Page 6 of Two of Us Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Uluru September 14th 2014

September 14 - After a sleepless night (When will I learn that I can’t drink coffee!!) we rose at 5 o’clock and caught a shuttle to a camel farm – what else would one do at five in the morning! The sunrise ride on camel back through the desert was truly spectacular! The young cameleers, as they are known, were exceptionally knowledgeable regaling us with facts and tales the whole way. My lovely camel, Jill, was also affectionately known as “Jilly Bean”. David’s mount’s name was “Trigger” and the one behind me was “Diesel.” In total there were about 10 camels in our “train.” All of the camels on the farm except a couple of babies were once wild. There are over 700,000 wild camels in Australia. They were brought over in the early days to ... read more
My new friends
My Shiek in the desert
"Alice the Camel has one hump"

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Kata Tjuta September 13th 2014

The Olgas or Kata Tjuta are another strange rock formation rising from the desert floor. From a distance they look like a long-forgotten mountain range with rounded tops. Upon closer inspection, one can see both similarities and differences to Uluru. The color and the “skin” are the same, but The Olgas are much greener, and instead of one lonely monolith, there are several dome-shaped hills. They reminded me of loaves of bread that had been clumsily-shaped by giant unseen hands. As the brilliant mid-day sun shone down on them, I wondered how long have they sat there in such isolation? I also wondered whether Uluru and the Olgas connected at one time?... read more
Walk into Kata Tjuta
David on the trail at KataTjuta
Mal & Michele admiring Kata Tjuta

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Uluru September 13th 2014

September 13 – Uluru Today we head for the big red rock known by two names – Ayers Rock or its aboriginal name Uluru. I’ve always been drawn to rocks – big ones like the Rockies near my home and small ones like I used to play with as a child. This rock has its own special allure. Mostly, one just marvels at its very being. How did such a large monolith come to be in such a flat, remote area? Did aliens land millions of years ago and leave a space craft, or perhaps it was a life form, now dead, or in some kind of stasis. The shape is unlike any mountains I have seen. It looks very much like a large, dusty red caterpillar laying in the middle of the desert. Ridges cover ... read more
Michele & David at Uluru
Judy, the artisit, capturing Uluru with Mal
Mal & Judy at Uluru at sunset

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Alice Springs September 12th 2014

If you're not into birds -- skip this. If you are into birds, I promise to fill in the rest of the names (as much as I can) when I get the chance. These were taken at the Alice Springs Desert Park. If you're ever in 'The Alice' don't miss this!!... read more
Bird Lady

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Alice Springs September 12th 2014

Following breakfast the next morning, the train arrived at our destination in Alice Springs. A shuttle took us to our hotel, the Cheifly Alice Springs Resort where we had a few glitches – they had no record of Judy and Mal’s booking, and the car rental place wasn’t answering the phone (again!) All was eventually resolved, and we headed off to the Olive Pink Gardens. These gardens held many desert plants and animals. Like the Canadian prairie scrub, one must look closely to appreciate how nature adapts to such a harsh environment. The next day we visited the sprawling Alice Springs Desert Park. It was a cross between a zoo, botanical garden and educational centre. Truly worth the price of admission, I saw more species of birds in a few hours than I have ever seen. ... read more
Flying Doctors
Lonely Chair
Parrots in the Park

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Katherine September 10th 2014

In no time at all, we arrived at Katherine, one of the hottest places in Australia. Today it was a balmy 37 C. Our excursion was a cruise down the Katherine River through the Nitmiluk Gorge. In the boat we were surrounded by towering red sandstone rocks. Occasionally, we glimpsed a crocodile laying in the water, or its distinctive tracks on a sandy bar. Our guide told us these tracks often led to where a crocodile had laid its eggs – these are protected and there is a fine for violating these sites. There are only two seasons here – the wet season and the dry season. This impacts the entire ecosystem including the height of the river. Early in the wet season, the boat is able to traverse the entire length of the river, but ... read more
Cruising the Gorge
Flying Fox Bats

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory September 10th 2014

September 9 – Today we boarded a very comfy bus and headed for the train station. There, sitting on the track was ‘The Ghan’. Sleek, shiny and over 40 carriages long, it was an impressive sight! David and I were assigned Cabin 9/10 (I figure somewhere in there was Platform 9 and ¾’s – it was truly a magical place.) The tiny cabin was designed to include everything one could need including two fold away berths, a closet, a safe, a fold-down table, places to stow luggage, and a washroom the size of a small closet that converted to a shower. David, of course, discovered more little details and figured out how everything worked within the first few minutes of boarding. The Ghan travels the length of Australia from the ‘Top End’ in Darwin to the ... read more
Home Sweet Small Home
The Train Ride Begins! Cheers!
Cousins - David & Judy

After our fantastic cruise down the Yellow River, and a great breakfast, we piled into the SUV and went in search of another place to explore. An hour later, we found Nourlangie (or Burrunggul – I challenge you to say this 10 times!). We walked up to the top of a large rock formation where David took some photos. Our next stop was Bukbukluk (Mal & David did say this more than 10 times, 10 different ways -- you should try it anytime you want to stand out in a crowd, or annoy your friends), a short walk up to a lookout through a dry forest which had been burned in the not too distant past. The black rocks, burnt scrub, and plus 37 degree weather made it feel like a furnace. Luckily, the car was ... read more
Stay on the Path! Pick an Arrow, any Arrow!
Mal & David at Nourlangie
The photographer

September 9 - Yellow Water Cruise– Some places defy description, but I’ll try. We left our lovely croc accommodation at 5:45 a.m. and drove to Gagudju Lodge Cooinda where we were bused to the river boats. Our guide, Murray, was a typical Aussie – laid back, with a dry sense of humor and a voice that I’d pay to lull me to sleep. His deep understanding of the area was gained when he moved to the area over 40 years ago and began working in the forestry service often with the aboriginal people. Departing from the dock, we were met with an other-worldly scene as the rising sun lit up the mist and smoke from fires in the area, and the trees reflected off the glassy water. Everywhere we looked there were birds – singing, squawking, ... read more
Gliding into the mist
Hiding in the lilies

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Kakadu National Park » Jabiru September 8th 2014

Window to the Wetlands Interpretive Centre– was a fascinating place set up on a high hill overlooking a large wetland. I was impressed by the number of interactive displays that kept kids and adults engaged. There was a very informative film on the natural cycles of flood and drought. It reminded me of the extremes of seasons in Canada – very cold, and very hot! It also reminded me the belief that Australia is always hot and dry and Canada is always cold and barren. I suppose that’s what people remember, because, well, if you’ve ever been to Canada in the winter, you WILL remember it!! And, if you’ve ever been to Australia in the summer, you WILL remember it. Leaning Tree Lagoon – this was a little jewel covered with bird life and white lily ... read more
Eye of the Crocodile
Rocks at Ubirr at sunset
David, the moon & the rock

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