Day 14 - Monday 16th April
A glorious sunny day. Andy and I set off to Kings Park, which is huge and fascinating. Began in the wild part which is native bush. Lots of huge gum trees. Walked through the botanical gardens section which cover an enormous area and are divided into different zones. Loads of beautiful flowers inc several types of banksia. Saw quite a few kookaburras and parakeets. Finished near city exit with great views over the river and business district.
Gill, Ashley and the boys came over to pick us up in the afternoon and we had a lovely time strolling down by the river and catching up.
Decamped to the Aitken household where Gill prepared a scrumptious dinner and the boys entertained us paying on the xbox/Kinect.
Day 15 - Tuesday 17th April
Took a train to Fremantle. After recharging with coffee we wandered around the newly refurbished harbourside. At the maritime museum, on their "meeting walls" (celebrating WAs immigrant settlers) we found reference to a Stanley Ashdown, arrived 1912. Need to find out if he is a relative.
Finally headed to the art centre which had some great photographic exhibitions on, including one centred on Lake Eyre, one exploring culture and identity and another of contemporary Indian portraiture.
Back to base and I joined in the tail end of Jenny's printing session. Then we had dinner and more RFTG.
Day 16 - Weds 18th.
Day chilling at home playing cards. Big final meal with Jenny, Olivier and Gareth.
Day 17 - Thurs 19th
Breakfast with Jenny and a sleepy Gareth, then said our goodbyes. Would have loved to stay for longer.
Got in a taxi for the airport.
Arrived at Ayers Rock at 2pm. Enjoyed an evening walk watching the sun set over "the rock", which was spectacular.
Day 18 - Friday 20th
Woke up at 4:30 (!) for the sunrise tour which left at 5:30. Got to viewpoint at 6:30 - sky already colouring but actual sunrise not until 7. Sunrise itself was beautiful. The first rays to strike Uluru transforming it from a flat looking blue lump to its full majesty, bringing out the colours and shapes of the rock.
Continued on for a walking tour via waterhole, caves and part of the base.
In the evening we went on the sunset tour, which was great fun. Although there was too much cloud for the sunset to colour Uluru the sky in the opposite direction was absolutely breathtaking. Most people were completely oblivious though, since they were staring at the rock waiting for a magical moment which, sadly, never arrived.
Ended the evening with a bbq. Pleasant enough, if a bit too organised. The highlight for us (and several others) were the Spinefax Hopping Mice, tiny marsupials, who were scurrying around under the tables looking for scraps.
Day 19 - Saturday 21st
Awake at 4am so decided to head outside to look at the stars. Stunning.
Later, I went on a tour of the hotel grounds with an aboriginal guide, where I learned about lots of the native flora, and even got to eat some of it. I can recommend the banksia nectar.
Caught our flight to Sydney. Matt met us at the airport with Xander. Drove across the city to their house where Geo and Macy were waiting. We spent a very relaxing evening catching up. All the excitement made for very fractious kids come bedtime.
Day 20 - Sunday 22
Headed to South Point for a walk on the headland. Some huge (harmless) spiders. Lots of beautiful properties several tens of times out of our price range. Oh well.
Drive back with a detour over the harbour bridge.
Kids entertained us all when - with the help of some capes - they transformed themselves into superheroes.