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Uluru and the Red Centre, Northern Territory, Australia - 8th-10th October 2004

Following Melbourne, and a day in Sydney, it's off to the middle of the desert for a scope at Uluru (formerly known as Ayer's Rock) and a stay at the Ayer's Rock Resort backpack digs - the Outback Pioneer. The whole gig was a bit of a last-minute thing: Nosher was in Australia primarily for work, but tacked a few days extra on the end for hols. His mate in Sydney - Trotsky - had people around until Tuesday, so it required finding something else to do for a few days. A quick trip to the Flight Centre on Circular Quay in Sydney led to a trip to the Red Centre, especially after it was discovered that the resort at Ayer's Rock had dorms and wasn't too expensive. The flight was fairly empty too, so it gave a chance to bagsy the "prize seat" (in cattle-class at least) which was the emergency door row. As it turned out, the dorms and general accommodation was excellent (the bus transfer included Mr. Comedy MC, who'd obviously been through those particular jokes at least a million times :-), and the whole last-minuteness added to the fun. There was something really special about sitting in the outback in the dark surrounded by nothing but the occasional chirping of the cicadas, looking at an alien star field(*) in a perfectly dark sky. It even led to a spontaneous, but somehow required, drawing in the red sand with a stick in an Aboriginal style...

next album: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia - 10th-13th October 2004
previous album: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - 5th-6th October 2004

The first close-up view of the desert: the path leading up from the dorms to one of the Uluru lookouts

A self-timer shot of Nosher's gnarly legs

After hiring a car and driving around: the first close-up of the rock itself

The vendah outside Nosher's dorm room

Nosher in the sunset

A sunset over Kata Tjuta

A starry sky over the 'posh' end of the Ayer's Rock Resort

On the open road: miles of road with almost no traffic to be seen anywhere

Nosher's hired car

Kata Tjuta in the background (also known as The Olgas). Kata Tjuta means 'many heads' in the local Aboriginal language

The Docker River Road. 200 metres of tarmac rapidly gives way to 800 kilometres of dirt road

A somewhat stark warning that there's no petrol for 815 kilometres (509 miles)!

A quality 'cliché' sign. There were no roos to be seen, so one wonders whether the sign was there for the benefit of tourists...

The well-equipped resident's kitchens at the Outback Pioneer hostel

Uluru

Martika, a fellow Resortee (on the camp site) wanders off. Nosher had bumped into her lying on the ground, exhausted

A stop-off near the Anangu Women's sacred Woma site: it was sooo quiet here, save for the buzz of flies, but the occasional sounds were amplified strangely by the surrounding rocks

Various photos of Uluru during the sunset

The colours of the rock in the dying sun become pretty intense

...from orange...

...through to purple. Shortly after the sun goes under the horizon, the rock lights up briefly

Back at the dorm, whilst Nosher bangs on about the state of the world to one of the German guys sharing the dorm, a moth the size of a small bird, wanders around looking dazed

Nosher takes a helicopter ride around Uluru and Kata Tjuta

The many heads of Kata Tjuta are more evident from the air

The pilot turns out to be an ex-Rozzer from Oxford, who'd fancied a bit of a change of scene...

Uluru from the air

The shadow of the helicopter passes over the strange mixture of red desert and spinifex vegetation (home of the famed Spinifex Hopping Mouse) below

The chopper heads off on another tour

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The first close-up view of the desert: the path leading up from the dorms to one of the Uluru lookouts