The Australian outback

Once taller than the Andes, Uluru is now reduced to a smooth stub just 348 metres in height. It is stunning nevertheless, whichever angle it is viewed from. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
The author skydiving along with the instructor Alois David, who took this selfie. Photo: Alois David
Spinifex, a form of desert grass found abundantly in the outback, in Alice Springs. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
The land of the Aboriginal people where no one else can go. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
Kata Tjuta, a multi-domed rock formation also known as Olgas, is where the Anangu believe the spirits of their ancestors reside and also where the initiation ceremonies of the male members of the family are held. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
Nectar from this plant is used by the Aboriginal people to sweeten their food. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
A waterhole near Uluru. The secret to surviving in the outback is to know the location of waterholes. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
An owl in Alice Springs. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
A cockatoo waits patiently near the only waterhole for miles around Uluru. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
A tree lizard at Alice Springs. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
Camels in the outback. Originally, camels were brought to Australia by Afghans, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Punjabis and Pathans. Now they are reared mainly for tourism. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
A wild emu. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
A wild wallaby. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
Telegraph Trail Station, Alice Springs. This 19th century telegraph station has been preserved intact to commemorate the pioneering spirit of a people who built the cable across mostly barren territory. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
Bance, an Uluru family member, displaying an old photograph as he narrates some of the Uluru traditions and customs on a tour of the Aboriginal lands. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), Alice Springs, renders medical aid to far-flung communities using small aircraft which also double as ambulances and ICUs. Started in May 1928, today the RFDS has 1,225 employees and 67 aircraft operating from 23 bases. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
Aboriginal art on display at the Crowne Plaza Lasseters Hotel, Alice Springs. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
Artwork by children in School of the Air, Alice Springs, funded by the Northern Territory Department of Education. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
A poster outside the School of the Air, Alice Springs. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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