NT Checklist Camel Safari Rich and Edwina

Edwina and Rich looking contented despite having got up before dawn to ride camels- an NT Checklist experience.

After a sequence of Amazing Race-like contests, Edwina and Rich were recently announced as the NT Checklist champions (videos can be viewed here). I got a chance to speak with them after the announcement of their success so they could share with everyone their thoughts and highlights of Australia’s Red Centre and what places and experiences they’d have on their NT Checklist.

NT Checklist winners Rich and Edwina

NT Checklist winners Rich and Edwina

TW: Edwina, you mentioned several times in the videos of the spirituality that you found with the Red Centre. Can you describe what you mean by that?

Edwina: I found that the land has a real power to it. Especially around Uluru, but through the Red Centre in general, there is an unconscious energy in the land. Within minutes of arriving, I felt the stress strip away and an enveloping feeling of being so grounded and life being made so simple. There is a meditative calmness about the whole region which is difficult to describe. I felt very drawn towards Uluru which has a sense of uplifting energy that you can feel by simply being near it. You can feel a huge surge of energy touching the rock and seeing the different spaces as you walk around the rock.

TW: What was your biggest surprise about the Red Centre?

Rich: Undoubtedly the diversity of the landscape. Within a couple of hours the landscape can change dramatically from salt flats to red Earth, through a diverse range of different flora.

TW: For you, what highlights should feature on any NT Checklist?

Rich: Kings Canyon was a huge highlight for me. The panoramic views and the scale, especially at sunrise are eye-opening but the biggest surprise was that much of Australia was once under the sea with features near the top of the rim walk showing signs of once being a seashore. Also the oasis area of Ellery Creek highlights the wonderful diversity of the Red Centre.

Edwina: The highlight for me was spending time with an Aboriginal elder while learning to throw a spear. Even in a short time it showed how much we could learn and benefit from their knowledge and experience and affinity with their land. They have a wonderful knowledge of the plants and bushes, not just as sources of food but for medicines. I think that more could be taught in schools about this and would be good to see as a stronger element of tours through the Red Centre.

TW: After having been to the Red Centre, what could you see as ways to improve promotion of the Northern Territory?

Edwina: As I just described, I believe that there could be stronger efforts to share the Aboriginal culture and their deep and abiding culture. The Australian outback landscape is different with a rawness and ruggedness which doesn’t always come through in holiday promotions.

Rich: I don’t think that international visitors have any real knowledge of the indigenous population or the depth and diverse nature of the Red Centre and that could be shared more. I think that there is a huge variety of tours and trips available in the Red Centre and these could be segmented and highlighted, whether it is visiting a cattle property, playing a didgeridoo, discovering waterholes like Ellery Creek or walking remote tracks. Alice Springs is a melting pot of cultures with a broad range of experiences from mountain biking to aboriginal art.

TW: Finally, you both plenty of chances to experience camels – riding them at sunrise, standing on them, kissing them and eating various parts of them. Has your attitude to camels changed at all?

Rich: I think camels are fantastic from a distance so suited to the desert environment. They are cool characters…apparently… but for me, they won’t be featuring on my menu again.

TW: Thank you both for your time.

Footnote: Lots of Northern Territory and Red Centre travel ideas can be discovered here.

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Welcome to Travel Wonders
My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.
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