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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Friday, 24 February 2017


5 am and the alarm woke us from our slumber. The 'Emu coach' to Uluru would be arriving outside the motel at 5.55am so we didn't give ourselves a lot of time to get ready. But at the allotted time we were waiting and sure enough only 5 minutes late, it turned up. Several stops on route to collect more passengers and we were finally on our way along the Stuart Highway to do the 460km to our destination.

Long, long straight roads with an almost flat terrain. The odd sand dune popped up to ease the boredom which became more frequent the closer to Ayres rock we got. Expecting a desert looking landscape, the surprise was lush green growth.  The rains in December last year, continuing into January this year, had carpeted the red sand with some pretty coloured but small flowering plants and grasses. Apparently, we were seeing the Kata Tjuta National Park at its best.

A breakfast stop after 90 minutes was very welcome and so was the stop to look at Mt Connor.

Salt lakes

Mt Connor. So, what does this remind you off?

Ayres rock and out first good glimpse.
Once through the park gates, our driver took us to the Aboriginal Culture Center. The culture of the indigenous people was fascinating and their artwork and stories much admired. We only had 40 minutes at the centre so the film about the first meeting in 1862 with John Mcdouall Stuart and his camels had to be missed.

Top L. Plenty of water still laying after the December/January rains.  Top right. The entrance to the National park Kata Tjuta.  Bottom R&L The Olgas

Walpa Gorge

Some of the many colourful desert flowers still blooming after the rains.

Before admiring the sunset over Uluru we spent a good 90 minutes walking the base with our guide Charlie in heat of around 36 deg. Water was at hand at all times which we were urged to drink in vast quantities. Funnily enough, needing the loo, even after drinking so much, didn't come into the equation. I expect we lost most of our bodily fluid through sweating. The place has a certain aura about it. Not just a large rock stuck in the desert but a place for Dreamtime stories. For the Aboriginal people, Dreamtime represents the essence of their society, culture, traditions and spirituality. It is a time when ancestors, gods and living mortals come together to learn about the heritage and customs of their people. Most pictures of Uluru is of a large mass in a fast plain, but delve deeper and you see caves with drawings and shapes all made form the elements. No wonder this is such a special place for the Aborigines.

A guided walk along the base of Uluru. Top R is the rope to help walkers up to the top. Conditions have to be right for this to be allowed.

At last we arrived at the sunset viewing point. Here our driver and guide laid on a fabulous champagne BBQ. Then we settled down to watch the sun dissappearing and the changing colours of the rock.

As soon as the rock turned brown we had to leave. By now it was 7.30pm and that long drive back was ahead of us. No stops other then a comfort break around 10pm. We eventually arrived back at the motel at 1.30am!

Next morning (Thursday) and wanting to do the blog before I forgot, I switched on the computer  only to discover my profile was corrupted and I couldnt open the desktop. Ian spent hours trying to fix it before finally giving in and finding a computer repair shop.  We eventually left it with John, the man that can, and walked to the Reptile house. By 4 pm we got the call to say it was fixed. It cost $80 but what a relief to get this machine up and running again. No time to post anything because we had an appointment to keep with Kangeroo Dundee himself. More of that tomorrow.

Some wildlife at Uluru.

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