O is for the OLGAS
The Olgas or Kata Tjuta, as this rock formation is now known, is part of the Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park. Kata Tjuta’s more famous big sister tends to take the highest profile but if you’re heading for the Red Centre you should allow time to do both parts of the park. This national park is truly Australia’s red heart and is smack bang in the middle of the country and probably encapsulates the sense of the Outback more than anywhere else.
The Olgas from a distance. ©Pauleen Cass 1994
Kata Tjuta is all curves as each rocky dune looms against the vivid blue of the desert sky. The contrasting colours are magnificent with the green of the Spinifex looking almost lime-coloured on film and in some light. It provides its own dot-painting effect against the vivid ochre red of the rock formation. Tucked among the rocks are hidden spots where the desert animals can live, survive and even thrive. A quiet bushwalker has the benefit of hearing the birds and may even see some creatures as well.
On the Valley of the Winds walk. ©Pauleen Cass 1994
The track through the Valley of the Winds is peaceful and restorative, as well as tiring! This is certainly an experience best savoured in the cooler months of the year when overnight it can be decidedly chilly, especially in a tent or swag. Those hot summer months (about October to April) are best avoided as most people will find them unbearable. Do plan to hang around at the Olgas towards the end of the day so you can see the setting sun light the dunes with varying shades of pink and red. Just magnificent!
O is for OPEN GARDENS
Welcome to the garden.
If you love gardens it’s always worth keeping an eye out for the local Open Gardens events when you travel – they’re a great Opportunity to see new and different garden designs as well as plants you may not be familiar with.
The 2013 season Open Gardens NT commenced last weekend and we have a feast of Top End gardens to choose from throughout the Dry. It’s one of our favourite weekend activities to visit a garden and have a coffee and cake while soaking up the ambience. You can see my stories and photos from 2012 through this link.
Why visit: To see a unique natural wonder of Australia and the amazing colours, vegetation and animals of the Outback.
FYI: There are a couple of maps on my A to Z planning post which will help you to pinpoint where today’s tourist spots are situated
On the turps: big drinking session
Old mate: A NT special gradually soaking into the vernacular elsewhere. A generic expression meaning, roughly, bloke, someone you don’t know. So old mate drove his (Land) Cruiser through the creek….
Outback: Australia’s vast interior. The iconic idea of Australia often completely unfamiliar to its many coastal dwellers. The people are typically unemotional and physically tough and laconic.
Ordinary: not the usual meaning of “normal” but also in the Aussie sense can mean sub-par, inferior, not much good. How’re ya going mate? Feeling a bit ordinary today…
I wonder where the letter P will take us tomorrow? How about back into the Kimberley?