|The Murphys on Murphy (the Camel)|
I got us booked for the day after Christmas via email, then made payment via phone. The staff was very friendly and answered a few additional questions I had about driving down from Alice Springs. For the ride, she told us we'd only need walking shoes, camera, water, and a wallet... (must have a gift shop).
One thing the lady on the phone said was to look for the man in a cowboy hat and red shirt to pick us up at our hotel. Sure enough, a cowboy-looking fellow showed up right on time in a non-air conditioned minibus to whisk us away to the camel farm. A short drive later, we arrived at the farm and given a quick orientation.
|Pickup at the hotel|
After all the guests arrived, we went out to see the camels and the saddle room, which was a big room that houses the custom-made saddles for the camels. Each camel gets a custom fit and a personalized space for their saddle. Our camel was named Murphy, but more about that in a moment.
|Where the saddles get custom made|
|Murphy's Saddle Spot (it's on Murphy at the moment)|
|Camels with their saddles on|
The cameleers got the group together to watch a safety demonstration about getting on and riding the camel. Seemed pretty straight forward. Plus, we had all signed a wavier not to sue if a camel bucked us off, so really what was the point of the safety talk??
|Hold on tight and lean back like this...|
Now it was time to load the camels.
On the ride over, the driver had told us that they had a camel named Murphy. When it was time to assign the camels, I asked the head guy if we could ride on Murphy. Sure thing!
Murphy was the last of the camel train, which meant we were the first to get loaded. Because Chris and I were both under 100kg, we could ride on the same camel. The heaviest person gets on first (Chris, in case I needed to state the obvious), then the lightest sits in front. If riding solo, the person always sits in the back to help balance the camel.
Murphy rocked back... then forward... then somehow we were up on his tall legs!
Murphy is a very good camel, as far as camels go. He is in his 20s and has already had an exciting life. He has crossed Australia on foot with one of the farm owners on a dare (most western point to the most eastern point = 6000+ kilometers over nine months). Murphy is now considered a leader, which oddly means he brings up the rear of the train. If a predator were to attack, it would attack the rear of the train, so the caboose camel needs to be quick-witted and strong. Not just any camel can do this, so we were proud our namesake was up to the task.
|This poor little girl didn't like the camels, and Murphy insisted on giving her some sugar. |
She was not as happy with Murphy as we were.
|Our view from the back of the train|
|Bringing Up the Rear|
|I love that Murphy is looking at the camera.|
|One of the professional photographers and Brent using our personal camera.|
|Brent on Old Tom|
Q: What does a camel say when serving tea?We told him he needs to work some Camel-mile tea into his jokes. Chris and I were of the few people laughing out loud at his jokes, so maybe they weren't really that funny?? We had a good time, nonetheless. : )
A: One hump or two?
The camel walk lasted about an hour and circled back through the red dirt to the farm. The resting camels were grazing in their yard and watching us return, along with Kerrry, an orphaned camel who enjoys eating and pacing.
|Kerry pacing in her pen|
|Check out those lashes! Keeps the sand out of her eyes.|
The tour group had a wide range of unlimited drinks available, though the bread went quickly. We talked with some of the other guests and the cameleers before it was time to load the minibus to go back to the hotel.
Would I recommend this tour? Absolutely. In fact, if I visited Ayers Rock in the future, I would probably ride a camel again. Hopefully, Murphy.
|Murphy the Camel|
|Camelback at sunset|
|Beautiful night sky as we headed back to the camel farm|