Our Journey to the Heart of Australia
Up, up and away. Goodbye Sydney. Northern Territory here we come!
There is a serene beauty to Australia’s red centre. It has an unmistakeable sanctity and it is no wonder that Uluru holds a sacred place in the lore and legend of the First Nations of Central Australia.
We touched down on the first evening, checked into our digs at The Lost Camel Hotel and got to know each other over a meal at The Gecko Café and Restaurant at Yulara Village Square. It was off to bed early that night – we had a big few ahead of us.
We headed out on the first morning and made our way straight to the rock! We go up close and personal by walking into one of Uluru’s many crevices and were surprised to find a verdant oasis complete with trees, the signs of wildlife and even a small watering hole.
Some of our brave travellers headed off from here for the 11km hike around the base of Uluru – a true bucket list experience. The rest of us loaded into one of our trusty Kia’ and played the role of support vehicle. Whether we walked or drove, every one of us circumnavigated the rock and were able to capture Uluru from every angle and in all its glory.
In the afternoon we spent time around the common areas of the hotel including the pool. Despite being a warm desert day – the water was a bit fresh to say the least. Everyone was impressed with how long one of our travellers stayed in the water.
That night we ate at Mangata Restaurant at the Desert Inn. This would be our favourite restaurant on the trip and some of us would return for lunch on a later day. Compliments to the chef! Actually, we believe food should always a highlight on Trusted Travel – other great meals included the Walpa Lobby Bar, a classy evening buffet at Ilkari and a cook-your-own BBQ experience at the Outback Lodge complete with Emu kebabs and camel sausages.
On Wednesday morning we returned to Uluru to do another walk in and back – this time to an even more impressive waterhole bounded by impressive sheer cliffs. We came back to the hotel for a rest and swim to escape the hottest part of the day before heading out in the afternoon to Kata Tjuta.
Also known by it’s English name – the Olgas – Kata Tjuta is an impressive monolith much like Uluru that has been weathered over time to form 38 distinct domes of varying sizes. Some of our travellers walked up the Walpa Gorge before we got together for the sunset. Like it’s more famous cousin, the sunset at Kata Djuta is one of Australia’s true natural wonders. The domes emanate a spectacular red-orange hue.
Thursday was to be a scorcher – 33 degrees which in the desert sun can feel much hotter. Winter in Central Australia was certainly in the rear-view mirror! We went for a drive in the morning before separating into different groups. The adventurers took on an afternoon camel ride in the blistering heat while the sophisticates indulged in another meal at Mangata and a visit to the Art Gallery of Central Australia.
It was back to the hotel for an afternoon rest before heading out to experience Uluru for the final time. This time in its most iconic form.
There is a palpable atmosphere as it nears sunset at Uluru. The temperate drops, in a second the flies vanish – maybe even they don’t want to miss the beauty. The sky turns shades of blue and orange and then the rock begins to glow red. It is a surreal moment of spiritual reflection, a fleeting one at that. As the sun disappears behind us, the rock’s red fades. It is suddenly purple – the colour of shadow on red – and minutes later stands only as a silhouette on the horizon.
As the sun set on Uluru, so did our time at this very special place.