Friday, June 17, 2011

The Red Centre

Welcome to the Northern Territory.  The Australian Outback.  The Red Centre.

Our first stop across the NT border was Tennant Creek.  The town itself was really small and we got there early in the day(say around 2pm -ish, which is early considering we drove 8 hours); so we had to find something to do until dinner and bed.  The Tennant Creek telegraph station provided the perfect solution for our problem.

Random fact: Tennant Creek is the NT's fifth largest town with population of 3,000 people.

The telegraph station was once part of the Overland Telegraph station that once linked Melbourne to London.  The two (large) solid stone buildings were completed in 1874 and remain the same today, although in the 1930s the telegraph station was sold and used as a cattle station.

The buildings were so neat and the walls were unbelievably thick! The station consists of two large buildings (one was used for boarding operators and the other held the telegraph repeater in the 1870s), as well as a livery, smoke house, butcher shop, and underground cellar. There was also a small cemetery with two graves.  It was really neat because we got one of the four master keys in town so we could go inside all of the buildings!  Can you believe that they trust people that much? Just to give someone the key and hope they won't steal things. Like the amazing wood organ from the 1860s!

Obviously I though the entire Tennant Creek/Overland Telegraph Station was awesome.  :)

The next day we drove to Alice Springs and went to the Sunday mall on Todd Street.  It reminded me of the Pike Street markets in Seattle. We spent most of the day in Alice relaxing, although mom and I went to a casino (I lost) then shopping.

The following day we drove to our final destination: Yulara/Ayer's Rock/Uluru depending on which name you would like to choose. But before we got there... we went to Devil's Marbles!

"The ‘Devils Marbles’ or ‘Karlu Karlu’ with its gigantic, rounded granite boulders, some spectacularly poised, is a remarkable landscape. Scattered clusters of these ‘marbles’, including many balancing rocks, are spread across a wide, shallow valley. The Devils Marbles is a nationally and internationally recognised symbol of Australia’s outback." - Wikapedia

But after that mom and I did something really neat... we rode camels in the Outback!  Heck yes!  Haha. They are like horses, only not even close.  I think the only thing similar between camels and horses is that fact you can ride then and the have 4 legs.  I am so excited that I got to ride a camel in the outback!  Totally sweet.

In Yulara we stayed at Ayer's Rock Resort which was so expensive!  It was crazy!  But it's the type of thing you do once in your life.  We found a pretty good place to eat pizza, but I'll be happy to see American prices again.

It was nice to sleep in, but dad and I couldn't sleep in too late because I took him for a helicopter ride. Well, I personally didn't take him for a helicopter ride but I paid so that he and I could go on a helicopter ride over Uluru/Ayer's rock and Kata Tjuta.   It was fun to see the view from above and hopefully dad liked his birthday/father's day present.

After getting back and doing a little touristy shopping we headed out to Uluru/Ayer's Rock.  If you are wondering why I keep writing "Uluru/Ayer's Rock" it's because I don't want people to get confused.  Uluru and Ayer's Rock are the same rock.  The rock's name was changed from 'Ayer's Rock' some years back to it's more aboriginal name 'Uluru.'

Anyways - mom and I walked part way around the way and got some great pictures! I don't have enough laptop battery to upload them right now but if I remember I will get that done later.  We then ate at an over the top expensive restaurant but it was pretty good. :)

The next day we went hiking on a trail up Kata Tjuta. It was fun to get up into the red rock and some really neat things.  It was definitely a great place to get some pictures taken.

After hiking for most of the day we watched the sunset.  It was amazing to see the rock change colors from a red to vivid red to dull red/brown color.  I took a 40 minute video that I'll going to speed up to make a neat time lapse video.  Hopefully I'll get that posted before I head up into the mountains on Sunday.

I also took the most amazing picture of Uluru ever.  No trick magic or editing people.  Just f-stop and aperture settings.  And yes I put a copyright on it.  I don't want some random internet people to highjack it.  Besides, it might be a Christmas present for some of you. (click on it to make it bigger)

I'm glad I've been to the Outback twice.  Once with the bare minimum and once in comfort.  It was a great experience to see Australia with the parents and I am really sad that I have to head home.

This was crazy.  We just practically spent 48 hours on the move; either in an airplane or terminal or car.  Yulara to Syndey (3 hour flight). Sydney to Brisbane (2 hour flight). Brisbane to Melbourne (3 hour flight) . Melbourne to LA (14 hour flight).  [Insert 5 hour layover.] LA to Portland (2 1/2 hours).  Portland to home (5 hour drive).  Currently dad is driving home and we are somewhere near the Dalles about to get dinner.  Although it feels like I should be getting breakfast. Strange.

I think I am going to be really jet lagged. Especially since tomorrow I have to get everything together for horsecamp then head up into the mountains on Sunday. This should be interesting. haha.

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