Uluru and Kata Tjuta

16th July, 2003
17th July, 2003

Wednesday, 16th July, 2003

Uluru 1 photograph

First sights of Uluru

Drop Cap ell, today I think we could definitively say, we have seen the Rock! We slept late and had a full breakfast at Winkiku (better than last night's dinner). By this time it was 10:00 so we wandered over to the tour desk and asked the girl about Shuttles to the Rock. Sure enough the Uluru Express went every 45 minutes so we booked on the 11:15 and the girl organised passes for the National Park ($65 for three days!) Since APT has paid Park fees for us the APT rep let us have ours early. (This arrangement later really fazed our APT tour director).

Uluru 2 photograph

Uluru from the Car Park

Uluru Climbers photograph

Climbers on Uluru

Drop Cap nyway, collecting hats, water, sunscreen, aerogard, camera and binoculars we set off. It is 25 ks from Yulara, where the hotel complex is, to the Rock but it loomed large in the window all the way. When we got to the base car park it was just stunning! It is really huge, far too extensive for my viewfinder but I took some angles. Despite being asked not to climb it, continuous queues of idiots were dragging themselves up and slip sliding down.

Uluru photograph

Uluru in the Background

Wave Cave photograph

Wave Cave on Uluru

Drop Cap e decided to do the Mala Walk to the Kanje gorge and found it lovely. There are caves with paintings and wave formations like in WA and there are forbidden areas where you can't walk or photograph. At the gorge end there was a small waterhole.

Uluru photograph

Uluru from the Liru Walk

Drop Cap hat I found so amazing was that the carpark was seething with tour buses, 4WDs, caravans and cars, but here you could sit on a log and listen to the silence! We met very few other walkers and even fewer when we did the Liru Walk to the Cultural Centre. We did not do it guided by Aboriginals but it was pleasant anyway. Altogether our aching feet did about 5ks. We didn't bother with lunch, just a drink and some chips. Came back about 15:30, having posted some cards, and I got dressed for dinner before meeting our tour guide at 16:45.

Sunset photograph

Uluru Sunset 1

Drop Cap e met our tour guide and she was in a tizz, having expected everyone to have flown in this afternoon and having asked an APT rep to tell us 16:30 instead. Of course, this message would not have reached us, and most of the others were in the same situation. However, it was sorted out eventually. She needed to know our options for tomorrow. Then we joined the bus. Twenty one of us newbies joined about seventeen who had been on the bus since Adelaide, seven of them since Sydney! And off we went to see the sun set on Uluru.

Sunset photograph

Uluru Sunset 2

Drop Cap ere we got a sensational view of the whole of the Rock, changing colour as the light went, with a glass of champagne and nibbles, even a camp stool to sit on. This was magic time. Our tour guide's name is Rosemary and the driver is Lou, they took pains to tell us that they are married, so we didn't get any wrong ideas! They seem pleasant although Rosemary is a little scatty in her explanations.

Sunset photograph

Uluru Sunset 3

Drop Cap hen we returned we dropped the camera and binoculars in the room and went to Geckos Cafe for dinner. It was seething, with a wait for tables so we had a drink in the bar and waited for our table. It did not seem to take too long. I had chicken Caesar salad with some garlic bread and Mac had a beef cassoulet pie. Very nice and reasonably priced. We have to be up and breakfasting by 06:00 so I will leave this here. It has been a good day, lovely weather, warm but a cool breeze, and, although very strenuous for us, we enjoyed it.

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Thursday, 17th July, 2003

Drop Cap oday we rose again at 05:15 to go on a sunrise walk to Mitjuluk Waterhole. This was pleasant, cool and clear. Rosemary, our guide, is very knowledgeable about the area and explained several Creation legends.

Drop Cap e continued on to visit the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, which was quite interesting with displays of hunting and gathering artefacts etc. Then we went back to the base of the Rock where climbing had been stopped because of the wind. We stayed with Lou on the bus because my feet, as always, were giving out and I wanted to walk Kata Tjuta this afternoon. Anyway, we did the Mala walk yesterday.

Monitor photograph

Monitor Lizard (Goanna) at the Predators Show

Drop Cap ou and Rosemary got us back in time for the Predators of the Red Centre expo. This was mainly reptiles of various sizes from little thorny dragons to a Western Brown snake, plus a cute dingo pup. Then we had a burger at the takeaway and joined the group for Kata Tjuta.

Olgas photograph

Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

Drop Cap he Olgas looked fantastic, it is a lovely day today, but the track through the gorge is very rough rock and I could not lift my eyes from my next step. I chose not to go all the way to the viewing platform, my blistered and aching feet making the choice easy. But it was certainly spectacular.

Olga gorge photograph

In Olga Gorge

Olgas photograph

Rosemary and Mac at Kata Tjuta


Drop Cap e had a fantastic night at the "Sounds of Silence" dinner, although two coachloads of people laughing, talking and feeding their faces could not really be described as silent. We started with champagne and nibbles as the sun went down over Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Then we were seated at candle lit tables by an open fire for a first course of pumpkin and kaffir lime soup with mini-damper. Very nice and warming. Then there was a buffet of salads, barramundi, beef, sausages, chicken and kangaroo.

Drop Cap hen we had all finished the candles were extinguished and we had a very entertaining and knowledgeable astronomer telling us about the stars and constellations. He was great, and the sky was magic, so clear and without light to distract we could see the Milky Way more clearly than I ever had before, and he pointed out the various zodiac constellations. Some needed more imagination than others. There were even a couple of shooting stars. Cold, but a wonderful night.

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