Published: September 11th 2011September 10th 2011
Footprints in the sand.
Early morning on a sand dune shows footprints from the night time activity.
Not quite as cold this morning, we were up early to try to capture sunrise over The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) from a dune on the way to Ularu. The diversity of flora and evidence of numerous small animals on the dune was quite extraordinary. There were everlastings, succulents, native hibiscus, wattles, grevilleas, and many different types of grasses. I found 3 different plants with purple flowers (my favourite colour) in an area of less than two square metres. Animal tracks ranged from tiny marsupial mice to fox or dingo, and some birds as well. All in all, it was very interesting to explore there.
After breakfast we went back to Ularu and joined a free Park Ranger led tour of the Marla Walk. We learnt about many aspects of the rock itself, the cultural significance to the Anangu people, bush foods and tools. The tour went for two hours and was an easy stroll.
After lunch in the cultural centre, we drove over to Katu Tjuta for another photo opportunity. Again we marvelled at the beauty of the formation and the flora which abounds. Having heard about the grevillea flowers on the tour in the morning, we took the opportunity of
Wildflowers on a sand dune at Yulara.
tasting the nectar on the flowers. Very sweet and plentiful. Apparently, if you put a flower in a glass of water, the result is a cordial type drink. We found sucking the nectar out worked well, but you had to be careful not to suck up a woolly aphid at the same time.
Back at Ularu for sunset, we watched the last of the climbers descend the rock before darkness fell. The Anangu people ask tourists not to climb it for some very legitimate reasons, yet they still do. A very obvious reason for not climbing is because it is so steep and dangerous, there for unsafe. Forty one people have died climbing Ularu and many more have sustained injuries. Another reason they ask people not to climb is because of the damage to the ecology. Obviously there are no toilets at the top, so climbers ‘go’ anywhere, resulting in waterholes being contaminated with e.coli and undrinkable. The Anangu people do not climb Ularu, and apparently never have. The aim is for climbing to be stopped completely by 2019 or sooner if less than twenty percent of visitors do the climb. We watched several people stumble on the descent, and
Another of the wildflowers that abound in the area.
realised just how easy it would be to fall. The beauty of Ularu is at the base, not the top.
All in all we had a lovely day, the weather was almost perfect, and the scenery was beautiful. Tomorrow we will be continuing our journey north.
There are more photos below