Awake and very excited, today we fly from Sydney to Uluru ! We had originally decided against going as it’s very expensive but everyone we speak to, tells us, its a must do trip, so we’re going.
We left Rosi’s at about 8.00 and took the ferry to Circular Quay, from there it’s a short trip on the train straight to the airport. We arrived and as we’d only got hand luggage we were able to check in online and with that done we proceeded to security, no problems there so now to chill before the flight.
It left a little late but the coach transfer was waiting when we arrived and soon delivered us safely to the Ayers Rock Resort. The resort is a collection of three hotels, all priced at different levels, a camp ground and town centre with a couple of shops and some eateries. The Sails in the Desert Hotel actually does all the food for the resort and each hotel offers something different, you can eat, swim, drink where you like and it all goes on your room number, just don’t forget to take your key !!
We were in the budget hotel, The Outback Pioneer, we’d been upgraded as well…yippee 😉 The staff were friendly and helpful and the room was great, much better that we’d anticipated. We didn’t have very long before our first trip was due to pick us up so we quickly showered and changed then went to wait for the coach.
The trip was to go and see Kata Tjuta, formerly known as the Olga’s then on to see the sunset at Uluru. Now for those that are unfamiliar with this area, it’s known as the “red centre”, simply put, everything is covered in a layer of red dust. It’s actually red oxide or rust and when the sun hits it the colours are incredible.
Kata Tjuta is just a small part of a rock formation most of which is still underground, it’s joined to Uluru and some other lesser known formations. A couple of seismic events a long time ago threw up these formations and in the case if Uluru, twisted it 90°. At first it looks like one large rock but as you drive round it you can see that it’s actually four separate rocks. They are streaked with lichen and black marks from waterfalls and yes it does rain here and how !!
We were first shown the rocks from a distance, there’s a viewing area some way off, but the highlight is the walk into the gorge between two of the larger rocks, only then can you appreciate there size and colour. At the far end of the gorge is a watering hole surrounded by flowers and shrubs, a great place for wildlife of all sizes.
The walk didn’t take to long and we were all back on the coach anticipating the sunset, this is one of the highlights, if you get a good sunset. There’s a viewing area and also a table laid out with wines and snacks, we were all well looked after. The drivers and guides are well informed and are constantly sharing information, all of it interesting. I think we were a little unlucky with the sunset though, it wasn’t one of the best and Uluru didn’t change colour in the dramatic way that we know it can. Still it was a pleasant afternoon and the drinks and snacks were very welcome, we also got to meet a few of the other people staying at the same hotel.
Well it’s already been a hectic and long day, Uluru is an hour and a half ahead time wise so we’ve been up for a while, tomorrow starts at 3.30am so we’re of to bed, night night !!
And so a few photos from our first day in Uluru…
I forgot to mention how bad the flies are in Uluru, the nets are definitely needed. As for the rock, it’s amazing how different it looks when the sun shines on it !!
As I said earlier, we’re up very early, today’s trip is out to Kings Canyon, it’s a good three hour drive, so best get started !
The coach was comfortable, the driver informative although he let us sleep a bit first and we did stop for breakfast on the way. Kings Creek Station is a working cattle station but like most places in this area they also offer accomodation, camping, food, tours, helicopter rides and even have a petrol station !!
The owner of this place has been working with the local Aboriginal tribes to try and get the kids an education, he now has over 20 kids at schools in Adelaide. He funds this work out of his own pocket and with his wife’s help and support seems to be doing one hell of a job, well done Ian and Lyn Conway !!
From the breakfast stop to the Canyon was another 40mins and by the time we got there we were all ready and raring to go. There are two options, the rim walk, 500 steps up to the top of the gorge, then you walk round the top of the gorge until it’s narrow enough to step across then walk back round the other side until you descend back to the carpark. In total about 6km and three hours, plenty of time to take photos and explore ! The second option is much easier, 2km flat walk into the gorge, no steps !!
We picked the first option and we weren’t disappointed, it was stunning. The sky was a brilliant blue and the red rocks and vibrant green vegetation made for fantastic photos. The steps up were uneven but not a problem and the walk round the rim was like a huge adventure playground. So many photo opportunities that some people started to lag behind, in the end the guide gave me and a couple of others permission to carry on to the next stop point while he rounded up the stragglers. One of the highlights was the Garden of Eden, it was most unexpected, there’s a huge watering hole, almost a lake in fact and the setting is just amazing, you really do feel like you’ve stepped into another world. There are steps leading down to it but as you reach the last landing you get a glimpse of what’s waiting at the bottom….just incredible !!
The second half of the walk moves along a little quicker and although there are still plenty of photo opportunities you are basically looking across at where you’ve already been. I pretty much ran the last bit as I needed a comfort break but it really was a fantastic place, I had no idea what to expect but I would urge people to make a point of seeing it !!
The journey back to the resort saw most of us fall asleep although I did manage to watch some of the DVD they played, Australia’s natural history from about 4.5 billion years ago to present day. A shame I was so tired because the bits I saw were very interesting !
Back at the resort we ate, drank a few beers, watched the sunset then hit the sack, another early start tomorrow for our last trip, sunrise at Uluru.
But first a few photos…
Great scenery……just incredible !!!
5.45 and I’m up already, the coach was on time and we were driven to the viewing area for sunrise. Coffee and tea was provided when we arrived and after that we made the short walk to the elevated viewing area. The sky was just beginning to get interesting when we got there and at the same time there was a storm rolling in from the other direction. The sky became more and more colourful, intense reds, oranges, blacks, greys and white and all the time we could hear the rumble of thunder. The lightening started next then a few drops of rain but in the other direction we still had sunrise and then something magical happened, a rainbow, right over Uluru !!
I’d already taken so many photos but now we had the show of our lives, we were apparently in the 1% of people who ever see rain on Uluru and even less see a rainbow !!
It really was a feast for the eyes, so beautiful, then the rainbow reflected, and it looked like a double rainbow….stunning !!
There was a short cultural walk after sunset and we finally managed to get close to Uluru, interesting stories told by Cassidy Uluru, he’s the son of Kumuntjai Uluru. Undisputed custodian of the rock, he fought to get it back for the Aboriginal communities and after seven years finally succeeded although sadly by that time he’d passed away. His son’s Cassidy and Reggie continue to give tours and impart there stories and heritage to visitors.
Well our trip to this red rock wasn’t in vain, we’d seen a rainbow and were very happy, sadly it was now time to leave for Sydney. We were dropped at the airport and completed the outward trip in reverse without any problems. We were literally on the next ferry out of Sydney after Rosi but yet again we were treated to a real display. The sunset was stunning and as we looked back at the Opera House and Bridge they were set against a vivid pink and red sky….a great end to a great day and a fabulous trip 😉
Pictures from our last day in Uluru….