Day 15 and 16: Walkabout around the Outback…

…well, if staying in a 5 star hotel and being ferried around in an air conditioned van is still considered a walkabout…

Day 15

Off to an early start today – had to be ready to go by 6:15a. The group is heading to Kata Tjuta to do a hike up a canyon. Kata Tjuta is the other large rock formation in the area. Normally it is off limits to everyone except for aboriginal initiated males. The hike that we went on is one of two areas where they have lifted this restriction. On the way out to the hike, we passed a herd of wild camels.

We stopped at an overlook for a quick peek of Kata Tjuta, so we could take some pictures from a distance. The flies were really thick here – they gave us some fly cream to get them to ignore us. It mostly worked.

We continued on to the hiking trail after this. The guide that we had was very good. He pointed out the different plants and trees and explained how the locals used them. He also discussed why boomerangs don’t need to come back to you around here…The returning boomerang is used to hunt waterfowl. They would throw the boomerang over a flock of birds on the water. As the boomerang passed over the birds, they would spook and start to fly. As the boomerang curved back, it’s trajectory would be right in the flight path of the birds and would strike them in the head, increasing the chance of a kill…if they were lucky, the boomerang and bird would fall over land – that way they wouldn’t have to argue with the crocs…

The hike was into a canyon, and it made lighting conditions tough to take good pictures, but I tried as best I could with the camera that I had…

 

after the hike, we made our way back to the resort. As we got close to the resort, the driver slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the van without any explanation. After several minutes, he showed up with a horney devil – apparently they are pretty rare to see.

 

After we got back to the resort, we had about an hour break, and then we went off to “town”. Town is the central resort area that has a couple of shops and some art galleries. We spent about an hour poking around and resisted the urge to buy anything.

In the late afternoon, we made our way to the base of Uluru. We stopped at the trail that leads up to the top of the rock. It is closed around 90% of the year – due to weather. If it is too hot, too windy, or too rainy, the hike is closed. On top of that, they discourage people from climbing it anymore.

 

 

 

As we walked around the base, there were several caves that you could look into – some you are not allowed to photograph as they are sacred sites. Many had pictures that had been painted in them.

 

Apparently the rock is pretty spectacular when it rains. You get massive waterfalls that come down the sides. Only about 1% of the visitors get to see them. There are black streaks along the rock where the waterfalls occur.

Once we were done with the hike, we returned to the resort to watch the sunset over Kata Tjuta before we had dinner.

 

 

 

Day 15

Today started really early – out the door at 5a to see the sunrise at Uluru.

 

After we were done watching the sun come up, we stopped at the cultural center for a bit. Learned a little about the culture, and avoided buying anything again. Then we went back to our room to relax for the afternoon.

At dinner time, there was a lightning storm off in the distance, which was pretty cool. We were supposed to have a star talk tonight, but the clouds have rolled in, so there aren’t too many stars out…Too bad it wasn’t last night, because the stars looked awesome – clear and no moon. We leave tomorrow morning, so it looks like we are going to just miss seeing water come off of Uluru 😦

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