Howdy kids. So we reluctantly left the serene chilled oasis of the campsite pool in Alice Springs on the 23rd and coaxed Lily south the 500-odd kilometres to Ayres Rock, The Olgas, and King's Canyon. Or to give them their Aborigine names - Uluru, Kata Tjuta and, er, King's Canyon. More red earth, lizards, and sun. And heat. And, at the last count, 26 magnificent wedge-tailed eagles, which cruise the thermals high up and then duck down our way to scavenge on carrion. They're in luck. Dead roos and cows litter the sides of the road, having had either a serious thirst issue or a major disagreement with something with 4 or more wheels, thereby providing a square meal every few miles for the big-taloned fellas. Abs got a couple of awesome shots - the youngsters are a tad skittish but the big adults know you're going to drive round them so hang around posing for photos, looking all mean and eagle-ish.
After staring at endless horizon for hours, got to Yalara, the resort servicing the national park. We were expecting a kind of shanty town, worse for wear out here in the arid wilderness, no water for thousands of miles, cracked skin on the faces of those that live there. No. Less broken desert village, more Butlins in the sand. Anyhow, checked out the sunset before getting an early one in anticipation of getting up at stoopid o'clock for the ubiquitous Ayres Rock tourist sunrise.
Uluru - 2 billion years old, red, iconic, 9.4 km circumference walk, plus 2 km run as Abi lost her shades while weeing in a bush and dodging dingos, sunset and sunrise bit cloudy so rubbish photos.
Kata Tjuta - getting on a bit too, means "many heads", 36 mini-Ulurus, red, less iconic as no-one's heard of them.
King's Canyon - deep, red, vertigo-inducing cliffs, used to be under water about a gadillion years ago, lizards, 6 km hike, both of us swerved the waterpool swim due to leeches. Maybe.
So there you have it - the Red Centre. Very good. Well done geological history. The age of everything is immense, something you can't really get your head round. We didn't climb on anything out of respect for the wishes of the local Aborigine tribes - they see it as a big no-no so that's a good enough excuse to not go climbing in 36 degree heat. Oh yeah, and not desecrate an ancient site.
Next stop - Mad Max / Priscilla Queen o' the Desert country, Coober Pedy.