Seeing the Big Rocks

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
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Wednesday, April 5, 2006

We were up and ready to leave at 4am in order to arrive at Uluru in time for sunrise. Didn't see a single car in the 100km's to Yulara which I found a little surprising. The entrance fee to Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park is a little steep at $25 so we had to make a pit stop at Yulara to get some cash. Navigated our way around the rather complex road system in pitch black and found the ATM's before driving to Uluru.

We arrived at the park entrance to find the barrier up and no one at the desk. Waited for about a minute before deciding to proceed to the sunrise viewing point. Drove around in the dark and finally found the place to park and began waiting for the sun to rise. It was so dark that we could hardly even see Uluru even though it was about 50 metres away. We had to really strain our eyesight to see the dark silhouette against the black, star filled sky.

Sat around listening to the radio and it was eerily quiet. There were only 3 other cars and everyone was silent waiting for the sun to rise. Just as the sun started to rise, tour bus after tour bus started to arrive. Within minutes there had gone from 20 people to 500! It was so crowded and some really rude people came and stood directly in front of our car even though we had been waiting for an hour already!

Fighting our way to the front of our car I managed to take a few photos before returning to the car to listen to music and let the masses take their pics. A kind woman on a tour went to get us a couple of cups of coffee as an apology for getting in our way and I was very grateful having been up so early.

Once the hubbub died down I snapped a few more pics before we drove off to another car park. We were going to do the base walk around Uluru, about 10km's, and not the climb like everyone else. I had a real problem with the amount of people climbing the rock. It is hugely important to the Aboriginal people, the owners of the land, and if they don't want people climbing it then we should listen to them! So I walked around the base, admiring the textures that you don't expect and only taking photographs when we were permitted. On reaching the start I noticed they had closed the climb due to bad wind. It should be closed the whole time in my opinion.

Refueled with a snack and some more water before driving off to Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). I didn't really know anything about the Olgas before we arrived but I was in the mood for some more walking and I'm really glad I went. The Valley of the Winds walk was incredible! If anything I found Kata Tjuta more amazing than Uluru! It was as if we had been transported to a completely different place and the views were nothing like I could have imagined. If you go to Uluru make sure you take the short detour to Kata Tjuta on the way out! You won't be disappointed.

Had done a lot of walking for the morning so headed back to Yulara. Fully expected to be stopped at the exit to pay the park fee but we were able to leave with no problems! $25 saved and a great day! That'll pay for another tank of fuel to get us to Alice Springs. Indeed it was $153 in Yulara for petrol and food for a couple of days. The petrol is so much more expensive in the outback but there is no choice but to pay it.

Spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the campsite and trying to avoid the constant pestering by the flies. During the Kata Tjuta walk I had nearly 100 flies on my face and back! I couldn't do anything about it so just had to ignore it and let them get on with their business.
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