Uluru is a large sandstone formation in the centre of Australia. It is in the southern part of the Northern Territory, 335km southwest of Alice Springs. It is home to the Aboriginal Anangu people, so known as Anangu land.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is one of the most popular attractions in Australia, attracting visitors from all over the world who are keen to explore the natural and cultural history of the region. It is set in the Red Centre of Australia alongside with the Olgas, where you will find the Valley of the Winds.
It was an exciting meet and greet and a dream come true for all travellers on this trip when we set off for Uluru. Friendships were formed instantly as there was so much chatter about the Big Red Rock.
It was a smooth flight and the view was magnificent flying into Uluru. We were in awe of the Big Red Rock, the Olgas and the landscape as we flew by before landing. There were cheers of excitement on touch down and walking out onto the tarmac alongside the red dirt with Uluru in the distance, was certainly something to take in.
Once we collected our luggage and picked up our two vehicles we were off to The Lost Camel Hotel in Yulara, which was our accommodation for this trip. This small town consisted of various types of accommodation, from resort style to cabins and camping. It has one Police station, Fire Station, petrol station, pub, post office, Aldi food stall and a few restaurants and gifts stalls. We knew we were definitely in the middle of remote Australia because there was only desert outside of this town.
We enjoyed our first dinner together at Geckos Café before heading out for a night walk together. Local tribal women were displaying their creative paintings outside on the grass area hoping to entice visitors to purchase. We came across some walls displaying art work and a large light installation spelling PALYA, so it was a photo opportunity for everyone. PALYA means Welcome or hello in native Aboriginal Language. After a long day we were off to our rooms to become acquainted with our roommates.
In the morning we met for a lovely breakfast at the Gecko Cafe before heading out along the Stuart Highway to Uluru. It was a sight to be seen, the big red rock was in front of us the whole way until we reached the bottom of it. We walked along the Mala and Kuniya walking tracks to take in the beauty which can really only be found by looking closer. There were many rare plants, rock formations, and caves painted with remarkable rock art. Uluru is a very spiritual site and was just beautiful once we reached the waterhole on the Kuniya track. We explored for hours today before resting our tired legs between walking tracks at the Cultural Centre. We enjoyed good old Aussie meat pies and sausage rolls for lunch and some travellers purchased gifts from the gift shop.
This evening we enjoyed nibbles and drinks at Uluru while the sun set. It was absolutely beautiful watching the deep red, orange and yellow afternoon sky colours which changed the colour of the rock from various brown, yellow and orange colours as the sun went down. It was magnificent and certainly a great photo opportunity for everyone.
We returned to our resort for dinner and some free time before calling it a night.
In the Morning we set off for the Olgas. It was very exciting for everyone and those travellers who were more capable managed to walk a fair distance along the Valley of the Winds walking track, which was not for the faint hearted. It tested our fitness, coordination, balance and momentum. This particular track was very challenging as it was windy to start, upholding its name as we walked along many hand laid rock pathways, uneven grounds, sloping hills, dirt tracks, narrow tracks and we even climbed up along massive rock sloping pathways. It was certainly a great adventure and those that managed this track will always remember its beauty. The other track we walked was the Walpa Gorge Walk, a much easier track though still very rocky.
After much walking today, we returned to the Lost Camel to rest and freshen up before enjoying a well deserved dinner at the Gecko Café to replenish our energy. It was obvious that everyone was very tired and it didn’t take each traveller long before excusing themselves for an early night.
The next morning it was an early rise for some travellers and a sleep in for others who chose to rest rather than rise. We travelled to the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku sunrise viewing area to witness the beauty and calmness of the sunrise over Uluru. It was a very fresh morning, jackets, beanies and gloves were a must or we would not have been able to tolerate the crisp morning air. The steam coming out of our mouths said it all. It was freezing. But wasn’t it magnificent, the yellow and orange colours in the sky, the trees that silhouetted against the sun’s rays as it peaked over the horizon. Everyone had their cameras out and it was snap, snap, snap. What a peaceful morning to experience together but we could not wait to get back to our accommodation and wake the sleeping beauties that did not rise and fill our hungry bellies with breakfast and warm drink.
After breakfast we visited the Camel Farm which had many camels and other farm animals before returning to the resort for a bush tucker presentation. A couple of us sampled some bush tucker berries and wattle seed Shortbread biscuits before Lunch. We relaxed around the resort after lunch today before our evening activity.
This evening’s activity was the Field of Lights. It starts with a short bus ride transfer to the remote desert location with majestic views of Uluru. On arrival we were welcomed at the exclusive dune top to watch the twilight transformation of colours. We savoured in a selection of outback canapés with Australian sparkling wine, beer and soft drinks while our host provided insights to the art installation that awaited us. Covered by a sky with stars, we wandered along the pathways and took in the rhythms of coloured lights. It was an enjoyable evening.
Our last day has arrived so we packed our bags, enjoyed breakfast together and headed back to the Camel Farm to enjoy a Camel ride. It was a first for all travellers as no one had ridden a camel before. Everyone was so excited climbing up onto the saddle of the Camel. Once we were all aboard we were led around the dirt paddock by the camel trainer. They are such tall and very beautiful animals.
After enjoying the Camel Farm, we had time to drive back to Uluru Sunset carpark to view Uluru for one last time and then it was off to the Airport to fly home.
We can now all say that we have experienced the best of Uluru and its surroundings.
It is certainly a trip that we will all remember.