Patricia Newell-Dunkley- Photographs by Reginald J. Dunkley

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A greeting from down-under where the weather is still very warm for this time of year, and it is an ideal season to visit the outback.

The Red Centre is at the heart of the Australian outback, and is the home of the magical Uluru and Kata-Tjuta formerly known as Ayres Rock and the Olgas.

This enchanting location is more than just vast desert and a pile of rocks; it is an incredible thriving eco system that is spiritually entwined into the ancient indigenous culture of the Aboriginal people. This place is highly significant to the Anangu people and here you can learn about their ancient ways and experience the magic of this landscape through the eyes of the world’s oldest living culture.

There are many ways to discover and explore the outback – for the adventurous you can take off on a quad bike tour, go mountain-bike riding, trek along the Larapinta trail, four-wheel driving, bush camping, and swimming in lush waterholes are all popular activities in the Red Centre.

Yum YumDisplays and museums offer a glimpse into the lives of the early settlers in the remote Alice Springs area, and interactive cultural activities that add authenticity to your Red Centre outback experience. These displays, performances, activities and tours have all been specially created to help visitors understand the heritage and culture of the region.

Alice Springs is the main hub of the Red Centre and it is a fascinating town, embracing a mix of many diverse cultures, Australian Indigenous, Pacific Islanders, American, European, African, Indian, and Asian all living harmoniously.

Surrounded by red soil and beautiful mountain ranges you will find ‘Alice’ a surprising city full of arts and events.  Aboriginal Artworks are displayed across Alice Springs, together with traditional basket weaving; the Albert Namatjira Gallery and the Museum of Central Australia are extremely popular and well supported.

Explore the MacDonnell Ranges, with incredible views, freshwater swimming holes and camping spots. Discover Simpson’s Gap which is renowned for its towering cliffs and resident wildlife including black footed rock wallabies. This is also an important spiritual site with dreaming trails and many stories. Dine under the Milky Way Stars.

Uluru is without doubt one of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks set in the dusty orange outback, the scenery is a sight to behold. As darkness falls, the clear blue sky turns an inky black and the Milky Way appears in all its glory, and star gazing becomes a unique opportunity.

Water Dragon Big Boy

Water Dragon Big Boy

With no artificial light in the outback to interfere with the night sky, you can see the Milky Way in the clearest way possible. You can also catch a glimpse of other sky objects like the Magellanic Clouds and the famous Southern Cross Constellation.  Wait for the sun to rise over Uluru, watch the landscape change from inky black to vibrant pinks, oranges and reds. Enjoy this magical moment and a start of a new day in this special part of Australia.

This is adventure travel with a capital A.

Here at Shelly Beach all is well with extremely warm weather, the surfers are out in full and everyone is taking advantage of the perfect conditions.   The birds are flying in for breakfast and also afternoon tea. The Brush Turkey has definitely taken up residence in the garden, which is unusual as they really like the bush where they can build their nests, which are mound like and three feet high.  I just hope this one does not start building although at the moment she is always digging holes.

Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is happy trotting around and checking for the blue tongued lizard that is due back any day soon.

My books “Letters of a Travelling Lady, Wallis the Woman I Love, The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain,” are available on Amazon, Xlibris and The Crowood Press.

Cheers.    Patricia.