Sleeping in the desert in Dubai

Dune bashing in the 4WDs in Dubai
Dune bashing in the 4WDs in Dubai

Straight off the bat I have to say I loved, loved, loved this. But first there was a little shock to overcome…

Cool sand, hot sun. Dubai desert sunrise.
Cool sand, hot sun. Dubai desert sunrise.

I paid for a tour to go out to the desert in Meydan near the Oman border to do some dune bashing in a 4WD, eat a traditional meal and watch a belly dancing and Emirati dance show. Also thrown in was henna painting on hands/arms, camel ride, shisha pipe and I paid extra to camp out overnight in the desert.

A desert sunrise Dubai
A desert sunrise Dubai

There were 15 4WDs so I thought at least a few people were going to be camping out with me.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that I was the only one doing the camping overnight. In the 15 4WDs all the passengers were returning to Dubai at 9pm after dinner and the show. Okay so that made me quite nervous, however, I was assured it would be very safe by our 4WD driver Fadi. I decided to go ahead with it.

My camp bed
My camp bed

If I was going to have my throat slit in the middle of the night it would be after I had enjoyed myself seeing new things. I was told there would be a staff member there too.

At the end of the show I watched everyone go wondering if I had made a big mistake by staying. The three staff members Aziz, Ahmed and Yasirali (I hope I have the I have the spelling correct) started cleaning up. A sleeping bag was brought for me and I was asked where I would like to sleep. I indicated under the stars and the sleeping bag was laid out for me. Did I need a drink? Yes please.

I was told the power would go out at 10.30pm. I wondered if I should find some kind of weapon. I was quite surprised when the last staff member Yasirali took his falcon and disappeared saying goodnight to me. I had imagined that the staff members were going to be sleeping nearby.

The power made a loud noise when it turned off at 10.26pm and I was momentarily stunned in a frozen position unable to move because you might say I was a little scared. There was silence. I was alone. But a calm descended upon the world and the campsite took on a different character. A gentle warm breeze could be heard and felt. The stars majestically came out to play in the dark and after a few minutes the stress and worries of life melted away. I relaxed a little and a peaceful feeling came over me eventually.

Belly dancer, Dubai
Belly dancer, Dubai
Hi there camel!
Hi there camel!

That sky was the most beautiful thing I had seen. So many stars and a crescent moon which disappeared quickly. However those stars stayed and hung out with me and were my friends for the night. I was watching planes go past overhead with a frequency that seemed to be every few minutes. Man, I can’t believe how busy that sky was. I didn’t sleep a lot but why waste the wonderful show that nature had provided for me. In between flyovers it was wonderful to experience SILENCE.

Check out that sun getting smaller
Check out that sun getting smaller

 

The desert area was covered by sea many years ago. Fossils were found on this hill that support this fact.
The desert area was covered by sea many years ago. Fossils were found on this hill that support this fact.

 

 

Magic sunsets in the desert in Dubai
Magic sunsets in the desert in Dubai

 

Love those sunsets in the desert
Love those sunsets in the desert

At 5.30am I noticed the sky was getting a little lighter so I grabbed my camera and climbed to a higher point. The sun hid behind a cloud for quite a while and I waited patiently. Finally the sun made his grand entrance and I was off taking photos.

Empty campsite
Empty campsite

When I had had enough I returned to my campsite and packed up a little. Soon the sun was starting to get stronger so I moved my things to the shade. I had still not seen anyone yet.

Emirati dancer
Emirati dancer

At 7.00am I was greeted by the three smiling faces of Aziz, Ahmed and Yasirali and a good morning. I didn’t get breakfast as promised but hey I was alive and I had just experienced nature at its best at night-time. After a few hours Fadi returned to collect me.

Sunrise in the desert
Sunrise in the desert

He had a friend in the car and we spoke about Emirati life in general. Back at the hotel I came back to earth.

Come on sun I know you want to come out...
Come on sun I know you want to come out…
Orange sky Dubai
Orange sky Dubai
It's a beautiful day Dubai!
It’s a beautiful day Dubai!

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania, Australia

Great Oyster Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia
Great Oyster Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia

If you want to feel like you’re the only person on this planet for a short while at least; if you want to be at one with nature; if you want to witness a pristine part of earth before it disappears, then Wineglass Bay should be on your list to visit.

Located on the Freycinet Peninsula on the east coast of Tasmania is Wineglass Bay.  The beach has been consistently voted in the top ten beaches in the world and this is what drew me to it in the first place.

Wineglass Bay, East Tasmania
Wineglass Bay, East Tasmania

This is a beautiful pristine part of the world.  If you love walking you will be in heaven. Pink granite mountains, clear water and untouched beaches made me feel like I was in the last piece of wilderness in Australia.  From the carpark you need to hike to the beach but on the way the views from the lookout are stunning.  There were so few people around that for most of the walk I was alone.  It was a strange feeling because how often are we totally alone? I kept looking over my shoulder.  Once down at the beach there were friendly wallabies who came up to me.  One had a joey (baby) in her pouch.  They were just gorgeous!  I loved it.

The wallabies were surprisingly tame and curious.
The wallabies were surprisingly tame and curious.
A wallaby and her baby
A wallaby and her baby

 

Another one of my favourite activities was when I flew over the peninsula in a Cessna.  There were acres and acres of national park (the park is 169 square kilometres or 65.3 square miles), spectacular cliffs, deserted beaches, rugged coastline, azure water and, of course, the beautiful Wineglass Bay.  This was a definite highlight of my trip.

Deserted beaches on the Freycinet Peninsula, East Tasmania
Deserted beaches on the Freycinet Peninsula, East Tasmania

I stayed in one of the environmentally friendly cabins at the Freycinet Lodge which overlooks Great Oyster Bay.  While not cheap the cabins aren’t as expensive as the nearby luxury Saffire Lodge.  I would have loved to stay there but it was quite out of my budget!  There is also camping by ballot available at the Freycinet National Park, however, this option is only available over the warmer months as it can get quite cold in Tasmania.  The nearest small town is Coles Bay so you can grab supplies there and find more accommodation choices.  Whatever you do, don’t miss this very special part of Australia.

Jetty at Great Oyster Bay
Jetty at Great Oyster Bay