This was the final full day of my trip, and I went on a guided tour of the MacDonnell Ranges — a famous mountainous region of the outback in the Northern Territory of Central Australia. Look how gorgeous the scenery was on the way to the first stop:
The view out the back window was also spectacular:
The first stop was a place called Standley Chasm. Here are some of the other people on the tour, following the guide along a path to get there:
Take another look at the photo above. Do you see the guy wearing a bug net over his head? Don’t laugh at him for looking silly. It was a genius move. See the guy whose back is facing the camera? Do you see anything *on* his back?
Here’s a closeup:
All those little specks are bugs! They were EVERYWHERE. Thankfully they didn’t bite, but they were incredibly annoying. Every few seconds, one of them would land on some portion of my body, often my face and crawl/buzz around my nose and eyes and ears. I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind, but what could I do? We were in the middle of nowhere, so I just dealt with it and tried to enjoy the day.
Here’s a photo of me at the chasm:
On the way back to the bus, I wandered inside a gift shop for no other purpose than to escape the bugs for a couple of minutes. I didn’t plan to buy anything until I saw this:
It was $9, but for all I cared, it could’ve cost $99. I handed over the money, tore open the package, threw that damn fly-net over my head, and stepped back outside:
Suck it, flies!
I was brand new man.
Meanwhile, my tour guide, Clive, didn’t seem to be the least bit bothered by the flies. Here he is setting up some tea for us near the bus:
Eventually we got back in the bus and headed to our next stop. When we got out, I took a photo of the license plate, just because I thought it was cool:
Our next stop was at a place called the ochre pits. Here I am posing there:
The fly-net, I realized, was great for keeping the flies away, but lousy for being photographed.
Clive set up a nice little lunch for us at our next stop . . .
. . . and then we wandered off yet again to another scenic spot — easily one of THE most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Have a look for yourself:
Yes, the flies were just as bad in this spot (which was called Ormiston Gorge), but whatever. I couldn’t bear the thought of being photographed anymore wearing the net.
We had to walk a bit at our next stop . . .
. . . but it was worth it:
The place pictured above is called Glen Helen Gorge.
All of the stops featured signs like this:
I didn’t bother reading the signs while I was there; I simply photographed them all so I could educate myself later.
Here I am at Ellery Creek . . .
. . . and here’s a cute tree I noticed atop the rocks:
On the way to our next and final stop, we passed a cattle crossing:
We were heading to a place called Simpsons Gap, and from the moment we stepped out of the bus in the parking lot, I knew it was going to be magnificent:
Here I am jumping off a small rock:
Here I am crouching beneath some huge rocks:
Here’s one more photo of me at Simpsons Gap:
In case you’re wondering, I had a tripod with me and took all these photos of myself with a 10-second timer.
All the rocks were pretty much the same color, but the sunlight and shadows created a heavy contrast:
And finally, here’s something I’m sure you want to see:
Those are wallaby turds. Yummy.
Now . . . as I said at the top, this was my final full day in Australia, but I still have one more entry coming about my 43-hour trip back home. Then I’ll get back to more baseball-y things.