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.