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First experience of the Territory

Posted at 22:06 on Wed, 6th October 2010 in travel.

My thoughts after visiting Uluru and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of visiting Alice Springs, up in the Northern Territory, to meet a new client for work.

My Boss really wanted to check out Uluru (or Ayers Rock) whilst we were there, so we made a side trip with some clever flight scheduling and a hire car. Side note: Uluru is some 400KM's away from Alice by vehicle!

Anyway, prior to arriving at Uluru we made the decision, after reading reports online, that we'd not climb the rock, in respect of the wishes of the Aboriginal people. When we got there though, the climbing path was closed anyway, due to the rain! Yes, Rain! We decided to take the 3 hour, 10KM walk around the Rock, and it was especially special, because we had stunning water falls coming off all around the rock. I managed to take a quick video along the 'base path' i.e. not any of the sacred sites:

For a few days after this walk, my legs were still embarrassingly sore! So since this, I've made an effort to get into shape (but that's another discussion).

As for Alice springs, prior to this visit, I didn't really know anything about the place, except that it was where i thought some dingo allegedly ate a baby back in the 80's (but this actually happened at Uluru anyway!). It's so much more than that though. Alice is almost dead set in the middle of Australia, and its the 2nd largest town in NT after Darwin - for the trivia though, just check out the wikipedia page. The weather there is quite unique, and they don't really have predictable seasons like we have (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) - instead they have hot and slightly less hot, and than sporadic rain throughout the year. Some of the other interesting things about the place though, is that there are all sorts of different people living there from a large tourism working community & backpackers, to researchers & academics, to miners & pastoralists and an American population that work at the mysterious Pine Gap satellite tracking station.

On the day we flew out, we spent an hour in the town of Alice, and got to roam the streets a bit - they have a really decent Aboriginal Art industry going on there, from serious/expensive shops, to the artists selling their work at stalls. I took a liking to Tommy Crow's work - its awesome - I wanted to buy a painting (I wish I did now) but settled for a print.

So if anyone's considering going to the red centre and aren't quite sure - do it!