Travel Information - O
The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) is a spectacular group of 36 massive red rock outcrops separated by narrow valleys and covering 35 square kilometres about 50k from Ayers Rock (Uluru). The highest is Mount Olga which rises 546 metres above the desert floor. Kata Tjuta means 'many heads' in the language of the Anangu people. Many visitors find The Olgas even more inspiring than Ayers Rock. There are walks from an hour to five hours through the gorges and around the outcrops, though restrictions apply if it is forecast that the temperature will exceed 36 degrees C.
The spectacular Sydney Olympics were dubbed 'the best Games ever' and the benefits will be felt for a long time to come with improved infrastructure, public transport, sporting venues and accommodation/restaurants etc. Until 2000 Melbourne was considered to have the country's superior sporting facilities, mainly thanks to the 1956 Games. Brisbane is host for the 2001 Goodwill Games.
Australian opals are among the bast in the world. A visit to the northern NSW mining town of Lightning Ridge will give you an up close experience although most opal lovers will head to the specialist shops in the major tourist centres. Outback Coober Pedy is another town built on opal mining (and so hot most of the residents live underground). The town's name comes from the Aboriginal 'kupa piti' meaning 'white man in a hole'.
The Sydney Opera House is an architectural masterpiece but it is not just for lovers of opera. It is also home to contemporary plays, rock concerts and restaurants. Visitors to Sydney won't be able to miss its external beauty, but it's worth a closer look as well.
The 'outback' is a strange term that really has no definite geographic boundaries, but you'll know when you reach it (somewhere between the lush pastoral lands and the arid desert). By definition it is remote, sparsely inhabited Australian back country but even though the vast majority of the Australian population is urban and coastal, the 'outback' is very much part of the Australian psyche.