Reflecting back on my trip – Travelling to Central Australia

Today I thought we could look back on my trip and what I thought was good, what I didn’t like and what I would do differently. This will probably be the last major post on the trip.

This trip was not the longest I’ve ever been on, but it felt epic. It was by far the most expensive trip I have done. New Zealand was just over $2K, this was over $4K and for less time. No wonder Aussies travel overseas rather than visiting their own country. It is cheaper.


It was my idea to drive there. I don’t regret the decision as I think you really get to see the countryside that you wouldn’t otherwise. However, it is a lot of driving. I really struggled with it.

I know Suzzanna loved it and she didn’t mind driving, but I found being stuck in the car for that long really hard. I find it hard to sit still at any time, so being in a car was just exhausting. I didn’t really understand it as I drive to my mum’s all the time and while it is only 4 to 5 hours I’ve never had a problem.

In Suzzanna’s car, I just kept wanting to sleep. I was so tired all the time. It was confusing. Thank you to Suzzanna for doing most of the driving. We have agreed if we ever did it again she would do all the driving.

I think it would have been better to have spread the driving out a lot more and spent more days getting there.


It was a bit of a hit-and-miss with this. While we were trying to keep the prices down, we realise now that maybe it would have been better to have spent more money onCoober Pedy accommodation.

The place at Yulara was nice, but it was basic and I think we were both disappointed with the Lost Camel. I found it noisy and very light at night. I like to sleep in the dark. At home, the room I sleep in is almost completely black. I love it.

In Alice Springs the photos that were used to advertise on the website were made up just for that. Believe you me the rooms we stayed in did not look anything like the photos. They were outdated and really needed a lot of work. If you are going to Alice I would give the Diplomat Hotel a miss. Find somewhere else.

The only good thing about the Diplomat was its location to everything. We were right in the heart of Alice Springs and close to galleries for looking at the artwork.

It is funny that the places we stayed in on the way up and the way back, in many ways were much better. All four of them were good, basically. No complaints from me.

The sights

Uluru and the Kata Tjuta

It has to be said that the whole point of going on this trip was to see Uluru. I think it is one of those things that nearly most Australians would love to see at least once in their lifetime.

I grew up calling it Ayers Rock and seeing photos of it in a book that I had called Beautiful Australia. It definitely was worth seeing. It is so much bigger than you think it will be.

While there were a lot of people there, and I think we were there at peak season or close to it, there never seemed to be masses of people. When I remember back to that morning when we were in Wanaka at the tree there and how horrible it was. Here is a link to the blog post if you want to read about it, click here. There always seemed to be enough space.

I think the only time I found it hard was the Field of Lights and that was more because people don’t know how to use their phone cameras and flashes kept going off. It always amazes me how people use their flash for landscape photography. It really doesn’t do anything unless what you are photographing is up close. Suzzanna did help one woman with her phone.

So overall it was great to see the rock and photograph it.

GFX50S II and 35mm

Kata Tjuta

Growing up this was called The Olgas. I had no idea how close to Uluru it was. I really only went to it once and I wish I could have explored it more.

There are more regrets about this place. The day we had planned to go again I wasn’t well. Not much I could do about that, but it would have been good to visit it a few times.

The biggest regrets

At Yulara, I wish we had stayed at least one to two more nights there. Plus stayed at a much better hotel.

The other thing that I regret was not knowing more about the place and what a tourist trap it was. I mean there is nothing we can do about that, but if we had known, perhaps we would have been more prepared for it. We could have saved more money for the trip knowing it was going to cost us a lot.

I also wish we had done more research about the time. I would have loved to be able to photograph the Milky Way out there, but we were closer to the full moon than new moon. That was a huge disappointment.

Alice Springs

I think what we did around Alice was perfect. I know there are places that Suzzanna would like to have done but didn’t because of her ankle. Twisting her ankle a couple of weeks before we went wasn’t good and it meant there were things she couldn’t do. Though having said that she really surprised me with lots of the things she did do.

The time we spent there was long enough. It wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. For a place that has a population of 25000 people, I think I was thinking that it would be more like the cities we have in Victoria, but it was more like a big country town. That surprised me.

I did the things I wanted to do so I am happy about that. I think the only thing I regret is the accommodation.

The gear

The Fujifilm GFX 50S II

What a great camera. I wasn’t sure about this one. I knew I wanted to try it and I’m glad I did.

It wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be and overall was easy to use. It was fun taking it out. I don’t regret taking it with me. I probably didn’t use it as much as I could have, but I think I got a good feel for it.

I think the place it really wins is the processing. I love processing the photos from it. There is so much information in those files. I also think it gave you a really good representation of what you were actually seeing. I am definitely going to miss it when it comes to sunrises and sunsets.

The two lenses I had were the 35-70mm and the 100-200mm. I mainly used the first one as it seemed like wide angle was the way to go most times. I did use the other one, but only once.

Other Fujifilm gear

The only other thing I borrowed from Fujifilm was the 100-400mm for my X-T3. It was a great lens to have at the Adelaide zoo.

Carrying it around was hard because it is a very heavy lens, but I really appreciated having it for the pandas.

The Wacom Cintiq Pro 16

When I first contacted Wacom here in Australia I was really after the Mobile StudioPro, as that is what I have used on trips in the past. I was told that they would be discontinuing them, so I thought it might be a good opportunity to try a Cintiq.

I have been curious about these for a long time. My husband and I thought about me getting one a few years ago, but then we saw the price. So needless to say I never got one.

I’m not going to review it, as I have already done a post on that and you can find that post by clicking here.

For travelling, I didn’t find it as convenient as I had hoped it would be. It is a very large unit and heavy. It was fine if we were staying somewhere for a few days that had a desk where you could set it up. It wasn’t as easy to just get it out and pop it on your lap.

Now that I have done it, I would travel with one like it again. I liked the idea of the tablet for working on images, but I think I would want something smaller and easier to move around. Something lighter really. I have the Huion Kamvas Pro 13 (2.5k) so I think that would be perfect for me the next time I go away.

The bigger tablets are fantastic for home, and I loved using it here. It was better when you could just set it up and leave it like that.


It was a fantastic trip. I got to see things that I thought I might never see.

There are also the parts that were wonderfully surprising, like Coober Pedy. I had no idea that I would fall in love with it. I do wish we had spent maybe one more day there.

Now that we have done it I think if we were doing it again we would do it differently. More days in Yulara I think. I also suspect we would try to find somewhere that had some sort of kitchen so we could cook our own meals. Part of the reason it was so expensive was we had to eat out for every meal. You never feel healthy after that.

I would break up the driving a lot more.

I have to admit after seeing lots of blogs with people travelling in vans I wouldn’t mind trying it. Not sure I ever will, but I like the idea.

The trip was great, I am so glad I went. I am not sure I would ever go back. It was a very expensive trip and that is something I didn’t really like.

Another thing I realised is that I don’t think I like being away from home for that long. I don’t know if it was the pandemic or what, but I hated being away. I couldn’t wait to get home again. I might plan smaller trips now. No longer than a week I think.

I have some of those planned for next year, but I have gone on enough now, so I will end it here. If you are still reading, thank you.

You might be interested in …


    1. There are large distances, I think the US is the same, but the difference here is that we don’t have the population. Still, most main roads have lots of people on travelling on them. I wouldn’t go off the main roads, I don’t think. Thank you.

    2. Hey… I’m based in England. My uncle flew from Dubai to Australia. He said he would fall asleep for a bit and they would be flying over desert – then he would wake up again a few hours later and they would seemingly br flying over the same desert. Ursula K Le Guin wrote an interesting short story about the out back in her collection “A Fisherman of the Inland Sea”.

    3. I don’t think it is that bad, it only takes 4 hours to fly from one side of the country to the other. Maybe he flew over Africa as well. Australia is much the same size as the US, just a little smaller. The outback is very different and very dangerous in many ways.

    1. People get to know me through the blog. I’m sorry, but I never ever give out my number. I know a lot of people through this blog and I don’t give them my number either.

    1. I think I don’t like travelling that much, so any excuse to complain really, lol. I am with you on the back pain that is bad. You sound like a better traveller than me.

    1. Thank you Patricia. I wonder how much it has changed since you were there. YOu are no longer allowed to climb the rock and everything has been removed.

    2. The traditional owners didn’t want people climbing it because it is a sacred site. I didn’t mind, I get it. We wouldn’t like people climbing all over churches.

  1. Driving too many hours has been the bane of many of our trips. We are much better about it now than we used to be, probably because we are too old to sit in a car for 10 or more hours at a time. I switched to a 4/3 camera almost 20 years ago, in my early 50s. I’ve been on keyboards — including piano, typewriters, and computers — since I was 4 years old and my right arm and shoulder are at the end of their run. Balancing a heavy camera became a serious issue. I passed the big Canon to my granddaughter and moved on the the Olympus 4/3 in its many permutations. Recently, my granddaughter gave in and said she couldn’t keep using the big Canon. As it happened, I had enough cameras and lenses for more than one grandchild.

    The best long trip we ever took was Ireland. We were there for three weeks and we should have made it four. The only specific plans we made were for arriving, departing and one place we absolutely were determined to see — and did. We didn’t make any accommodation arrangements. Stayed at B&Bs. There are tons of them in Ireland. They give you a book with all the B&B listings when you arrive at the Shannon.

    I never regret the things I’ve done, but I often regret things I didn’t do that I SHOULD have done, so I really relate to this post. Even buying things along the way, especially because I somehow knew we’d never be back, I regret what I didn’t buy. Life’s funny. I almost never regret what I do. I save all the regretting for what I SHOULD have done!

    If I were younger, healthier, and a lot richer, Australia and New Zealand would be at the top of my to do travel list. But we are too old and too poor, so I learn from posts like yours.

    1. I know what you mean about the weight, that is a big reason why I changed from Nikon to Fujifilm. It saved my back. Though I still have my Nikon as I don’t have a macro lens for the Fuji, so I use my Nikon for that. But that is about all. You are a great grandmother, so nice, I bet they all love you more for that.

      I think no knowing how much time to be somewhere is the biggest problem. YOu never really know how much you want to really do until you get there. I would have loved to do Ireland one day, but sadly I think overseas travel is out for me now.

      I know what you mean about the regrets. I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes my laziness gives me my biggest ones.
      It would have been great to show you around my part of the world. I do understand though and let’s face it, Australia is a very expensive country to visit. We even think so. Thank you Marilyn.

    1. Thank you Bushboy.
      I did wonder about that, but then the grammar checker I use didn’t pick it up, so I have assumed you can do it either way.

  2. I’m curious how long you’ve been using the GFX 50S II. I’d be interested to see the difference between the RAW/SOOC files before you apply your touch to them.

    I am seriously considering trying to get a GFX 100S for the portrait/landscape work I’m getting into.. I’m having a hard time justifying the extra price for the phase detect AF (which is partly why I’m looking beyond the 50s II. Also, my Canon 5DS R has similar specs with the benefit long-reach lenses for the wild horses trips and that sort of thing). I find the idea of 16-bit RAW files more valuable. I don’t have a social media presence, so I doubt Fuji will loan me one; but I’m thinking about asking anyway.

    I love my medium format film cameras… and I know I can’t entirely ditch the Canon ecosystem for some of the stuff I like to do… So I keep talking myself off the ledge.

    1. I have to admit it was my first time ever using a medium format camera. I had always wanted to, but this was my first chance.
      I guess it never hurts to ask. They are massive files. I think my husband would kill me as I fill up all our storage as it is now.
      I know what you mean, I won’t be getting this system, I like all my other Fujifilm cameras though. Thanks Matt, nice to hear from you.

  3. Leanne, it was great to read a review of your trip. When we’ve traveled the U.S., we always took a trailer (we’ve had a few). We checked the prices of towing one vs. driving a car and staying in hotels and eating out. It was pretty much a wash. However, I like to have my own bed and the availability of cooking our meals. I don’t like eating out that much. I’m glad you enjoyed your adventure and will do it again. Oh, I also fall asleep in a car if I’m not driving!

    1. Thank you Anne, I have to admit, I wouldn’t like to tow a trailer, or caravan as we call them, but the idea of your bed being with you would be great. I always like to be able to cook, it really keeps the costs down. It is funny about the car thing, I felt so guilty.

  4. The next time you go back there, you will be prepared, Leanne. I had no idea that Alice Springs had such a large population.

    1. I definitely will John, though like your country Australia is huge and there are so many other places to go first, so not sure I will get back there. I had no idea either about Alice Springs, it was a surprise.
      Thank you John.

    1. I’m glad to hear I could show you some of it. I love living here most of the time. I hope you get to visit for real one day. Thank you.

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