Without an exceptional tour guide, the organised holiday is bascially stuffed.
So, on our guided 4WD tour of the Red Centre we were blessed when Benno announced himself to us in a pre-dawn Alice Springs, outside our hotel.
"G'day, I'm Benno," he said and shook both PP's and my hands with a firm grip.
PP smiled at me - prior to meeting Benno she had predicted that his name would be something like Stevo, Davo, Scotty, Nicko or Jono. Take your pick. Benno was the icing on the cake.
The man is platinum.
Originally from Brisbane, QLD, Benno landed in the NT just three months ago after becoming disillusioned with his mundane 9-to-5 public service existence.
I think a lot of people like Benno end up in the Red Centre. The east coast is too crowded for these bold individuals.
Benno is true-blue, an Ocker with his heart in the right place. He is passionate about The Rock and loudly defends the right of the Aboriginal people to object to it being climbed. He has a wide knowledge of local history, culture and environment. He is in awe of the landscape and enthralled by the stories of the Dreamtime (though he says the Aborigines don't like to call it Dreamtime because that lacks substance. It's the Creation time - I think).
Benno cooks spag bog, SNITTIES (schnitzels with piles of grated cheddar cheese on top) and lots of meat. He serves up 'roo steaks and camel sausages (I ate camel the day after riding one), beef burgers and lumps of steak. It's a meat lovers orgy in Benno Land.
Benno plays Jon Bon Jovi (too much for mine) and he also plays the guitar and sings original songs (that sound just like Jon Bon Jovi) by the campfire. He sleeps in a swag and wears a bushie's hat. HE'S A BLOKE.
He drives the 4WD like a maniac and drinks XXXX like a fish - but only after hours.
BENNO! BENNO! BENNO!
If you ever go to THE ROCK, ask for Benno.