Since we left Perth eight weeks ago the sun is our best friend. Snorkelling in Coral Bay, or swimming with dolphins, reef sharks and turtles was purely wicked thanks to the 35°C heat. But what happened in Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) is definitely one of the strongest feelings we’ve experienced.
It was raining cats and dogs and surprisingly we loved it and found it wicked. We were on the way to the Olgas, near Uluru, driving in convoy with Dan, Thierry and Flo. We had met Dan in the West MacDonnell Ranges, stuck between two rivers. Anyway, Dan was following Thierry from Belgium, who he’d met on the road to Alice Springs and who drives pretty funnily. Indeed he likes driving from left to right, either to read information or to take pictures!
You wonder if all the Belgians drive the same way and if maybe they deserve their reputation in France. Anyway, we parked our vans and were ready for the Valley of the Winds walk – you’ll see it deserves its name. We started under another nice sun, nearly 30°C. The Olgas are pretty amazing rocks. You’ve got this feeling that everything is huge, high and massive in Australia.
The light was really nice, reflecting awesome colours on the cliffs, proving the Olgas don’t have to be ashamed next to Uluru. For me, the Olgas are as fascinating as their neighbour. Suddenly Dan saw some bloody clouds coming pretty fast on us. Fast did I say? They were f***ing running. In less than a minute we were totally wet. Back home in France, I would probably be really pissed off, but here in Australia you feel different. Everything seems to be better.
Finally it was not so bad, but that was because falls were appearing on the Olgas like they were crying. After five minutes and a fast run, we faced an amazing postcard – a rock, probably Uluru’s younger brother, was crying some waterfalls and it was simply gorgeous.
A few minutes later the sun was already back, hot and we were almost dry. Until now, I agree, nothing exceptional had happened, even if what we saw was beautiful. But after 500 more meters it was here, waiting for us, but even bigger.
This f***ing storm was back, massive, noisy, violent. The atmosphere was crazy. The sky, so blue a few minutes ago, started to be cloudy, even dark. The wind woke up suddenly from his bed.
It was apocalyptic, we couldn’t even walk. The wind changed rain into rocks, it was like a wall we couldn’t pass through and some small trees started to be plucked from the ground, which was pretty scary.
We didn’t even know what to do, where to go. Nature was playing with us. It started to be seriously painful, especially once you’ve been bitten by dark, violent hail stones. “What the hell is going on?” said Dan.
I think one of us replied really realist: “Nothing special, we’re in Australia.” We were between two hills, huddled under a wood table, stuck, powerless but to face the reality. We just had to wait and pray.
But waiting was too hard so we just ran again, which was pretty stupid because it was actually more and more painful, but we were heading to a safer place, a water point we saw earlier.
We arrived there, the worst behind us. It was still apocalyptic, crazy and never seen before for me, but also amazing and I think unforgettable.
You come to Australia to see, live and experience what this country is famous for. I mean being the most dangerous and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited countries.
Crossing the Outback was exciting, but this real Australian Outback experience will remain for me the perfect demonstration of Australian strength.
Photo: WikiCommons, Getty