Roughing it in the outback!

Trip Start Apr 24, 2006
Trip End Apr 20, 2007

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

So, where was I...

After a night in Alice Springs I jumped on the Mulgas tour bus at the crack of dawn and started the 450km drive towards Yulara. Its the small town at the entrance to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and 18 km from Uluru. I had time for a quick camel ride enroute which was hilarious. I wouldn't fancy doing that over a long distance!

Our first stop was Kings Canyon where we did a 6km hike around the canyon. It was early afternoon and the heat was pretty intence so i was knackered by the end of it. It was great and the Garden of Eden waterhole was particularly beautiful if not a bit dry due to the lack of rainfall in the last while. I think we may have spoken too soon... The canyon contains lots of amazing fauna and flora and has over 600 different species of native plant apparently.

From the canyon we wearily trudged to the bush to set up our camp for the night. After enjoying our dinner of camel bolognese (hopefully not my friend from earlier) sitting around the campfire we got our swags ready to kip under the full moon. It was pretty cold (around 0 degrees!!) so it wasn't exactly a comfortable night sleep but I certainly felt at one with nature.

We were up again at 5am to catch the sunrise with Uluru in the distance. The very far distance actually so it was a bit of a blob on the horizon but nice all the same. Then onto the Olgas, or Kata Tjuta as they were originally known. This is another amazing rock formation 48km west of Uluru and are actually 200 metres taller than the mightly rock. We did a 7km hike through the Valley of the Winds which was thankfully less exhausting and not as hot. I found this even more epic than Uluru, really quite spectacular.

That evening we made it to Uluru and watched the sunset amongst the rest of 'the circus' as its called. This is the area that all the tour buses cram into to watch Uluru in the distance. There was much excitement and champagne (not the backpackers, we had our cheap beer) and the sunset came and went and we were soon all packed up and ready to rock back to the camp. Quite nice but a bit of an anti-climax!

We'd planned another night in the bush in our swags but due to the rain (see, we jinxed it) that was forecast we stayed in the Ayers Rock Resort camping ground. Sounds exclusive but it wasn't really. But we did have a corrogated iron roof over our heads and running water. Sweet!

Another early start, this time we were up at 6am to catch the sunrise at Uluru which was much more impressive and there were less people which was a relief. Probably all recovering from drinking all the champers. We had the chance to have a proper look around Uluru and spent some time in the Cultural Centre which was pretty cool. The design of the building was well thought out and it fits in well with the surrounding environment. There was also a really cool book that had all the letters from people around the world who took pieces of the rock and then decided to send them back. Some of them were a bit freaky and actually thought that it had brought them bad luck! Those pesky kids...

We did a walk of the base of Uluru which was quite relaxed and we got to check out more of the waterholes and some of the rock art. The rock itself is quite cool close up and some of the rocks resemble animals. The Ananguara, the original Aboriginal owners of Uluru, prefer people not to climb it as it is their sacred site. Plenty of people do but I didn't see the attraction. Its also a very steep climb which is part of the reason quite a few people have died trying to climb it.

That afternoon we headed back to Alice Springs for a much needed shower and a bed! As much as I enjoyed the experience it was nice to have a few more amenities!
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