Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Four-wheeling in the Outback

For our adventures into the outback, we decided to err on the side of safety and go with a group. It is possible to rent a four-wheel drive and trek out there on your own, but I hear a lot of stories about people whose cars break down and they never return, so I thought I should not risk it. At least not on my first trip out there. :)

We started out with a day trip around a few historic sites and national parks. Here is the vehicle we travelled in.

It was half bus, half army tank. The terrain is pretty rough, so you need a machine with power.
That's Michael posing on the mamouth vehicle.

The first place on the itinerary was Hermannsburg, a former missionary town which has kept part of the town as a museum giving a bit of history about the role the mission played in the lives of the aboriginal people living there. The museum made it seem like all of this happened very peacefully, with the missionaries learning the Aranda language and the aboriginals learning German, though I get the sense it was not that easy. There is a lot of racial strife going on all around that area which was not brought out in the open for tourists (obviously), but people I talked to tiptoed around the subject and made it pretty clear that there is a lot going on under the surface. Very intriguing.

As we continued on our way, we passed the salt flats.

Remarkably similar to the one I saw in Utah. Oh, I wish I had my photos from my trip to the southwestern US. I would love to look at these side by side.

Hey - check out these awesome lizards with their camouflage.

We drove down into the Finke River. That's something I found really odd. We passed all these "rivers" that had no water in them. Supposedly during the wet season they do fill up and even flood, though I have a very hard time believing that. The drive down into the river bed was really rough. We were belted in, but even with that we were tossed all around our seats going over these huge bumps and dips.

This is me walking in the Finke River. I think I'll have to come back during the wet season. They say it looks entirely different.

We hiked up to this peak to look out over the river.

Here are some views from the peak. That is me trying to get out of the shot (Michael was the photographer for the trip.)

Once we managed to get out of the river valley (another rough ride), we drove to Palm Valley. Way back, 200 million years ago this area was covered with rainforest. Some of the vegetation has survived, creating places like Palm Valley.

We hiked along here for a few hours, then had a picnic lunch. A great start to our trip.

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