Thursday, August 24, 2006

Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

Kata Tjuta is a series of 36 domes bunched together about 30 k west of Uluru. They don't get the limelight of the big rock but are equally fascinating! We trekked the Valley of the Winds trail that meanders in and around the big domes. At about the 8k mark Adam and Charlee started protesting until Adam spotted a wild camel on the horizon. Camels were imported to help build a telegraph line from south to north Australia. Once completed the camels were simply released into the wild. Apparently, no one new they bred like rabbits! So today there are estimated to be over 700 000 camels in the Outback! (look closely at the bottom right photo)

Needless to say the kids slept well that night!

Buffet dinner at the Outback Pioneer Lodge.

Adam eating emu!

Dave eating crocodile!

Charlee eating kangaroo!

The kids (Dave included) couldn't leave before a fun ride on a camel!

We enjoyed our 2 hour Aborginal walk with Keith who told us ancient stories of his people. Adam and Charlee had fun trying out some traditional wooden tools.

Charlee and Adam enjoying our last night of entertainment complete with didgeridoos.

Uluru was much better than expected. Before visiting there, we couldn't understand the fuss over a big rock. Now we understand - it's huge, the sunset was amazing, the climb was something the kids will never forget, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, the Olgas were beautiful, the Anangu tour taught us some history,... I could go on. In the end, it was a wonderful experience.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Solid as a Rock! ULURU!!!

We were able to sneak away for a long weekend to Uluru (Ayer's Rock) in central Australia (Northern Territory) thanks to Sister Barbara's kindness. And what a weekend we had! Uluru is the second largest monolith (a single gigantic rock) in the world (Mt. Augustus in Western Aus is the largest).

Adam anxiously awaiting our Qantas flight - 3.5 hours to Uluru!

Our first site of the huge monolith out the plane window!

Unbelievably mammoth - 9 km around!

This is Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) which were equally fascinating! (more in my next blog entry)

Finally we're here!

Our first upclose view.

The many shades of Uluru!

These pictures of Uluru were all taken within a 20 minute period at sunset.

Adam could hardly contain himself - he couldn't wait to climb Uluru and as expected he led the pack!

What a view! It took about an hour to get to the top - not for the weak-hearted.

The base of Uluru is equally amazing - caves, holes, eroded walls and ancient aboriginal art.

Next blog entry - The Olgas!