Kata Tjuta / The Olgas


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Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Ayers Rock
October 25th 2011
Published: October 27th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

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The Red Centre

It's worth clicking satellite view on the map - then clicking in for a closer view of the two red tourist attractions that we visited. Sure, they're both red, but made of different rock, different tilting of strata and different weathering. Kata Tjuta is great to walk/explore because you can walk through it - gorges/valleys etc. Water holes, changes in vegetation, spectacular views - great exercise too.

Blog #2 from Central Australia has a focus on Kata Tjuta (many heads) or, The Olgas. Over two days we did three walks - with an evening dinner under the stars - "Sounds of Silence".

The panorama above shows Kata Tjuta from a viewing platform to its south, still 15 minutes drive from the trail heads on its western side.
Hope you like the photos & notes.

Cheers from Jan & Garry


Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


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1. Walpa Gorge Walk1. Walpa Gorge Walk
1. Walpa Gorge Walk

Our first walk at Kata Tjuta was into Walpa Gorge. It was a dead end valley which had a natural water trap, leading to a surprising array of vegetation and bird life.
2. Conglomerate2. Conglomerate
2. Conglomerate

The Olgas are composed of a sedimentary rock called 'conglomerate' ie. pebbles through to small boulders cemented together - as in the rocks behind me. Uluru was sandstone but still contained the same minerals which 'rust' on contact with the air, making a very red landscape.
3. Dihydrogen Monoxide3. Dihydrogen Monoxide
3. Dihydrogen Monoxide

After our ascent into the gorge the valley floor dipped, creating a natural reservoir of Dihydrogen Monoxide, commonly known as water - probably the clearest pool we had seen so far.
4. Dead End4. Dead End
4. Dead End

At the head of the gorge the valley closed, but it was very civilised with a viewing platform and benches. With only the sounds of birds in the background it was a perfect place to sit quietly and reflect on the beauty and grandeur of this place.
5. Karu Lookout Walk5. Karu Lookout Walk
5. Karu Lookout Walk

After a short drive and rehydration we set out for Karu Lookout. It was now around midday and the temperature was in the mid thirties but the very low humidity made the conditions more bearable.
6. Mt Olga & friends6. Mt Olga & friends
6. Mt Olga & friends

The Olgas are 36 rock domes that date back 500 million years! The highest, known as Mt Olga shares its name with the rest. Walking amongst these ancient structures is special - the red rock & earth against a 'pitiless blue sky' - magic!
7. Karu Lookout7. Karu Lookout
7. Karu Lookout

From Karu Lookout you could see into the 'interior' of Kata Tjuta - the area hidden from view in standard tourist, sunset photos ... eg. photo no.8 This was the starting point for another, longer walk, but that's tomorrow's target.
8. Kata Tjutu standard8. Kata Tjutu standard
8. Kata Tjutu standard

As we headed home we stopped at the sunset viewing park for this shot - check out Kata Tjuta on Wikipedia and you'll see the same shot of the 3 domes.
9. "Sounds of Silence"9. "Sounds of Silence"
9. "Sounds of Silence"

Wednesday night special - dinner in the desert, under the stars. We began on a paved but isolated dune. With champagne in hand we could view Uluru to our south and Kata Tjutu to the north.
10. Sunset to Remember10. Sunset to Remember
10. Sunset to Remember

As the sun sank slowly in the west conversations were punctuated by the need to take photos. Hors d'oeuvres were served and bubbles refreshed.
11. Colourful Kata Tjuta11. Colourful Kata Tjuta
11. Colourful Kata Tjuta

A beautiful sunset - one shot from a series, capturing the changing colours of the sky and the countryside beneath. With sunset we were called to leave the dune and follow a winding path down to our dining area.
12. Buffet Under the Stars12. Buffet Under the Stars
12. Buffet Under the Stars

With table mates from Spain, Italy, England & Australia, conversation was interesting throughout the evening. The buffet was delicious & even Jan agreed that the bbq kangaroo was the pick of the meats! A balmy breeze and a full moon made this a special night.
13. High Temperatures13. High Temperatures
13. High Temperatures

Expecting afternoon temps in the high thirties we headed back to Kata Tjuta to start our 3.5 hour, "Valley of the Winds" walk before the trail was closed (see photo)
14.  Into The Valley of Winds14.  Into The Valley of Winds
14. Into The Valley of Winds

As we descended from Karu Lookout down to the valley beyond, the path was steep and you had to watch every foot placement due to the amount of loose rock & pebbles. In the shelter of these sheer rock walls there was no breeze & plenty of puffing :)
15. Karingana Lookout15. Karingana Lookout
15. Karingana Lookout

The trail to this lookout was graded: 4 - Difficult, and we agreed! But oh, so picturesque - so grand & so many photos! Next, straight ahead into the valley beyond via a very steep path.
16. "Stairway to ..."16. "Stairway to ..."
16. "Stairway to ..."

The descent from Karingana Lookout was a trial in concentration - this was not the place to have a fall or twist an ankle!
17. Precious Shade17. Precious Shade
17. Precious Shade

The valley walk was very hot and shade was worth fighting for - also a good chance to sip some water & recharge the batteries.
18. Valley of the Winds18. Valley of the Winds
18. Valley of the Winds

Once in the open valley a warm dry wind occasionally sprang up and gave us some relief as we felt the cooling effect of evaporating perspiration.
19. Nearly there!19. Nearly there!
19. Nearly there!

As we completed the loop walk beyond Karu Lookout we reached another area where water was supporting extra vegetation - the white barked gums & red domes reminded me of a Namatjira painting.
20. Final Evening20. Final Evening
20. Final Evening

From a dune in the centre of our Ayers Rock Resort property we watched our final sunset over this spectacular landscape. "I love a sunburnt country...."


27th October 2011

Missed your calling....
Gaz, A School teacher you are but you missed your TRUE calling....Should have been a Professional Photographer!!!
27th October 2011

Spectacular!
Looks like you hit the right time of year to be there - were you alone on the walks? Any signs of wildlife?
28th October 2011

Wow
Didn't know you were headed inland!! Great photos

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