After a year of planning, we set of at 6am on the 23rd of June for our 3 week outback adventure. We planned to go to Uluru (Ayers Rock) via Broken Hill, through to Port Augusta, up through Coober Pedy and via the Painted Desert and the Oodnadatta Track, back to Broken Hill / Silverton and back into Sydney via Cobar once again. We planned to visit a number of Aussie icons; places like Ayers Rock, The Olgas, Williams Creek, Lake Eyre – all locations I have wanted to visit since I was a young boy. I packed my Bible and a couple of other books into my kit to read and some paint and brushes to do some painting. I have to confess that I hardly did any reading at all during my time away – and I only opened my Bible on a few occasions for personal devotion time.
However, a favourite verse says that all of creation speaks of the glory of God and over the last 17 days numerous scripture verses and stories came and filled my thoughts and my minds. Most nights at the campfire we held a time of devotion with my son and nephew as we read through a Children’s devotional book. In the outback the sky is so clear, it seemed as if we only had to lift our hands up to the sky and touch the stars. The Milky Way looked milky. The sunsets were like the horizon was on fire. The sun rises were a sight to behold. Every night I saw shooting stars. I was awestruck by the desolation and isolation of the desert. And I felt the gentle blowing of the Holy Spirit begin to fill a deep void in my soul once again as I was reminded of the psalmists who say that God created and placed every star in the sky.
There were a number of breathtaking moments. The first time Ayers Rock came into view, I had to stop and take a deep breath. I knew it was big. I knew it was a big rock. I knew it was a huge rock. But; I had no idea just how big that rock was till I saw it looming in the distance. While stopping to take some photos, the verses of the song, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…” came to my lips and I quietly stood there worshiping God. And I felt the Spirit of the Lord whispering deep into my soul how the majesty and greatness of Ayers Rock paled in comparison to solidness and majesty of Christ. We explored the Olga’s and the Rock and I was amazed at the hugeness of them all. Tourists are asked not to climb the rock in respect for the indigenous people who traditionally live in the area – though they can if they desire. I had already made the decision not to climb it – and that decision was confirmed when I read the following quip at the cultural center – “The goal for coming to the Rock shouldn’t be to climb the rock – rather the goal should be to understand the rock!”
Our return trip took us through the Painted Desert which was truly breath taking. The roads we traveled took us through pastoral stations, which were all a minimum of 1.2 million acres. I was amazed to see a number of cows that looked well fed during our travels through the desert. In many ways I liked the Painted Desert much more than I did Uluru.
We travelled 200kms through this rugged country, till arriving at our lunch time destination. The Pink Road House at Oodnadatta and another 50km of travel to our camping spot at Algrebruka Bridge / Waterhole.