Saturday, August 9, 2008

what a lot of rocks

After a week deep in the NT outback (apart from a short sojourn in Alice Springs), with no means of communication, it is about time I updated this blog.

The interior of NT has numerous points of interest ( rocks ) interspersed by hundreds of km of points of boredom ( no rocks ) so a lot of ground has been covered since Uluru. Not only in the van either- Ness has been on a mission to get us fit so a lot of yomping over rocks, up cliffs, through gorges, across deserts, along dried up river beds and traversing canyons has been undertaken. Those of you who know me may find that difficult to believe, but I have hard photographic evidence for the cynical doubters.

So, next stop after Uluru was Kata Tjuta ( The Olgas), 36 impressive steep sided domes 32 km to the west, sacred to the Anangu people.

We had a few short walks around the area, then we moved back towards the main highway to head up to Alice Springs ( 470 km).

We stopped at Curtin Springs, a basic roadhouse which offered free camping. The downside to the the site was a resident malevolent emu called 'Mungrel' which ranged freely creating havoc. When walking a small dog Mungrel would run from wherever she was hiding and initiate a full blown attack on dog and walker. Breakfast time was a great opportunity to nip into tents and steal toast, but her specialist subject was underwear. A makeshift clothesline was great sport and meant that she could peck, pick and pull at all the damp smalls until they were released and then trample them gleefully into the red dusty sand.

We braved emu carnage for 36 hours and then set off again, next stop Watarrka (King's Canyon) 300 km north of Uluru.This chasm cleaves the earth to a depth of 270 metres, providing shelter to a tropical oasis in the middle of arid surroundings.

I confess that I declined the 4 hour ridge walk after I saw the 100m near vertical ascent at the start, and elected to spend quality time with the dog, so all photos care of Ness who did the walk solo.

Smooth cliff face where there was a rock fall 60 years ago.

Above shows the Garden of Eden waterhole where Ness had her sandwiches.

Above the 'beehives'

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