Archive for June 2nd, 2010

Uluru – Into The Australian Outback

No this was not our rental car, but you get the picture. There is a reason they call this place the Red Center.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My time in Australia started in a place seemingly far removed from the Outback, a place called Surfer’s Paradise, south of Brisbane, where Gretchen was working at her conference.  The view from her 24th floor balcony was impressive.

This place is kind of an Australian Myrtle Beach. I had to put up with it while Gretchen finished her conference. I know, poor me.

But apparently they do surf here.

And it is Australia, so the plants do weird things.

And the birds, well how would you like to wake up with these on your porch?

But as soon as Gretchen was done we flew to the heart of the Red Center, the outback “capital” of Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory. A whole 25,000 people live here. It’s hundreds of miles to any place bigger…or to any place at all.

Oh yea, and we saw Kangaroos on our first day there! They really hop!

And Kangaroos are not the only marsupials to be seen here, there are also the mostly nocturnal Wallabies, this one with a baby in her pouch.

And what do we do right after seeing these adorable critters…we eat them! We had to get an Outback Grill Platter at (the real) Bojangles.

Guess who got the spaghetti? Actually, I think I ate most of the Kangaroo, Emu sausage, Crocodile, Water Buffalo, and Camel on that plate of meat.

This is an area that still has strong Aboriginal influence (as strong as the decimated Aboriginal population can muster), and they can be found out selling their traditional paintings on the streets.

Out here it’s all about the land, and the rocks can do strange things.

Which must inspire the people, so Gretchen had to make her contribution to the underwear tree on our drive to Uluru.

There are only small Roadhouses on the four hour drive from Alice Springs to Uluru. They usually offer basic accommodation, gas and eats, and usually a few penned in Emu…and toilets.

Ok, so the real reason we came all the way out here, is to see rocks, ok one big rock, do some strange things.

This is Uluru, formally known as Ayers Rock. After the land surrounding this place, that is sacred to the Aboriginal people here, was given back to the “Original Owners” the name was changed to Uluru, much the same way we now refer to Mt. McKinley in Alaska as Denali.

We did the walk all the way around the base of Uluru, at times going right up to the steep sides, and into crevices that sometimes held pools of water.

And Uluru is not the only notable rock here. There is also Kata Tjuta (many heads), not as well known, but no less striking.

We could hike right between these massive rocks.

Of course we had to be the last to leave the park, and be moved along by the ranger.  It’s a whole different universe out here.

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