Wednesday, 19 June 2013

We left Erlunda for Uluru Tuesday morning. It is 260 kilometres.  We drive through the most beautiful country, open woodland full of Mulga bushes, Spinifex grasses and with the Desert Oak (Black Casurinas) dominating the skyline and the white trunked gum reaching above all in the creek beds and floodways.  An eagle drifts around in the sky above.  The undulating sandhills give way to an unexpected view of Mt Connor at about 160 kilometres in.  This mountain reaches 300 metres above the desert floor.  My first sighting of Uluru is breathtaking. Just like a postcard it sits solid on the plains. Such a strong symbol of what it is to be Australian. Very humbling.  The cultural centre had lots of the aboriginal stories around the various sites of the rock.  We drove around Uluru and visited several places.  The most peaceful and serene is the pool.  I noticed a strange thing about the desert oak. It has all of its growth contained in the vertical as it starts life.  The horizontals don't develop until the tree is mature.  They look like sentinels guarding the rock. The flower that adorns these trees is an exquisite grevillea type yellow toothbrush. This is the place to visit, despite the cloud cover which affected the colour changes that others have experienced, we were impressed with the might of nature that threw this up in the desert for all time. We left late and had no time to visit the Olgas. On the way home, we had to stop and give way to a train of camels, making their way regally across the Lassiter Highway.  We left Curtain Springs today, where we had left our van and tent.  An emu tried to get into my tent this morning when the rain began.  Too wet to visit Kings Canyon and on to Alice Springs.

We rejoined the Stuart Highway to continue on to the Alice.  More amazing landscape of open woodland and the most spectacular Desert Oak forest. We are still seeing tent hills all the way up to Alice Springs.  We had a short drive into the Henburn Craters made by meteors that hit the earth nearly 40,000 years ago.  These craters were studied by Astronauts prior to the moon landing.  There were some beautiful wildflowers here.  We crossed two ranges of hills running west east before we entered the Heavitree Gap in the McDonnell Ranges to enter Alice Springs.  We are camped on the Todd River tonight.

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