Into the Outback
Our next stop on the Leonard tour was a flight to Alice Springs. This is the jumping off point for the outback and for anyone wanting to visit the sacred Uluru (Ayers rock). We took a tour of Alice Springs which is a small town about 4 hours north of Uluru where we saw the headquarters of the School of the Air which is the only one of its kind. Since the people are so spread out in the Outback they devised a program back in the 1950's to educate the children living on the large ranches in the Outback. When it was first started the teachers all taught over short wave radio. Now they have gone high tech. They use computers and give lessons over the net. We were able to watch a couple of lessons being given. Students in these classes are some times thousands of kilometers away from each other and only get together about 4 times a year. The course material is sent out by mail airplane every other week and they log on to the classes daily. Quite an interesting way to go to school!
As you can see from the picture below there is a whole lot of nothing out in the middle of Oz. It reminds me a lot of Arizona without the cactus trees. This picture was taken on the way from Alice Springs to Uluru.
The Olgas (Kata Tjuta)
Uluru is about 4 hours from Alice Springs. There is no accommodation at the rock itself. Instead they have built a resort area called Yulara which is about 20 km from the rock where everyone must stay if spending the night. We settled into a nice hotel then took an afternoon sunset tour. I never realized that there are actually 2 mountains. The one we always hear of is Uluru (Ayers Rock). The other which is about 45 km from the resort area is called Kata Tjuta or the Olgas.
A view of the rock closer up.
The next morning we got up at some ungodly time (especially for people on vacation) to see the sunrise over Uluru. We had some great views of the rock and toured around this sacred place for the Aboriginal people of Australia.
More pictures of Uluru.
My parents pose for a picture
Here is a picture of me with my parents at the Rock.
Can anyone say "FLIES?"
Uluru and Kata Tjuta were pretty spectacular but we could have done without the pesky flies. I know what you are thinking... a few flies, what's the big deal? I thought the same thing until I got there. During the summer what we consider common house flies are out in masses. So much so that they are swarming constantly around you and there is no way to get away from them. They are attracted to the moisture in your skin and tend to go for your eyes and ears (sounds fun, huh?). There is no way to combat the flies but they sell fly nets to all the tourists (sort of like the ponchos at Disney World!) to keep the flies out of your face. As you can see, Mom and I look perfectly stunning in our camouflage fly nets!
If you zoom in on this guys hat you can see the flies all over it.
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