OK... home again safe and sound and now I have some time to bore you all with my Oz trip details. It will have to come in "Chapters"!
There turned out to be more drama with getting to Alice Springs than I was expecting. First I was nearly late getting across the Tasman when my Palmie plane was 15 minutes late, then they took 20 minutes to offload the luggage at Auckland domestic. With an hour left before the flight to Sydney, they rang through to get a "standby" seat number for me!!!! Phew. I wish Qantas and Air New Zealand were still talking to one another so my luggage could have been transferred between terminals automatically!
It was easy taking the train through to Central Station in Sydney, then I just had to walk across the road to Central YHA. Comfy and pleasant hostel, though one person in the room got up at 3am, rattled around in their pack with plastic bags etc until 4.30am, then left. I thought half the room had departed, but as daylight hit it was apparent it was only one!
Maybe this disturbed sleep was responsible for my next blooper.
I got back to Sydney Airport in oodles of time. So many oodles I was even at the departure gate an hour early. Wandered away. Came back. Sat down and relaxed. Wondered why we weren't being called when it was well past our boarding time. Suddenly heard my name called over the loud speaker. Rushed to desk as asked. Noone here to talk to. Shhheheeeesh I am supposed to be in the next lounge and they all left! Went onto the plane highly embarrased with everyone else sitting down!!!!! I have never ever done anything like that before and I can assure you I never will again... what an embarrassment!!!!!
I had a window seat though. Cloud covered everything for a while, and just got the merest glimpse of what must have been the Blue Mountains. But soon the cloud cleared and I had magnificent views of the patterns in the dry land below. It had been raining recently, and I was most surprised to see quite a lot of water in some places below.
Duly arrived at YHA in Alice. Had a run in with a surly young woman receptionist when I asked to get a lower bunk as the top bunk I was assigned had no means of climbing up to it. But my room mates were a friendly bunch, and many had been, or were about to go on, an Adventure Tours Australia tour. And my adventure was about to begin.