The Aussie Outback

On a trip to Australia, not long ago, I visited the fabled Outback and the infamous Ayer’s Rock and was truly amazed by this most marvelous and yet desolate space. Aside from being remote, I was amazed at the interesting wildlife found throughout.

The nearest major population center to Ayer’s Rock is Alice Springs, famous for its historic importation of camels from the Middle East and North Africa for use in intercontinental transport of goods and people. When the use of modern technology transplanted the camel, the thousands of dromedaries and their decedents were released or escaped into the wild and today, the area surrounding Ayer’s Rock and Alice Springs is home to the world’s only surviving population of feral (formally domesticated or descended from domesticated ancestors) camels. In addition to the camels, other introduced species in the area include the cat, dog, mouse, fox, and rabbit.

However, the area in and around the Uluru – Kate Tjuta National Park is home not only to imported animals but is also home to a host of exotic and varied native species as well. Perhaps most notorious and iconic is the kangaroo. Similar to the North American white tail deer in terms of their continental distribution, the kangaroo is found throughout central Australia (as well as the whole of the continent) and also lives within close proximity to its smaller but similarly built cousins the wallaroo and the wallaby.

In addition, to the animal life, this part of Australia is known for its isolation and remoteness and, as I said, I was struck as to just how alone we really were out there. The native aboriginal peoples often spoke of the “walkabout” a solitary journey into the bush of the outback in order to find one’s self. Today, modern travelers from the west often attempt to emulate this ancient ritual in an attempt to connect with nature and to leave the rat race fully behind them. Whether you make the journey alone, like the natives once did, or whether you choose to bring along your friends or loved ones, you are sure to find an excursion into the outback rewarding and therapeutic. I know that for me, my trip to Australia – and to the Outback in particular – was a memorable time and destination and one that I long to return to.

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