Day 78 Ayres Rock to Perth
The Sounds of Silence Tour was fantastic, expensive but then everything is over here. We were picked up from our hotel an hour before sunset and transported about 5 mins drive into the desert to a look out area. Here we were able to watch the sunset over the rock whilst sipping champagne and eating canapés, all very civilised. After dark we walked down a path to an area laid out like an expensive restaurant, all very surreal and were served a very good three course dinner with pretty much as much wine and port as you wanted. As a consequence we both got very drunk, there's a surprise... We sat on a table with a family from New York, a family from Birmingham and three friends from South Africa, US and Brisbane, quite an eclectic mix all told. During dinner we had an introduction to the Southern night sky which to say was spectacular is somewhat of an understatement as there is absolutely no light pollution plus the opportunity to look through a telescope at the rings of Saturn. After dinner it was a short hop back to the hotel and bed. Not in bed for long though as we had an alarm call for 5:30am for our sunrise camel safari. Pick up was supposed to be at 5:45 but it was nearly 6am when they arrived, could have had an extra 10 mins in bed! Another short drive to the farm to meet our hump backed transport, a short demo of how to mount and we were off, me in the front and Bill behind. The ride itself was actually a lot smoother than I expected which was just as well as were both suffering from our over indulgence of alcohol last night! The sunrise was wonderful throwing different hues over Uluru and I was really glad to have the sun come up as it was pretty cold. The temperature variations are quite extreme here with day temperatures as high as 47 deg in the shade and 34 at night and winter temps going below freezing. At the moment it's around 27 during the day and 14 at night. Could do with it a little warmer...
Lunchtime flight to Perth where we are staying with Bill's cousin and family. It's only from the air that you really appreciate the immense swaths of desert and bush that is the centre of Australia. Jennifer met us at the airport where we had to have our bags "sniffed" for fruit before we could take them. Bill had already thrown his apple away before but the dog still picked up the scent. They are really strict about any imports even from other states as apparently there are different diseases in other states that are not present in Western Australia. An Australian couple next to us had a couple of apples confiscated that were found but a Japanese couple we saw were actually being fined so I'm glad we didn't try and sneak anything in.
It's really nice staying in a family home again after all the hotels and just doing normal family things. I think the plan is to have a guided tour tomorrow to get our bearings; I will have to find a phone shop as well as a camera shop as my phone is still not working damn technology…….