March 26, 2009

Notes from our travelers: the best way to experience the Australian Outback

This post is by travelers of ours (a husband and wife) from Maryland. They are currently on an around-the-world tour with Artisans of Leisure. Along the way, they have been sending updates about their journey to friends and family back home. They have generously allowed us to share their stories and images with our blog readers.

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“Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) is hot, fly-infested, and in the middle in Australia’s Red Centre–not an easy place to visit.  I couldn’t imagine going to Australia, though, and not seeing a bit of the Outback and the other famous icon of the country.  Some time ago, the government agreed to officially rename the area with its traditional aboriginal name–which I think was a great idea, but not every reference to Ayers Rock has changed yet.”

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“If you’re going to do it, there’s no better place to stay than Longitude 131–where each room is a tented cabin and they all face Uluru, allowing you to watch the changeable quality of the rock at different times of the day.  The real prize of our trip, however, was our guide and driver for the area.  He was the real deal–a bushman who has aboriginal roots and a deep, abiding love and understanding of the people, history, and lore of Uluru. 

Uluru is all about aboriginal myth and legend–every cave, marking, and silhouette has a story associated with it, and Ned told us everything.” 

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“There were two things that surprised me at Uluru–there was much more vegetation than I expected and there is another formation near by that should be as famous as Uluru–Kata Tjuta.  It may not be a single monolith, but it’s just as impressive in its own way.”

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“All the resorts offer a dinner under the stars, with a star talker, which was an unusual experience, too–but nothing beat having Ned and his vehicle to ourselves–to go when and where we wanted, stay as long as we wanted, seek relief from the heat and flies, and ask all the questions that occurred to us. I know that the other pampered guests at Longitude 131 envied the wonderful freedom and flexibility our time with Ned gave us.  Thank you, Artisans of Leisure!!!”
– J.F.

Destinations:  Australia

Tags:  Aboriginal, around-the-world, Artisans of Leisure, Australian, Ayers Rock, blog, culture, dinner under the stars, guide, history, Kata Tjuta, Longitude 131, luxury hotels, luxury resorts, luxury tours, luxury travel, Ned, Olgas, Outback, private, private tours, Red Centre, rock art, safari tours, shore excursions, tours, Uluru