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The Outback 2014 part 1

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The Outback 2014



 

Part 1

 

On Wednesday April 16th we departed Sydney for Uluru (aka Ayers Rock). Below is our flight track.

 

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If you look closely you might see what appears to be a swampy area about two thirds of the way to Uluru. This is Lake Eyre. Most of the time Lake Eyre is like the Salt River in Phoenix. But every ten years or so, and this was one of them, there is enough rain so that the lake fills.

 

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When this happens pelicans from Adelaide, some 1000 km to the south, fly up and nest. As it happens, brine shrimp and other creatures populate the lake in large numbers making living for the pelicans much better and worth the trip. This was one of those years.

 

In case you are interested this was the approach track into the Ayers Rock airport.

 

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Along the way we got some good aerial views of Uluru.

 

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Also in the distance we were able to see the Olgas formation know as Kata Tjunta.

 

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Just before sunset we drove out to Uluru to watch the sunset. The last time we were there I think I saw five people. Today the place was so crowded that we had a hard time finding a parking place. None the less we saw the sunset.

 

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Below is a movie of the sunset. I believe if you double click on it you will see the movie. But I also think it will drop you out of this post.

 

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The next morning Russ and I got up early and drove to the sunrise viewing area. We were some of the first folks there but it didn’t take long for the place to be populated.

 

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The Kata Tjunta in the distance.

 

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The tour bus just showed up.

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After the sunrise Russ and I drove back to the hotel, oh I should have shown a map of the area.

 

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At Yulara there are four hotels and a campground. We stayed at the Emu walk which is basically a set of apartments made for the seasonal workers but now turned into hotel rooms. While they are a bit dark and cost over $400 per night they are near the small shopping centre. The Outback pioneer is the cheapest but does not have in room plumbing so we passed on it. Then there is the Desert Gardens which is a more typical style resort hotel, and as one time the top end hotel of the area. The Woodsons stayed there. The new top end hotel was the sails in the desert where we had a hundred dollar lunch. And then there is the Longitude 131° where the Royals stayed but at $1000 per night it seems a bit excessive. We had the most fun at the Outback Pioneer which is a covered but open-air bar and restaurant. The restaurant is interesting in that they sell you the meat or fish and you cook it. South of Yulara is Uluru (Ayers Rock).

 

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We never saw any airport near the rock.

 

The sunset viewing is on the western side of the rock, the sunrise viewing is south east. Note the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west (although it is upside down) in the Southern Hemisphere.

 

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After breakfast (don’t mention to Woody that he paid $78 and forgot to eat them) we drove over to Uluru.

 

I chose to walk around Uluru (six miles) while the others visited the aboriginal historical centre. Some pictures of my walk.

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There are some sacred sites you are not supposed to take pictures of.

 

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This might be one of them.

 

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This might be another.

 

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On the northern side the vegetation was not as spectacular but still impressive.

 

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This is the start and or finish of the hike.

 

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We had lunch at the cultural center and then drove out to Kata Tjunta.

 

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I think the area around Kata Tjunta is more interesting than at Uluru but it is some thirty miles from the hotel and with limited time I never seem to get more than a few hours near them. We did a short hike but ran out of time.

 

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Some photos of Kata Tjunta.

 

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We had a wonderful dinner at the Outback Pioneer that night. The next morning I got up early to take some pictures around the hotel. It is always nice seeing grass in the desert even if it is at a resort and watered.

 

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This is the site where later in the day Carole and Pat would take aboriginal painting lessons.

 

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I took the path across the road as there was a viewing area and a dingo walked passed me. Sorry but it was still dark and I was startled. This was our first encounter with wildlife so it was eventful. We never really saw much and little road kill but found out as we were leaving that, like deer, the Australian animals are mostly nocturnal.

 

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I got to the viewing area just after sunrise. While it wasn’t quite as close to Uluru it was a good place to view the rock.

 

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You can also see parts of the resort village from this site.

 

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After breakfast Carole and Pat attended the aboriginal painting class while the “men” shopped for supplies for our only real journey of the trip. A cheap Styrofoam ice chest cost $35 at the only store for 100km. We really didn’t need to purchase much of anything other than lunch but somehow we did manage to spend $130. We met up with Pat and Carole, made our goodbyes, and set off for Kings Canyon

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My sunset shot of Uluru (aka Ayers Rock):

 

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Sunrise:

 

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