There is something special about being out here in desert of Central Australia dear friends. Everywhere we drive we feel as if we’re in another country because the countryside is like nothing we see on the east coast of Australia where we live.
In fact, coming along the highway to Uluru, I had an Andre Rieu CD playing “You Raise Me Up” and as we came to a rise, all we could see below were multi-coloured low mountains surrounding us on every side. For some reason – perhaps due to the isolation – I remarked to Geoff, “I feel like I’m in America and this is the last frontier!”
Combined with the uplifting strains of the violins playing, the mountains seemed to enclose us in an embrace of security and comfort. For a moment, I gasped at the sheer majesty of the scene before me. It was breath-taking; then as we sped along, the moment passed. Just like that it was gone!
Geoff and I remarked on the colours of this area: deep burnt oranges and reds, browns that veer towards tan, yellow flowering shrubs and grey-blue clumps of salt-bush on the flats with a few spindly trees here and there. I call them the colours of Central Australia.
Now that we are here, Geoff and I simply cannot get enough of Uluru also known as Ayers Rock – so we devoted all our time to it yesterday.
Today we decided that it was time to give some attention to the poor cousin to Uluru: KATA TJUTA. Formerly called The Devil’s Marbles by us white folk, it is also a very significant place to the aboriginal people. It lies 50ks from Uluru and it is a series of large round rock formations. It is now part of the Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park and it costs $25 per head to visit for three days.
It is now a world heritage listed area and was handed back to the Anangu aborigine people in 1985 who immediately leased it back to the Federal Government for 99 years. However, it is jointly managed by both but the presence of our indigenous people here is very strong here.
So dear friends, I cannot begin to tell you about the wonderful time we are experiencing living here in the township adjacent to Uluru called Yalara (no one camps or stays in the National Park). There is a community here comprising all different levels of accommodation with a Town Centre at it’s heart.
We have so many activities to visit that we have had to forgo some due to lack of time!
And don’t get me started about meeting and chatting to people from all over the world either!
Today we managed to watch some traditional aboriginal dancing and when the men were invited to get up and learn to dance like a kangaroo and an emu, my dear husband was one of the first men to get up. Shouts went up from a couple of Canadian ladies sitting next to him who had convinced him to volunteer. Oh, it was fun!
Another highlight was watching the sunset onto Uluru last night in a special viewing area. People had their glasses and were drinking champagne or bottles of beer, celebrating as the sun slowly sank into the sky changing the colour of The Rock every few minutes. Geoff surprised me by handing me a bottle of alcoholic Apple Cider and we clinked bottles to celebrate our first sunset on The Rock. I now have the most amazing photo of Uluru which you will find above.
Today we went along to a ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony for the Astronomy weekend which begins today and we made a point of meeting Dr. Karl our favourite scientist who is running the show. He was so generous with his time and posed for four photos with each of us. A real madcap professor, we had to have a photo with bunny ear fingers, one with a grin and another blowing a kiss. A real delight!
So now dear ones, I will leave you with some photos of our adventures. I have to be off to do some astronomy things on the weekend. Chow for now …