A lot of the time that we spent in Australia’s Red Center was situated around Ayers Rock Resort, a little “city” made up of hotels, restaurants, stores, campgrounds, and beautiful desert views. In addition to all of that, the activities staff ran all sorts of great trips and tours that made exploring Uluru really easy and incredibly fun. I have already written about our fantastic helicopter ride, but we also did an amazing sunset tour by camel, which is where we met the fabulous Lazy Dazy.
The camel farm at Ayers Rock Resort is a really cool place. They have a shop, a saddlery, and tons of camels of course! Apparently there are over 300,000 wild camels roaming Australia- that was news to me! Many were brought over from the Middle East in the 19th century to help with colonization of the central part of the continent, and when they were released into the wild after working, their feral population grew extremely rapidly. It is thought that the population reached over one million around 2008, but modern management projects have reduced it significantly, which is helping preserve the desert landscape.
At the Ayers Rock farm, the camels are trained to race- if the animal takes an interest, they continue their running, but if the camel seems lackadaisical about racing, they are never forced. Some go on to carry tourists while others are part of educational demonstrations. The camels we met, about a dozen total, were as uniquely personal as humans. Some liked to show off, making noises and nudging their friends, while others had to be coaxed to walk fast enough to keep up with the others. The camel my husband and I shared was named Lazy Dazy. According to our guides, he was once the fastest racing camel in all of Australia! But since his retirement from racing, he is just content to give rides to tourists.
After some quick instructions, our whole group mounted our camels in a very specific order. The camels were secured in a line, and if one stood up at the wrong time it might prompt all of the others to stand before we were ready, which could cause pretty real injuries! The process was much more delicate than I ever would have guessed, though I did have a bit of practice thanks to the camel ride I did in Egypt. Once everyone was ready, the guide riding the lead camel got underway, and Lazy Dazy and all of the other camels followed. Three other guides came along on foot to tell stories and keep an eye on everyone.
The ride itself was very pleasant. We wound through the desert and caught fantastic glimpses of Uluru as the sun was going down. Upon getting back to the farm, we were treated with a buffet of delicious finger foods to enjoy as we chatted with our tourmates and learned more about the camels and the farm. Perhaps one of the most interesting things we learned is that our little Lazy Dazy likes to suck back a cold brew every once in a while! Apparently it wasn’t uncommon for Dazy to down an entire bottle of beer, and as a result he ended up accidentally posing for a somewhat cheeky poster you can buy in the shop.
We very much enjoyed the camel education, the ride, the sunset, the shop, the food, and the company, and to top it off we were given a ride directly back to our campsite after the night was over. Meeting Lazy Dazy and the other camels was such a cool, unique experience. Another wonderful evening delivered by the Ayers Rock Resort staff!