• Katrina Julia

Sleeping Under the Stars in Central Australia

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

Guest Post by Alisha Amin Central Australia, a vast area of land, bigger than many whole countries, and home to the Simpson Desert. This desert, similar to what one would imagine mars to be like, consists of huge stretches of red sand and rock as far as the eye can see, scattered with small towns and kangaroos, and is the land of the aboriginals.


Photo Credit: Alisha Amin

Trip to Australia

During my five week trip to Australia, the one experience that had a resounding impact on me was my drive through central Australia. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before; a landscape so dry, hostile and expansive - yet filled with an infinite amount of tradition, stories and lessons.

Talking to the native people really brought home just how important this land really is and I was fascinated by the traditions that the land held along with the significance of landforms such as Uluru and Kata Tjuta. These two ginormous red glowing land masses hold such significance in the culture and religion of the aboriginals and their ancestors and it was a great privilege to be able to hear first hand about their meanings.

Photo Credit: Alisha Amin @AlishaAbroad As we approached, even from miles away, the ominous looming presence of Uluru and Kata Tjuta was undeniable, like enormous boulders, lifting from the earth’s surface overcasting anything in its surrounding. They face each other, almost as if they are preparing to fight, and although in the midday heat they look incredible, nothing can prepare you for viewing Uluru at sunrise or sunset.

Photo Credit: Alisha Amin @AlishaAbroad

At sunrise, they have a spectacular purple colour and by sunset, they glow, a fiery red hot almost monstrous glow, both, a sight like no other. When staying in the outback, we decided to try out a new experience, being in the desert was a unique enough experience so why not experience it to the fullest? We decided to stay in a swag.

This word probably doesn’t mean much to you now, nor did it to me before I went on this epic adventure, however now the word ‘swag’ connotes a feeling of being completely harmonious with nature, a feeling of peace and contentment and hundreds of unforgettable memories.

A swag is similar to a large sleeping bag, however is made of a strong canvas material with an inbuilt soft mattress. We each had our own swag along with a pillow and every night we built a campfire and arranged our swags surrounding it. Night time temperatures in the desert can drop to about five degrees, but these swags keep you toasty and are surprisingly comfortable.

Like many, lying on the ground in the cold was not my idea of a good time, so it might be surprising that this was one of my favourite experiences I have ever had. The dry air in the outback means that there are no mosquitos and the tundra like temperatures also prevent animals from walking around in the dark, plus the swags are incredibly warm, so its not all bad!  After a long day hiking around nearby rock formations, coming back to the camp and reminiscing over the day’s events whilst toasting marshmallows on the fire was heavenly. One of the most magical, unique things about finding yourself trying to fall asleep on the desert floor in a swag, is being able to look up directly at the sky.