Rain on Uluru – a Dream Come True


We’ll always remember the 4th of December 2010. It rained on and off overnight, quite heavily around dawn. We were woken by loud thunderclaps, and we were quietly excited that this might be the day – we might finally see rain on Uluru. By the time we got up the rain had all but ceased, so our first job was to make sure our campsite was secure, and not flooded, as there was a fair bit of run-off coming through the campground. As soon as we could, we raced up to the nearby lookout to check out Uluru, but were disappointed to see that the rain had cleared over her. Damn!


Cave Hill & the Seven Sisters Creation Story

A 'bonsai' White Cedar on the top of Cave Hill

The day after our trip to Mt Conner we were booked with the same company (SEIT in partnership with the indigenous owned Desert Tracks), for a trip to Cave Hill.

Cave Hill is in the Musgrave Ranges, around 100km south of Uluru, but the country remains within Pitjantjatjara lands.  When we learned that Cave Hill had the most significant art site within central Australia, we were sold on the tour, especially given that the tour provided the only way for us to visit.


Mt Conner

Western face of Mt Conner

Mt Conner’s main claim to fame is that it is often mistaken for Uluru by first-time visitors to the centre.  Located within the Curtin Springs cattle station, it is not open to the public, and thus receives few visitors.  Most people content themselves with a long-distance view from the lookout beside the highway, while those in tour buses get even less – possibly a blurry photo out the window as the bus roars along towards Yulara.  But Mt Conner is worthy of its own place in the pantheon of famous Australian landmarks.


Kata Tjuta

The main domes of Kata Tjuta.  Mt Olga at centre left, rises 546m above the surrounding plains. Kata Tjuta is beautiful, immense and imposing.

Kata Tjuta, meaning “Many Heads”, may be less famous than Uluru, but is equally spectacular.  Kata Tjuta consists of 36 steep domes rising abruptly out of the surrounding plain.  Formed at the same time as Uluru, in the same sedimentary basin, Kata Tjuta nonetheless consists of conglomerate rock rather than the fine-grained sandstone of Uluru.  The tallest of the domes, Mt Olga (we don’t know its traditional name) rises 546 metres above the plains, almost 200 metres higher than does Uluru.  A walk through this area leaves one in awe, speechless and certainly feeling a little less self-important.  It is one of nature’s places of power.



Uluru rolls out the Parakeelya carpet

We visited Uluru in September 2009, and like everyone else we were awed by its presence.  Nothing has changed on that front in a little over a year – seeing Uluru again up close still took our breath away.  But the countryside around Uluru has been transformed, and it is now surrounded by wildflowers and wildlife.  Its waterholes have been flushed clean and topped up; there are even frogs and tadpoles in Kantyu Gorge, a wonderful sign that its previously polluted waters are healthier now.


Rainbow Valley & Watarrka – Wild Country, Wildflowers, Wildlife and Wild Weather

Late afternoon, Rainbow Valley

It seems like months since we drove away from Alice Springs, our car and camper trailer packed to bursting point with food, water, fuel and all the books and treasures we accumulated over the past year during our stint of town living.  In fact, we’ve been away a week, but in that time we’ve packed in plenty of adventures, and had some thrown our way.


The Falckes Visit the Centre

Nirbeeja, Bev & Les at Simpson's Gap

Well, work is over and now it is time to play again!!!
I have just completed 10 months of being a “check-out chick” at Woolies. At the time of completion, we still had 6 or so weeks before we get back out onto the road.
Reasons for finishing work early??……1. I had had enough. and 2. We had friends and relatives visiting.
Our first visitors were our friends Janice and Chris from Canberra, and Peter has told of their visit in a previous post.


Recent photos, Alice Springs, October 2010

Nirbeeja "feels the serenity" of Jay Creek

I know, you’ve seen and heard it all before – birds, wildflowers, rugged inland scenery, and me rabbiting (bilbying?) on about how much rain we’ve had in Alice Springs and how green everything is.  Well……tough.  Here’s a bit more. And in any case, we are leaving Alice next week to explore the broader region so I couldn’t resist one more opportunity to showcase the rare beauty of Australia’s centre in full bloom.


Alice Springs Masters Games 2010 – Opening Parade

I always had a crush on Wonder Woman - but four at once! Actually, members of the Western Wonder Women volleyball team.


The concept of “Masters Games” always conjured up an image for me of a few old codgers shuffling around a running track, with a St John’s Ambulance team waiting anxiously at the finish line.

Before I’m lynched by some spritely mob, let me set the record straight.  There’s far more than athletics on offer here at the 12th Masters Games in Alice Springs.

And let me quickly add…..I’ve never seen a bunch of happier, healthier and more animated people in my life.  I must also confess that I am well and truly beyond the minimum entry age of 35.  So there.


Friends visit Alice Springs – we show them the Red (or was that Green) Centre

Field of wildflowers beside Binns Track, south east of Alice Springs

Our friends Christopher and Janice from Canberra made a flying visit to Alice Springs last weekend.  It was Janice’s third time here this year, and Christopher’s second.  They almost consider themselves to be locals now.

Their visit had been planned for a couple of months, and we were hoping the area would still be as pretty as we assured them it was.  All year we kept reporting flowing rivers, regular rainfall, wildflowers and abundant wildlife.  In the end I think they visited just to shut me up!