Now that our traveling party has been assembled, the five of us are off a weeklong tour of Australia. Our first stop is the red center of the country to see The Rock. Here's a little background on the Northern Territory and Alice Springs.
The Northern Territory of Australia is the country's third largest state (twice the size of Texas), but is very sparsely populated having just over 200,000 residents. Most of these residents live in Darwin (capital of the Northern Territory) and spread out along the Stuart Highway, which runs from Darwin south to Adelaide (in South Australia). The Northern Territory has a dry and wet season (most of the state is contained within the Tropic of Capricorn). The north coast of the Northern Territory experiences thunderstorms and rain from November to April during the wet season. However, we are heading to the dry, hot, red center where very little rain falls regardless the time of year.
Alice Springs lies along the Stuart Highway and is the geographic center of Australia. The town was originally just a repeater station for the telegraph line from Adelaide to Darwin (so that Great Britain could receive information from the south coast). The town was named after (what was thought to be) a permanent waterhole and the wife of the South Australia postmaster, Alice (hence the name Alice Springs). But despite its name, Alice Springs is in the middle of the desert, surrounded by desert for miles and miles in every direction. The discovery of gold brought the area's first real participants, but now the town receives most of its attention due to tourism as people use Alice Springs as a launching point into the attractions of the Northern Territory.
30% of the Northern Territory's population is made up of Aboriginals, the highest of anywhere in Australia. Some of the population is so remote that children attend school via radio. A flying ambulance service has been set up to access people with emergency medical needs (by a fellow Flynn who appears on the $20 bill).
And of course, most importantly, Mic Dundee is from the Northern Territory.