This post is coming after a visit to the Northern Territory. It finally feels like we’ve entered the iconic outback image that travel agents, Hollywood, and that certain steak house have burned into our minds.
We arrived in Alice Springs to a rare downpour and got lucky enough to actually see the Todd River flowing. It was dry again by dinner time, but a great sight anyway. We took in pretty much all there is in “the Alice,” including a big night out at the local saloon where the menu includes prawns and ‘roo steaks, aka Reef ’n Hop.
In order to see as much as possible in a short amount of time and on a tight budget, we booked a camping “safari” tour to Ayres Rock, otherwise known as Uluru. Distances in this area are huge, and the roads are long, straight, and very empty. After a 4 hour drive through sparse cattle stations and camel farms, we arrived at another rock formation called Kata Tjuta or the Olgas. They are even taller than Uluru and very impressive. We spent the night camping, but were up at 3:45AM in order to see the sunrise over Uluru. Fantastic!
The Rock is even more interesting up close than I expected. We did not climb it because the Aboriginal people consider it a sacred site and ask that you don’t. Instead, we walked around the base, which pretty much takes up half a day in the unbelievable heat.
The next evening included some good tucker cooked over the campfire, including a traditional outback bread called damper and a special treat, kangaroo tail. After that we turned in, but not before I got to see the biggest scorpion I’ve ever seen. Add to that an Indiana-Jones-sized centipede, and I decided to sleep in the tents, not in a swag on the ground. Our next stop was Kings Canyon for a great hike around the rim and into an oasis called the Garden of Eden.
This part of the trip was truly hectic, dusty, and exhausting, but the scenery and experience was more than worth it. I know everyone takes this photo, but who can resist the view?