The main reason for my visit to North Australia, or the Northern Territory as they call it was the Ayers Rock. Namely, one of my main interests in the last couple of years has been visiting place with ancient visual art and I knew that Ayers rock is a Mecca for someone with such interests. Luckily I have an old friend in Darwin, which is actually the capital of this part of Australia and she invited me to check out the city, the rest of this part of Australia and of course, the Ayers rock.
Now, I live in New York and have been living in New York for the last 15-odd years and my driving license and my driving skills have mostly been collecting dust for those 15 years and as soon as I came to Darwin, I decided to take some driving lessons for foreign students, both to brush up on my neglected driving skills but also to get used to driving on the left side of the road. Namely, my friend and I decided to explore the north by car and I wanted to do the driving. After a few days, we set off on our little journey.
The first thing we visited on our journey was the Kakadu National Park. Now, I have visited a few national parks in my time, but this was just insane. It is this gigantic national park where you could spend a year and still not see everything. My friend knew all about my interests so we checked out some rock paintings done by the Aboriginal people. Some of the best I ever saw we saw at Burrunggui, a location known for its staggering beauty and also some of the most intricate and beautiful rock paintings in all of Australia. We also visited the Jim Jim Falls, one of the prettiest places I have seen in my life, easily. Kakadu is one place I will definitely return to one day.
And then we headed off south. After a very long drive through almost surreal parts of Australia, we came to Alice Springs, a rather small town which actually happens to be one of the biggest in the Northern territory. Based there, we went on to visit West MacDonnell national park and the Ochre Pits found there, one of my new favorite places on planet as well as the Finke Gorge, which is also quite a sight, with those red rocks and almost unreal scenery. After two days there, we went on to our final destination.
Our final destination was everything that I hoped it would be and then some. I have seen the world but I have to see that the Ayers rock still managed to take my breath away and to absolutely stun me. It is something out of this world and the rock paintings; I have no words to describe them. It was absolutely sublime. We also visited the nearby Kata Tjuta Mountains, or The Olgas, another rock formation that looks like something out of 1970s French Space Opera comic books.
As I drove back to Darwin, I felt as I have just visited a place outside of planet Earth, something very special and very unique. I have spent a few more weeks with my friend in Darwin and we visited the Litchfield National Park as well as the Tiwi Islands off northern coast and it was majestic, every single trip.