UK & World News

  • 22 April 2014, 22:22

William and Kate Battle Heat And Flies At Uluru

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited the Red Centre of Australia, battling the heat and flies to see the famous landmark Uluru for themselves.

The giant red sandstone rock, two miles long and a mile wide and previously known as Ayers Rock, is a must-see tourist destination in the middle of the harsh outback environment.

William and Kate walked up to the landmark and were given a guided tour where they were told the Aboriginal stories connected with it that have been passed down through generations.

The Royal couple earlier visited the National Indigenous Training Academy, where they handed certificates to young Aboriginal students.

Among them Bindi MacPherson, who has just passed a course in painting and decorating, chatted with the Duchess.

She said: "Kate noticed I was wearing my decorator's gear, which was because I'd just come from a job, and I said, 'if you need the nursery redecorating I know a good painter!'"

The Cambridges also watched traditional dancing, while the owners of Uluru, the Anangu, sang and beat clapping sticks.

The Royal couple were later given a basket of paper paintings made from the droppings of a mala - a type of small wallaby - and a carved wooden shield.

Then there was a photo opportunity in front of the rock, reminiscent of the pictures taken of Charles and Diana when they visited in 1983.

A schoolgirl who was lucky enough to witness the photo session joked about the flies that plague anything that moves.

The girl said: "You were both like magic when the photos were being taken. I was like 'How are they not swatting flies away?'"

Kate laughed: "I know. It was difficult", while William added: "They were all coming for us."

Afterwards the couple stood and watched as the sun set over Uluru, the colours and shadows constantly changing as the light faded.

Chief Minister for the Northern Territory Adam Giles said the whole region was "pumped" that the young couple had included the remote outback area on their itinerary.

"We've got schoolkids who've travelled long and far to see the Royals," he told Sky News.

The couple travelled without nine-month-old George to the dry 31C (88F) heat of the central desert region.

When some schoolgirls asked Kate and William about their son, they said he had changed a lot while they had been away, with the Duke admitting he was not looking forward to the long flight home.

"He can get a bit grumpy on the long flights," he said.

The couple will spend Tuesday night in a luxury outback retreat before heading to Adelaide on Wednesday.

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