IMAGINE hopping in a car on Christmas Day and driving about 2200 kilometres in 50 hours into central Australia to see Uluru — for four hours — then turning around to drive home again.
Factor in temperatures in the mid-40s and wildlife wandering across the road and most people would probably opt to sit back and enjoy their Christmas festivities at home.
However, seven adventurous Taiwanese workers from Warrnambool’s Midfield meatworks were up for the challenge and have the photographs, sore bums and smiles to prove they made the epic trip and survived.
Taking turns in three-hour stints to drive and keeping alert by drinking coffee and Red Bull, they left Warrnambool in their two Holden sedans at 4am on Wednesday for the Red Centre, arriving at “the rock” and back home at 6am Sunday. It cost them about $800 in fuel for each car.
Their only drama was being accosted by drunks at Coober Pedy and handing over Coke and fries to appease their “attackers”.
Last night they ticked off another goal by flying to Sydney for the New Year fireworks at the harbour bridge. They plan to return this afternoon in time for a sleep before starting their early-morning work shift.
Three months ago they saw the Great Barrier Reef during a trip to Cairns and later this year plan to embark on a flying visit (literally) to New Zealand before returning to their homeland when their work visas expire next year.
Most travellers usually put considerable thought into such a long trip, but the intrepid Taiwanese started their planning for Uluru only a few days earlier and followed directions via GPS navigation on their mobile phones. By the time they got to Coober Pedy the magnitude of their undertaking had sunk in, but they’d gone too far to turn back.
“We had five days for Christmas break and wanted to see more than just around the coast in Victoria,” Angela Gao said.
“Uluru is famous and we wanted to see it. Although it was a very long drive and the temperature was about 44 degrees we are so happy to have seen it.
“The stars were beautiful. We saw many kangaroos, cattle and camels and the soil was so red.”
Yesterday after work they drove to Melbourne to catch a plane scheduled to arrive in Sydney at 10pm. They hoped to catch a taxi into the harbour precinct in time for the fireworks show.
After a few hours wandering the city they planned to catch a noon flight today for Melbourne and another road trip back to Warrnambool.