Flies, flies, and more flies!!!

Trip Start Apr 20, 2010
Trip End May 15, 2010

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Where I stayed
Voyages Ayers Rock Outback Pioneer Lodge Hotel

Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Monday, April 26, 2010

This morning we are leaving Sydney for the center of Australia and Uluru.  We took a shuttle from the hotel (Sydney Shuttles for $12pp) which made it really easy to get to the airport.  They picked us up right in front of the hotel so we did not need to struggle in the subway system with our bags and the cost was about the same.  It is a 3 hour flight to Uluru.  This will be our Third World Heritage site on the trip, Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) and one of the natural things I am most looking forward to exploring.  Periodically during the flight I would open the window shade to see what the landscape looked like and let me tell you, it IS a desert.  I have never seen anything quite like it, dry, red, hot but beautiful in its own way.  The land becomes more and more red as we approach our destination.  I kind of had the feeling I would be landing on Mars in a few minutes!!  And on the final turn of the aircraft, our first glimpse at Uluru!!  I am so excited.
One runway and no taxiway.  We land smoothly, taxi to the end of the runway, make a u-turn and taxi back up to the terminal.  It is quite remote and a very small airport, but everyone is EXTREMELY helpful and kind.  Shuttle buses to all the resort's hotels are waiting by and off we go!  We are staying at the Outback Hotel & Lodge in a 4-bedroom dorm (Mom is not too excited about it) but I think it will be fine for a couple of nights.  After settling in, we took the free shuttle to the grocery store (this resort is basically a little town) to get as few supplies.  When we returned we decided to book some tours since there were no rental cars available for us to go completely "independent".  OUCH! they are really pricey!!  We opted for the afternoon shuttle to Uluru with the Sunset viewing for Mom and I got a 2-day pass so that I could come and go as needed (it was a much better value).
We were late starters as we left the resort at 4:30pm which only gave us one hour to explore Uluru.  That ended up being more than enough especially due to the flies!  Yes, you read it right FLIES!  A word of caution to everyone coming to Ayers Rock: BUY a mosquito net!  The flies are absolutely maddening.  They swarm you constantly while you are hiking.  Anyway, back to our story.  We walked around Uluru for about an hour all the time hoping the weather would cooperate and the clouds would move on prior to sunset.  Well, you guessed it, they did not and our sunset experience was by no means spectacular as we had hoped.  That is nature, no one can control it!
We returned to the resort and decided to try out the Aussie BBQ they had on offer.  You select your own meat and cook it on one of the many grills.  It comes with a salad bar so it seemed like a good option and I was hankering for a good steak.  Mom had a veggie burger, I, a piece of flank steak and…….kangaroo!!!  YES, i was brave enough and had some kangaroo (some things do change!!).  It was so-so (both the steak and kangaroo) but it hit the spot anyway.  We turned in early since I had a sunrise excursion in the morning.  :)
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