Awe-inspiring adventure in Australia for a Malaysian family


Uluru in Alice Springs is a Unesco World Heritage Site that should not be missed. — Photos: EE FU MEI

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When my son invited me to explore the Northern Territory in Australia from north to south, my initial reaction was: “I am afraid I need to consider how challenging it might be!”

Despite recognising that summer might not be the most favourable time for such a journey, I eventually embraced his sincere invitation to this desert-like Outback region.

From Malaysia, we took a flight to Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. Darwin is a vibrant city known for its unique blend of cultures and natural beauty. It is the gateway to some of Australia’s iconic national parks like Kakadu and Litchfield, offering a stunning landscape of waterfalls, ancient rock formations, and diverse wildlife.

The Darwin Waterfront was our first destination. It is a popular spot for recreation, dining, and enjoying breathtaking sunsets. The multicultural atmosphere is reflected in its markets, festivals, and culinary scene, where fusion of Asian, Aboriginal, and contemporary Australian flavours can be found.

In the middle of our hectic schedules in Darwin, we managed to devote just half a day in exploring the Darwin Waterfront. We enjoyed immersing in the sunset glow and splendid Christmas celebration.

The writer checking out the Christmas decorations at Darwin Waterfront.The writer checking out the Christmas decorations at Darwin Waterfront.

The next morning, we began the 1,000km self-drive journey, driving about 10 hours a day from Darwin to Tennant Creek. It was an incredible experience; sometimes we barely saw other vehicles on the road.

Tennant Creek is a town that’s known for its rich Indigenous history and cultural heritage, and it serves as a gateway to the vast and rugged landscapes of the Australian Outback. The town is situated approximately 500km north of Alice Springs.

With a population that reflects the multicultural fabric of Australia, Tennant Creek offers a unique blend of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. The area has historically been inhabited by the Warumungu people, and visitors can explore their traditions and art at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre.

Tennant Creek gained prominence during the gold rush in the late 19th century, and remnants of that era, such as Battery Hill Mining Centre, provide insights into the town’s mining history.

Despite its relatively small size, the town plays a crucial role as a service centre for the surrounding cattle stations and mining operations. Travellers passing through often use Tennant Creek as a stopover point along the Stuart Highway.

Karlu Karlu, also known as the Devils Marbles, is a remarkable natural attraction in Tennant Creek.Karlu Karlu, also known as the Devils Marbles, is a remarkable natural attraction in Tennant Creek.

Karlu Karlu, also known as the Devils Marbles, is a remarkable natural attraction featuring large granite boulders scattered across the landscape. We were truly stunned by the “massive rocks” standing steadily all around.

The picturesque landscapes of Tennant Creek are characterised by vast expanses of red dirt and unique geological formations.

While Tennant Creek may not be as widely known as some other Australian destinations, its cultural significance, mining history, and the stunning outback scenery make it a compelling stop for those exploring the Northern Territory.The state’s main attraction is of course Alice Springs, a major settlement situated between Darwin and Adelaide in South Australia, and serving as the gateway to Uluru. The region is renowned for its Indigenous population and culture, visible through nearby communities and art centres.

Formerly known as Ayers Rock, Uluru is made of sandstone about half a billion years old. It stands at 348m high and has a circumference of 9.4km. Uluru is at its most stunning around sunrise and sunset, when the golden light makes the rock’s colours come alive.

Uluru is also the world’s largest stand-alone sandstone rock, and is a must-visit for tourists. The journey from Alice Springs to Uluru takes approximately four and a half hours, showcasing breathtaking scenery of blue skies, endless bushlands, and the vastness of the Outback.

A stunning view of the Simpsons Gap in Alice Springs.A stunning view of the Simpsons Gap in Alice Springs.

Surrounding Alice Springs are stunning natural landscapes, including the West MacDonnell Ranges and the Todd River. Exploring along the magnificent 160km-long MacDonnell Ranges is like seeing a natural “great wall”.

We checked out several landmarks along the way, such as the Simpsons Gap, Ormiston Gorge Waterhole and Stanley Chasm, each evoking a sense of mystery and sanctity.

Despite the 15-hour drive from Darwin to Alice Springs, the journey proved to be worthwhile. This place, a fusion of natural landscapes and cultural heritage, captivates tourists and researchers alike. As a nature enthusiast, I truly enjoyed the adventurous exploration.

The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.

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