After leaving Coober Pedy, our next overnight stop was in a small town called Marla. This was the first opportunity to roll out our sleeping bags. The camp was in a secluded area that we only had to share with another Adventure Tours group. It was exciting because this was my idea of the Outback, and we were finally here.
The campsite consisted of several permanent tents, a main kitchen tent with a stove and running water and a shower and toilet block. When we arrived, it was already getting dark and we could hear dingoes howling in the distance. We split up in groups of four and claimed a tent. My tent mates were Alba from Spain and Corinne and Freddy from Germany. Inside the tents there were wooden bunks with thin mattress pads. We had our choice of this or sleeping outside under the stars.
Corinne and I decided to take a shower while we could still find our way back to camp. We didn’t want to get lost in the bush after dark. Who knew what kinds of animals were out there (although I was more concerned with the spiders than anything else)? The showers and toilets were in decent condition considering we were camping. Most importantly, there were no bugs and the showers had hot water.
Jason whipped up a stir fry for dinner, which was really awesome. I was happily surprised with our meals on this section of the tour. They were a lot more substantial (but so was the hiking) than sandwiches with cold cuts. After dinner, most of us went back to our tents to sort out our sleeping situations. Some people, like Alba and Freddy, hung out by the fire and chatted with the other tour group.
Here in the Outback, the sky seemed enormous. There wasn’t any artificial light to pollute the sky like there is in the city and it was a clear, cloudless night. I had never seen so many stars in my life. I wish I could’ve taken a photo of it (I tried but it didn’t come out) because it was really amazing. There were hundreds of stars – some big and bright, some small and twinkly – and I could’ve spent hours just looking at them.
It really made you feel tiny as you looked at the vastness of space. I was never really a star gazer and can’t even name more than one constellation, but the sky was truly inspiring. There’s no other word for it than WOW! This is the kind of experience I was looking for and one that I’ll always remember.