Hi all, we hope you are all well.
We reluctantly left North Queensland, tears in our eyes, it was worth leaving we have been busy. We took a flight direct to Ayers Rock and after a short bus journey arrived at Ayers Rock Village, a purpose built mini village with five hotels, set up just to service visitors to the rock, now called Uluru. Our tour first took us to Kata Tjuta, formerly called the Olgas, a monumental projecting rock formation with 36 massive irregular shaped rock projections that the Aboriginals see as heads. It was great to get out and take a walk up to those magnificent natural structures. We then headed to Uluru to see the changes of colours in the rock at sunset. We took photos over a half hour or so period and I hope the camera captured the changes of colour. At one point the rock appeard to me to be lit from within, as it throbbed with a red glow. We did the same thing the next day, to see the affect of the sun on Uluru at sunrise. Uluru is not a regular shaped rock projection, as we got close on a walking tour we could see that it was highly irregular with caves, gouges and a swooping profile, massive when viewed from the base. Inevitably the Aboriginals interpreted the rock formations to suit their fables and fairy stories (my wording). We loved and were wowed by our visit there but it was not all good news.
Bush flies dog your every movement, they are a complete nuisance. We were told they were harmless but I am not sure this is true. They would drive any sane person mad within days, and we saw them cause physical harm. We were told they alight on your face in search of moisture, so your mouth and eyes are attractive to them, nice. Our driver was vulnerable in the coach as he was commenting on all things Australia. A fly went down his ear and was reluctant to come out for three or so minutes, he drove and sort of kept up the commentary during this ordeal. He had it even worse the next day as he swallowed one, it did not emerge. Camels were introduced into Australia to help with some donkey (I mean camel) work. There are now between one and one and a half million of them, living wild in the bush. After seeing lots of their (how can I put this politely) droppings I was keen to see some but, due to the vast spaces in the outback, we didn't see one. Australian words like outback, bush, red centre, drover and billabong all make sense to us after being there. A month ago there had been record rainfall and the desert was comparatively green, but the predominant colour there is red dust, it makes for a weird and surreal landscape. The reds and browns in the natural environment were also everywhere in abundant Aboriginal art works.
Kata Tjuta, Mount Conway, that we saw from a distance and Kings Canyon, that we saw from very close up, are all as magnificent but less well known than Uluru and we both agree they are all world class sights that we feel lucky to have seen. We all need luck in this life and we got that in Alice Springs, where after an overnight stop we left yesterday for Perth. It was the end of an annual two month locust plague, we saw some dead ones, they would have been in our hair, eyes, face and food a couple of weeks ago, so bush flies might not be too bad after all. I will try and post some photos I hope they do justice to our great visit to the vast expanse of the deserts in Australia's Northern Territories. We are here in Australia, for another three weeks or so in the Perth area and we will let you know how we get on. Love Liz and Andy.