Ayers Rock
Arrival Ayers.JPG (365533 bytes) After 2 weeks in the city it was time to head to the Outback.   Ayers Rock/Uluru was the destination of choice. Olgas Hike11.JPG (964009 bytes) I did a 2 day hiking/camping excursion with this group of folks in and around Uluru where we learned about the Aboriginal life and hiked around the major rock formations.
Olgas Hike04.JPG (1199485 bytes) On our first hike we went to Kata Tjutu (The Olgas).  The group was filled with people from all countries.  Here I am with Desu from Korea as we hike amongst the domes. Olgas Hike14.JPG (1279002 bytes) The Olgas are made up of 36 individual domes coming out of the ground.  The largest of these domes is 546 m.  These rock formations in the midst of a rather flat region of Australia are unique.
Olgas Hike16.JPG (1047909 bytes) Here is my best attempt at showing you a panoramic picture of  the Olgas from a lookout point.  Far more impressive in person, trust me! Sunset Ayers19.JPG (382760 bytes) Then we went to Ayers Rock to watch the sunset.  A bit of a tourist trap I must say, but still an awesome sight as it is the world’s largest monolith.
Sunset Ayers04.JPG (578897 bytes) We celebrated the sunset at Ayers Rock with some champagne and appetizers.  Here is our leader, Spud, getting ready to open the bubbly!  Sunset Ayers24.JPG (321171 bytes) The colors of the rock were supposed to change at sunset, but I think that is just good marketing by the people around Ayers Rock.  I have definitely seen better sunsets.
Dinner Ayers.JPG (566023 bytes) After the sunset we went to our campsite where a wonderful Aussie Barbecue was prepared for our meal!  Not exactly roughing it in our camping experience. Campfire Ayers.JPG (429670 bytes) Campfires are not allowed in the middle of the outback so we sat around a campfire pit and told story and attempted to play this Aussie instrument?  Anyone know the name of it?Uncle Ray?
Sunrise Hike12.JPG (562115 bytes) Well since our sunset was not all that great the night before we arose at 4 am to see a sunrise.  Here are three of our crew hiking around Ayers Rock at this early hour. Sunrise Hike07.JPG (485406 bytes) Sadly our Sunrise never really panned out.  So basically I got up at 4 in the morning to walk 10K on vacation???  What was I thinking?J  Oh well, part of the experience!
Sunrise Hike11.JPG (507041 bytes) The views next to Ayers Rock were impressive.  Ayers Rock stands in stark contrast to the flat desert around it and is steeped in Aboriginal mythology.  So it was educational and interesting! Sunset Ayers19.JPG (382760 bytes) So Long Ayers Rock/Uluru region.  Thanks for the bush experience in the outback.  Now it is time to head to Cairns on the NE coast of Australia for diving, rafting, skydiving, etc….More my speed!