REVIEW; Groovy Grape “Desert Tracker”, Australia
When I first starting planning my trip to Australia, I didn’t really have much nailed down on what and where I wanted to go – apart from 3 things – I was landing in Melbourne, I’d be in Sydney for Christmas and NYE, and I wanted to see The Red Centre.
Thankfully I met a like minded girl – Linda – who had one of those dreams to match mine and it didn’t take us long to team up and book our trip from Adelaide to Alice Springs with ‘Groovy Grape’ [GG] Tours.
Our trip “The Desert Patrol” would take us from Adelaide, covering the Flinders Ranges, Oodnadatta Track, Coober Pedy, Uluru, Kings Canyon amongst many places in between before finally reaching Alice Springs in 7days/6nights with all meals and transport included.
A beautiful introduction into the Aussie outback without the hassle of getting lost, breaking down or ending up as an extra in Wolfcreek!
Getting Back to Nature
One of the great things about our GG trip was our tour guide was passionate about his work. You could tell by the way he spoke of the places we saw and the aboriginal stories we were told that he loved what he was doing and respected the land we were on.
It was definitely a world away from the commercialisation and sterotype of taking a tour.
For me, I really felt it passed onto our group and were taken in by the magic of Aboriginal life – and that’s what the Red Centre is all about.
One of the main reasons I decided on the GG trip was the opportunity to sleep under the stars, and I wasn’t disappointed. Kitted up with ‘swags’ (the Aussie equivalent of a sleeping bag tent on steroids!) our bed for 3 of the nights was the gorgeous red sand landscape and the sky was our ceiling.
As you can imagine, with no light pollution – the stars were stunning. If you were lucky enough to stay up after the moon had ‘set’ the stars became even brighter – a real must.
Well Set Out
Included in this tour are three treks, and thankfully GG have sensibly timed them to start just as the sun is rising.
Because, by the time you have finished your walk the heat of the day is truly setting in!Smart idea, when you consider how hot it truly gets out there.
Tip; Don’t be an idiot like me and forget to drink enough water after trekking the base of Uluru! 3.5km’s later your head will be pounding and you’ll want to vomit! Water is a MUST… and rehydration tabs are a good idea too despite how horrible they taste!
So Lets Talk Dollar…
When I did my trip it set me back just over $850AUD.
I’ve noticed that the price has now reached AUD$925 since then which is pretty pricey at £620 for one week.
However if you take into consideration how much distance you are covering (953miles), as well as your meals (6B, 7L, 6D – which are more than adequate portion wise!) and the mass of places you are exploring (I haven’t even covered half of it, like visiting a baby kangaroo sanctuary, digging for your own Opals, riding on native camels, seeing authentic Aboriginal rock paintings, witnessing sunrises over Uluru…). the cost is totally worth every dollar.
The Bottom Line
The only downside of this trip is that it didn’t last long enough – I would’ve loved the opportunity to explore the Outback for longer! But personally thought this was an amazing trip.
My personal highlight was visiting and spending the night at the ‘underground town’ of Coober Pedy – it even has it’s own golf course of all things!
If the Red Centre is on your list, then I’d recommend Groovy Grape to anyone. You are taken back with nature, living like true Aussie’s in your swags, cooking over a hot stove, learning heaps along the way, seeing sights you could only dream of and creating memories you will hold forever – It’s a trip that is worth every last cent.