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:


Umm, yeah.

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.


  1. Ray Burton

    Millions of flies and wallaby turds. Now that`s an enduring image to savour.The flies get into everything, and I mean everything Glad you got to see some desert landscapes. Can`t believe its been a month since Opening day.

  2. Zack Hample

    Yes, so you see? The fact that I didn’t make it to Ayers Rock wasn’t the worst thing ever. (But I do still wish I went there. But then again, I heard that the flies over there were ten times worse.)

    Ha! Good call. I love turning everything into a competition.

  3. Sf Connor

    Have you seen a movie called Walkabout? All this terrain reminds me of it. And it’s a good movie

  4. Larry

    Nice. Australia looks like a nice place. The tour guides seem a lot better than the ones in the US. A TON better.

  5. Ray Burton

    So Brian , I guess the main point you`re making is that Australia is a great place apart from the hordes of venomous snakes , spiders , jellyfish , octopus , stonefish , cone shells , ticks and centipedes and the man-eating sharks and crocodiles. Hmm , I suppose you`re right. They are a bit of a disadvantage. Funny how the locals never worry about them. And Zack , I used to think that guys who wore those fly screens on their heads looked like tools too. Then I was nearly driven insane on a particularly fly infested trip to central Australia. Sacrifice looks for comfort any day if it helps. PS the cats say ” hello “. Congrats to Leigh for a nice game home run snag the other day.

  6. Zack Hample

    Never seen it. Never even heard of it, but I’ll be on the lookout for it.

    I suppose it’s a good thing, but even for someone who’s never been to Australia, it should be pretty obvious that that post is sensationalized. After having been there, my assessment is that all these crazy creatures exist, but not in everyday life. You’d really have to go looking for them out in nature.

    I can’t remember ever taking a tour in America, so I’ll have to take your word for it.

    Haha! Well said. I’m surprised, though, that YOU, of all people, Mister Manly Man, would support my decision to wear a fly-net. As for Padre Leigh, which homer did he catch?

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