MESSAGE: Australia – Outback *VIDEO*

Erin_and_the_Chopper_3When we think of Australia, we’re really thinking about The Outback – it’s 95% of Australia’s land mass and home to only 20% of its people. Truly the great unknown. I couldn’t wait to get there and it was definitely the highlight of my time Down Under.

MEET (Cool Meet Ups) – This would be the Red Gum Lounge on The Ghan, Australia’s famous train running from Adelaide through Alice Springs to Darwin. I paid for only a sleeper chair for my 24-hour ride, but popped for a $10 Red Gum Lounge upgrade, giving me access to free tea and coffee, lounge chairs, piped in music, and newspapers. What a bargain!

EAT (Tasty Eats) – I’ve tried the meat pies, boy, have I tried the meat pies. Every time someone tells me, “This bakery has the best meat pies this side of Kalgoorlie,” I go for it. And am sorely disappointed. Yuk!

So my choice of eats for Australia is all the amazingly diverse ethnic cuisine that’s available: Thai, Indonesia, Greek, Middle Eastern, Persian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. Did I miss any?

SEE (Must-see Sights) – The mind-blowingly beautiful desert landscapes. I can’t get enough of them.

Waking up at 6:00 am one morning, I was rewarded with the most spectacular sunrise I have ever seen. Check out the photo essay of my shots from The Ghan.

SHOP (Gotta Have) – I found it — The perfect hat! I paid $65 for it, but it is well worth every penny. I’m getting kind of attached to it already!

Erin_modeling_new_Aussie_HatAccording to my buddy Squatter, the key features of a true Aussie bush hat are:

  • 1) Leather that’s waterproof – this means no fancy stitching which might let the rain leak through.
  • 2) Wide brim – the brim should come to about half way to your should to ensure you head stays dry in a downpour.
  • 3) Collapsible – a suede hat will allow you to crunch down the crown for easy packing (OK, this is my criteria)
  • 4) Chin Strap – (OK, also my criteria) But essential so that hat doesn’t blow off during boat rides.

ACTIVITY (Gotta Do) – This would be riding a Harley around Uluṟu (Ayer’s Rock). I woke at 5:00 am and climbed on the back of my buddy Arnold’s brand new sparkling blue Hog. We saw the rock from every angle as we raced around. Check out this video of the fun!

GIVE (Greatest Need) – It’s got to be the Aborigines. The indigenous people of Australia are totally disaffected. All the Australians I talked to admitted “something” needed to be done, but no one really has a clue as to how to help them. A first step has been made though with the government’s Apology.

On a brighter side, each year on Australia Day, January 26, indigenous people perform a ceremony called Woggan-ma-gule, which means “meeting of the waters.” This symbolic dance is performed to commemorate the past and celebrate the future. Check out these amazing photos of this year Morning Ceremony.

Ghan_SunriseENJOY (Extra Fun) – My bit of extra fun would be the helicopter ride over and around Uluṟu (Ayer’s Rock). From the chopper we saw wild camels, Kata Tjuṯa (The Olgas), and a “red center” desert that was green for the first time in 30 years (due to the recent floods).

When climbing into the helicopter I asked if there were parachutes. The pilot Matt just laughed. It was the same laugh I heard when I ordered a Fosters beer, which is a marketing gimmick for export only. Dumb American.

The OZ Outback – So when are you going?! Write and let me know!

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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 13th, 2011 and is filed under Asia Pacific, Messages by Country.

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