The adventure had been quite the journey already, but there was still the big one to come – Uluru!
After a sick day and a delightful family BBQ at the hostel in Alice Springs, we had our farewells, and me and Amy were ready once again for a ridiculously early departure (all play, no rest…) and to meet our new tour family for the next 7 days.
Departing Alice Springs, it wasn’t long before a much needed coffee stop.. at a camel farm. Choosing not to ride a camel (certainly not my preferred method of transport – I think once in a lifetime is enough for this!) we did enjoy giggling as a few of the others were half delighted, half terrified by the experience.
After a few more hours of outback driving, we reached Kings Creek Station camp for the night, and filled up on lunch ready to hike Kings Canyon Rim Walk! I’d heard this was debatably more impressive than seeing Uluru, and people were not wrong! This was an amazing hike. The beginning set of stairs known as “heart attack hill” wasn’t the most enjoyable part of the day, but reaching the top and turning around to finally see the view was breath-taking all over again. An enormous canyon surrounded by miles and miles.. of nothing. Exploring the canyon was one of my favourite afternoons of the whole trip, definitely not one to miss if heading out to explore Uluru.
After helping with dinner, and helping build the campfire (in other words, delegating to the boys to build the campfire) marshmallows around the fire were well deserved. These late nights chatting to new people around the fire were quickly becoming my new favourite activity – believe it or not Hex it’s actually rather wonderful to leave behind technology and social media for a night or two! After this day I think I was asleep before my head could even hit my swag pillow…
It was a long morning sleep on the bus on route to Uluru… and quite a shock to wake up to look out of the front window to see it right there! Wow! We stopped in Yulara for supplies and to take in our first views. It’s one of those places that doesn’t quite seem real, as if a giant rock has just been superimposed into the background. The coach campsite in Yulara was perfect – we had a huge kitchen area, and something to get even more excited about – WARM SHOWERS! We filled up on a camp lunch before setting off to hit the 10km base walk.
It is customary for tour groups to visit the Aboriginal Cultural Centre before commencing a trip up close to the rock, and it was fascinating to learn some more about the cultural aspects of the area, and the importance of Uluru to the Aboriginal people. On arriving at the rock I was surprised to learn you are still able to do the climb to the top, although it was closed on this particular day. Despite many signs encouraging people not to do it (which is for safety reasons as much as going against the Aboriginal peoples’ wishes) we saw on our second day’s visit just how many people actually do the climb – not a chance was I going to be attempting this!
The weather was perfect for the walk, and we spent the first part like excited kids finding better and better places to take photos, funnier poses, and of course the odd selfie or two. I couldn’t believe the enormity of Uluru up close – it would be impossible to demonstrate this in a photograph. After an hour or so, we realised we had barely completed any of the walk, and upped the pace to try and get back for our pick up. This is a very long, flat walk, and although Uluru is different and impressive from every new angle, it was lucky we were able to lose ourselves in conversation to pass the time!
What better way to end a great day like this? Watching sunset over Uluru and Kata-Juta with fabulous company, cold drinks and snacks. Champagne would of course been more prestigious, but I was happy to make do with my cider!
Arriving back at camp, our lovely tour guide Nicci had prepared a Kangaroo Bolognese for dinner – this may not sound part1icularly gourmet, but wow was it delicious! Settling into swags under an incredibly starry sky, this really was the experience of a lifetime.
There was one last key experience before heading onwards – an Uluru sunrise. Wrapped up on top of the bus trailer we had prime viewing positions, but this was never going to be a disappointment. An absolute tick off the bucket list.
After finishing off the final part of the base walk as a group, learning some of the aboriginal stories, we had another big hike to follow at Kata Tjuta – the other big rock in the middle of the outback! Less challenging, and with a more defined route than Kings Canyon, we were able to head off at our own pace and take in another area of amazing surroundings.
We had a free afternoon to relax, and chose to do exactly that – RELAX! There are of course plenty of activities in the area such as skydiving and helicopter flights, but after a hectic couple of days it was a well deserved rest.
For the final evening I decided to go to the “Field of Light”, an installation of 50,000 solar powered lights in the middle of the desert. This was certainly unlike anything I had ever seen, and well worth the visit. It’s hard to show just how impressive this was in photographs, but I would absolutely recommend this to anyone travelling in the area.
Our time at the big rock might have been over, but we still had plenty to see before returning to Melbourne, and still many, many miles of the Stuart Highway to go…
With kindest Regards,
Have you ever been to Uluru and been as impressed as Peps’? We’d love to hear your experiences!