Wednesday October 12, 3.4km/2.1mi
Kata Tjuta National Park, Anangu Cultural Centre, Uluru National Park (NT)
I had booked a bus tour last week, as I wanted to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Uluru is a massive sandstone monolith in the middle of the “Red Centre” desert, and is sacred to indigenous Australians. The bus picked us up from the hostel 5:55am. Early!
It’s like a 5-hour/400km drive to Uluru, so there was plenty of time to stare out the window.
We made a few stops along the way, the first was for a breakfast buffet at Erldunda, the only sign of civilisation we have seen in 2 hours.
After eating way too many eggs and bacon, I wandered through the yard to see the Emus.
Our second stop was at a little rest area which had nice view of a nearby salt flat.
The road stretched into the distance, it’s the only sealed (paved) road for hundreds of kilometres.
At the break the driver asked us what we wanted to eat for lunch (beef, chicken, vegetarian), so of course I chose chicken.
Our first stop was at Kata Tjuta, to the Walpa Gorge area.
It was only a 1.2km walk (each way), and it felt good to stretch the legs after that long bus ride.
The size of the rock walls is not well captured by these photos, the felt like they were squeezing the path between them.
The path ended at the narrowest point, which was probably only 20m wide. I stayed there it looked around for at least 15 minutes. Surprisingly only 20 other people showed up, even though we had 50 people on the bus. Talking to some of them later, they said it was too far to walk, haha! I got to enjoy watching the aquatic wildlife in this little pond, all to myself!
I walked back out to the parking lot, and had 20 minutes to spare before our departure time. The long view of Kata Tjuta…there are 36 redrock domes, though only a few are visible from here.
Next, we went to the Cultural Centre, which explains the importance of these areas to the aboriginal people, and their creation history. Photography was forbidden, so if you want to see, go visit yourself, ha!
We drove a few minutes over to Uluru, seeing it from a few sides as the road wrapped around the huge monolith.
First stop was the Mutitjulu Waterhole, a sacred place.
I thought the benches along the path were cool!
Along the short 500m walk, there were some very old pictographs (not petroglyphs!) on the rocks.
The tour guide explained what some of the more common symbols meant, along with a creation story of Uluru. He was a little hard to understand with his Indian accent, but I had downloaded the park brochure on my phone to help.
The water hole. It was very peaceful here, only the sounds of splashing water.
During the walk out to the carpark, the sun decided to peek out from the clouds.
Our last stop at Uluru was the Mala walk, which passed by several areas used during ceremonial times.
More cool pictographs.
I tried to get a photo of the entire rock, but it’s just too big!
Even after walking away for a few hundred meters … still doesn’t fit in the frame.
This shows the main part of Uluru, and there is a faint path on the right side of the rock. Climbing the rock had always been discouraged for cultural and environmental reasons.
And it 2019, it was legally closed to the public. There were too many rescues and safety incidents.
The bus picked everyone up, and we drove 10 minutes to a nice area for our BBQ dinner. Finally, I was able get a photo with the whole of Uluru!
The group was mostly older couples who kept to themselves, but I had some fun conversations with a guy from France, a young couple from Toronto, and a set of twins from Auckland. The BBQ pork, beans, and salad were a little spicy and delicious. They even had beer and wine!
I enjoyed a beer in front of a massive 348m (1142ft) tall sandstone monolith.
We departed at 7pm, and I mostly slept on the ride home. I was barely awake when the bus dropped us off at midnight, and I went straight to bed. What a cool place!