The Wild Outback and Annular Eclipse
May 3 - 15, 2013
A Photographic Journey
Astrophotographer and Astronomer, Fred Espenak
Fred Espenak, noted eclipse expert and astrophotographer, invites you to capture the changing colors of the Red Center, the deep canyons of Kakadu, and the rich Southern Hemisphere’s celestial treasures of the exceptionally dark skies of the Australian Outback. The trip is topped with an annular eclipse of over three minutes annularity.
Your Tour Includes:
- International air LAX/AYERS ROCK/DARWIN/LAX
- Fuel surcharge
- Accommodations: 10 nights accommodations, 4-Star or best available.
- Meals: Breakfasts daily, 1-lunch, 9-dinners
- Sunset cocktails and Sound of Silence dinner at Uluru
- Kakadu National Park
- Yellow Waters River Cruise through deep canyons
- Rock Art sites
- Astro imaging lecture and assistance
- Nightly stargazing and photography
- Eclipse glasses
- Deluxe, air-conditioned motorcoach with professional commentary driver
- All sightseeing and transfer services as specified.
- Personally escorted by popular astronomer, Fred Espenak
On completion of sunrise we start our walk into Valley of Winds. The Valley of the Winds, is just as holy to its aboriginal caretakers as Uluru, located just 45 kilometers away. The rocks of Kata Tjuta are even more ancient than those of Uluru. They have been subject to such tectonic stress over the millennia, that the mud bearing the hard nuggets of sandstone has also long been compressed into stone. The resulting conglomeration resembles chunks of candy studded with nuts and nougats. The highlight of visiting the Olgas is the Valley of the Winds walk, a path that cuts 3 km deep into the long, narrow spaces between the high domes, where the winds howl and carry one's echoes far down the gorges below. On completion of our walk we travel back to our hotel Dune-top platforms provide seating, shade and visitor information. The area offers spectacular panoramic views of Kata Tjuta and the sand dunes. The return walk will take about 30 minutes. Uluru can also be easily seen on the distant horizon from this lookout.
Tour the base of this amazing monolith, and the Mutijulu Base Walk - this track leads to a special waterhole, which is the home of Wanampi, an ancestral watersnake. For centuries Mutitjulu was an important campsite for Anangu at Uluru.
On this walk you will learn about Kuniya Tjukurpa – the great battle between Kuniya (woma python) and Liru (poisonous snake man). From here we continue where we arrive at Mala Walk, this track begins at the Mala Walk coach parking area and ends at the inspiring Kantju Gorge. On this walk you will learn about Mala Tjukurpa and see where dramatic events took place during creation times.
Another photographing spectacular: the sunset over Uluru. Admire the ever-changing array of colors of the mighty monolith while the sun sinks below the horizon. Tonight dine under the dark Southern skies for the Sound of Silence dinner.
Photograph the panoramic views of the township and the rugged West MacDonnell Ranges from Anzac Hill. There ranges are thought to be the oldest in Australia and one of the oldest standing anywhere in the world.
Our guided cruise will take you through an environmental and photographic wonderland. Travel between sheer canyon walls and marvel at the spectacular scenery. Ancient Aboriginal paintings can be seen high on cliff walls and Johnstone freshwater crocodiles may be sighted.
The canopied cruise boats operate year round and are skippered by experienced guides. From here we enjoy lunch at Cooinda from, before we travel to Nourlangie Rock where we can photograph aboriginal rock art. The walls of these rock shelters have served as both shelter and canvases for thousands of years, providing windows for thousands of years, providing windows to a rich spiritual tradition. The paintings at the base can be reached by the circular one and a half kilometre Nourlangie Rock Art Walk. There is a lookout that is well worth the climb for sweeping views of the escarpment. For the more adventurous, there is also a moderately steep climb to Gunwarddehwardde lookout which provides impressive views of both Kakadu's escarpment and Nourlangie Rock.
Late afternoon we transfer to our Sunset Dinner Cruise in Darwin. This unique tropical dining experience aboard the schooner “Alfred Noble” includes a four course seated meal. Full table service for all drinks is also available. The “Alfred Noble” is a beautiful 30 metre spotted gum schooner built in 1951 and has 53 years of service in the Australian Maritime industry. After restoration visitors enjoy her graceful cruising of the Darwin Harbor.