the Wintjiri Arts and Museum, we were able to learn more about these rocky mountains, Anangu art and the flora and fauna of this region. We also participated in a presentation on local consumable plants, and a quick cooking demonstration.
Alexandra and Arthur had been asking for a zoo for the last few days. So, in order to make the children discover new species, we watched Red Desert Reptiles, a very instructive show about the survival of these reptiles in these desert territories.
The experiment took place on a camel farm. Alexandra had a great time watching them and feeding them afterwards.
An experience not unlike Monument Valley in Utah, USA. The focus is on Aboriginal culture, Anangu art and their history. Some sites are sacred and must be respected (for example, it is not advisable to take photos in certain places). Rituals are always performed, hidden from view.
Flight Ayers Rock - Darwin
The flight over the red lands of Australia was beautiful and endless. A very good flight with Quantas, very pleasant which makes a nice change from low-cost.
Currently in Darwin for 2 days, at the Double Tree, we are waiting for our flight to Singapore, keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes well. We stopped our visits and tried to stay only the 4 of us.
These last weeks were intense with all the flight changes, Jean-Maximilien spent many hours changing our flights.
We considered several plans. In the end, COVID-19 got the better of us. We had to stop our world tour and come back to Canada on March 17, with a 14-day quarantine.
Our return flights were difficult to plan, as the supply was so scarce with the situation. Countries were closing fast. Direction Singapore, Tokyo, New York and finally Quebec City as United cancelled our last flight to Montreal due to the situation.
On that note, take good care of yourselves and good luck to all, whether you are in the comfort of your home or travelling, we are with you! We hope that the situation will improve quickly.