Audra and I flew into the resort at Ylara where Audra picked up a rental car and drove us into the resort there. We stayed at the "Lost Camel" which has a typical Aussie legend about it's name. It starts out charming, then muddles up the internal logic of the legend, and then just ends without making a clear point. But the hotel was charming. We went straight out to Uluru, pausing to get some photos of a herd of feral camels. Now there is something you don't see often in the U.S. The rock was formerly Ayers rock, and formerly Uluru before that. "Ownership" of the rock had been returned to the tribal people because it is sacred to them, but they have wisely decided to co-manage it with the national parks service, for the benefit of everyone. There are spots they request you to not photograph, and really make a pitch for you to not climb it. It is an impressive experience to view it and walk along it. I took random pictures of wind and water erosion formations, and was constantly fascinated by the play of sunlight and shadow. Thank you Audra for renting the car. The poor tourists on the bus tours had a limited amount of time at the viewing spots and always looked rushed. When Audra and I had enough sun exposure, we went into the air-conditioned car and escaped the flies. Even with my fly net, I became a master of the Aussie salute.
We had a dining experience called "Sounds of Silence" where we were shuttled into the outback, had a buffet that featured kangaroo, crocodile, and barramundi. I can tick this tasting experience off my list of things to do once. Our table was internatioal, newlyweds from Japan, Italy, and France, a father and sun from England, and A mother and daughter from the U.S. (us)Unfortunately, some cloud coverage moved in, and we did not get the full star viewing, but Scorpio put on a wonderful show.
Unfortunately, the "opera singer" from Dallas did not do the same. Read Audra's account. I tolerated her abortion approach to "Climb every mountain" but was seriously wondering if I could poison her wine and bury her in the outback when she launched into "Danny Boy."
The next day, Audra and I drove out to Kata Tjuta, 45 kilometers from Uluru, and a totally different experience. We hiked up a gorge, where Audra potted some bones near a dry creek bed. They were camel bones, and Audra could not resist one of the vertebrae, which is about as big as my head. We did not consider this pilfering a national park, as the camel is not a native. Sunset at Uluru, then one more morning drive-around where we stopped at the climbing site, because pleading does not work with some tourists, and they clamber up the rock anyway, so it was decided to give them one area to use, one far away from the sacred sites.
I think my favorite part was the camel ride. We slowly sailed through the desert, and being so high up gave us an excellent view of the beauty of the outback. We arrived at Kata Tjuta at sunset, where i took some more amazing sunset pictures.
Back to the airport, back across the tarmac and off to the Cairns area in tropical Queensland.