NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA
Luck was on my side in 1997 when I checked-in for a domestic flight, Cairns to Darwin. One-way.
“Passport, please.” Said the pretty little lady dressed in blue polyester.
Hands over the passport. “So, you’re Canadian, eh?”
“Um, yeah.” Not giving in, she wanted me to say it. To say, eh. Well, I didn’t.
“Would you like to sit in the cockpit for take-off and landing today?”
What the what? What she just say? My body still intoxicated, filled with VB vapours from the beach party the night before.
“Yeah, yes. Ok. Wow. Thank you.” Effin almighty, eh!
I wish I could say that I have a super photo of that voyage, but I haven’t. What I do have are the memories. The clear skies, the roar of the engines, the big headphones over my ear, all the gadgets tinkering away times and altitudes. The happy pilot describing in detail what everything is, pointing out cloud formations with the scientific names, I was floored. I was in heaven, literally.
Lift-off was an omg moment. Actually what I said was, “Holy effin shit. OMG. I think I’m going to die. Wow … This is beautiful.“
The landing was spectacular. The redness in the earth contrasting against the blue-blue sky is something I will never forget. Thank you for the memories Australia.
Wanna know the real reason I went to Australia? I dreamed about it for years, for aeons, forever.
ULURU – Ayers Rock
My mother has a long time friend that lives in Melbourne, Australia. For the better part of my childhood, they were old-school pen pals. I remember watching my Mother carefully craft letters and parcels to her friend down under. And in return the friend would send children’s books, encyclopedias on Australia’s flora and fauna, the animals, and the diversity of this wonderful amazing country all in this super big coffee book. It was love at first sight when I had this encyclopedia in my hands. I feel in love with a place I’d never been, only dreamed about. When I was all grown-up and could make life-changing decisions on my own, I packed up my little belongings and off I went in search of this dream. And here she is in all her deserved glory.
I wanted to see the red desert for myself. I wanted to touch (and only touch) Uluru. I wanted to see this place where a huge, gigantic rock lived and in such a barren red desert. We camped just outside the park, had a wonderful barbecue, hiked around Uluru, sang camp songs and just lived my dream. I was in awe. I had no words then, and it seems now the words escape me when I want to describe this moment. T’was inspiring.
The journey down the centre warmed my heart, settled my soul and freed my mind. I was a changed woman after three weeks in the desert. Going walk-about or bushwalking was another adventure I was keen to experiment with. My guide didn’t allow me to go off on my own (as I had hoped), but we did have guided tours in The Northern Territory and it was amaze-balls.
I was right in the middle of no-where. Population .2. What’s a single girl to do? Get the ‘ell outta town. Grab the first bus and head south.
Nothing for days. Just red desert and blue-blue skies. The odd tree made an appearance as did the wild kangaroo and maybe a dingo.
Maybe it was the fence that gave this dingo a sour face. The Dingo/Dog Fence was built in the 1800’s and took five years to complete. It was built to keep dingoes and dogs out of south-eastern Australia, the idea to protect sheep farms in southern Australia. It’s one of the longest structures in the world at 5,614km.
The sign reads:
THE DOG FENCE
William Creek (left) and to Coober Pedy (right)
This 9,600km fence runs from Surfers Paradise, Qld. to the Bight near W.A. Dingoes are found to the north – in cattle country. Protected sheep country is to the south. For more information: Underground Books Coober Pedy.
Northern Territory you changed my life. I am forever grateful. Thank you.