Outback and back
Upon leaving Cairns, we traveled by plane 3 hours to the desert town of Alice Springs, located in the heart of Australia's Outback. It was clear to us that the flight beat out the 30 or so hour car ride to cover the same distance.
The Outback - more green than I thought!
Once in Alice Springs we rented a car to get us the rest of the way to our ultimate destination - Uluru, often known to us westerners as Ayers Rock. I'm not sure what has always piqued my interest in visiting the site, but I was certainly not disappointed.
Just when I was about ready to be done covering the 4 hour drive through the desert, the mysterious rock emerged from its hiding place and as we drew closer quickly realized just how awe-inspiring one rock could be. Taking in the views during the three hour perimeter walk and watching its color shift as the sun's light caught it at different times of the day were mesmerizing - it is no surprise that the aboriginal locals still revere it as one of their most sacred sites. I wish pictures could do it justice, but it is definitely something that needs to be seen.
Beautifully red Uluru at sunset
During our time at Uluru we also visited Kata Tjuta, a series of stone formations hewn by God out of the same material as Uluru itself. It's possible I even enjoyed hiking through these even more than the mighty red rock!
Hiking through Kata Tjuta
After saying our goodbyes to large desert rocks, we flew back to the Australian state of Queensland, this time landing in its capital of Brisbane. Although a large city spread out over many kilometers, we instantly fell in love with the clean, diverse, skyscraper filled and yet small feeling CBD. The city's Central Business District was so full of neat architecture mixed in with those modern buildings and so many different types of restaurants and take-away food courts that we almost didn't know where to turn. The city is also filled with pedestrian only outdoor malls and many green spaces that you could easily find a peaceful place to enjoy those meals.
We were lucky enough to stay in the tallest building in the city, so we had all of the CBD at our fingertips. Even so, our journeys here also took us to an animal reserve where we got to get close and personal with Australia's famous creatures - some of which we'd never seen before!
Catherine and I holding some wild animals
Although perhaps not on everyone's radar, I could easily see myself spending more time in Brisbane. I didn't even mention that it has two world class beaches just to the north and south! Well, let's see how the capital of New South Wales, Sydney, is able to compare! Stay tuned!