Stage 3: Uluru and Alice Springs
Alice Springs is right in the middle of Australia, surrounded by desert. We rented a car here and drove to Uluru (formerly called Ayer's Rock). This monolith is of great spiritual significance to the aborigines, and it's also famous for the way it changes color at sunset. We watched it a couple of times as it caught the last rays of the sun.. and we weren't moved by the experience, but the trip to Uluru left a lasting impression on Catherine - it was the highlight of her trip, in fact. It certainly does feel like a special place, a million miles from anywhere.
The aborigines never climb Uluru, which is sacred to them, but some tourists do. The steep and slippery ascent over the smooth rock surface is quite dangerous and several tourists have fallen to their deaths or died of heatstroke at the top. We didn't climb.
Here's a 'thorny devil' which we spotted in the fine new museum near Alice Springs.
And here's an odd creature we spotted coming out of the Qantas pilots lounge at Alice Springs airport - pilots are especially susceptible to the effects of uv radiation, due to the hole in the ozone layer in the southern hemisphere.