22nd May 2012 - 24th May 2012
An easier days drive to Ayers Rock today, but if it had been long it'd still have been worth it. We arrived late afternoon and got ready for the magical sunset which changed the colour of the sky and the rock changed from its usual red to a dark red/brown then into it's nightly black. We ate our dinner facing Ayers Rock- or now commonly known by it's aboriginal name Uluru. After the fun was over we had the choice of paying $40 to camp in Yulara the township (but with no view of the rock) or travel back 40km to a free off road camping ground, so we chose the free option. We kept our curtains open at night so we could lie in bed and watch the millions of glowing stars around us.
It was a very early start for us in the morning as we wanted to catch sunrise, we were actually the first ones in the park and got a good parking spot. The sunrise was maybe even more spectacular than the sunset, as the Uluru was dark and then the shadows crept away and the lovely red colour of the rock shone through. It was a bitter cold morning though, just like the nights, but the excitement of the hundreds of other people at the viewing gallery kept us going.
We went a short walk to a waterhole and were surprised how deep you can walk into the rock (it's not just round). And we seen aboriginal cave paintings along the way. But a short walk wasn't enough for us and we decided to climb, yes climb Uluru. So the aborigines don't like people climbing and get upset but the government won't ban it and there's even a rail to help you up. So we embarked on a 2 hour return climb, it was rather steep for most of it and then near the top was like walking on mars, as there was big craters and it was up and down. It was worth it when we got to the top, for the amazing views 360 degrees and the horizon stretched on forever. And then I called my mum and dad (even though it was the middle of the night and they were on holiday), I just had to tell them where I was calling from, and they were amazed!
But you'd be forgiven for thinking we'd be tired after the big climb, but we had already decided to walk the 'valley of the winds' at Kata Tjuta, otherwise known as The Olgas which is another huge rock formation, or 36 rock boulder formations to be exact, it was once 10 times bigger than Uluru but has grinded down over the years. The first part of the Valley of the Winds was beautiful, we were at the top of a valley overlooking more huge rocks and a jungle mixed amongst it. But then the rest of the 7.4km trek took its time, we were tired from walking and it went on forever with not much more to look at. Also you remember the spare tyre we got in Alice Springs? Well it came in handy when we got another puncture!
We headed back to Uluru in time for some champagne whilst watching another magical day come to an end. (Our dear friend and colleague Gagan had gifted us the champers as a leaving present). And that was the magic over, we headed back to the free camp ground and will cherish the memory of Uluru forever.
In the morning we drove to Kings Canyon where we embarked on another hike, this time a 6.8km, 2 and half hour return 'rim walk' on top and around the canyon. We climbed up the steep canyon face, over bridges, down and up lots of stairs, seen the Garden of Eden and a lot of rocks, boulders and rocks. Also a lot of the film Priscilla Queen of the Desert was made here. It was a good walk but again it got a little tedious after seeing it for a while. Dinner and another free camp ground followed.
We had a really good time in the outback around Central Australia and can't believe we have seen and climbed Ayers Rock!