Published: July 11th 2012July 4th 2012 Day 5 – Wednesday July 4th – Uluru/ Kata Tjuta
Sunrise at Uluru
Minus four degrees.....
We rolled out of bed at 6.15am and rolled straight into the car for the short drive into the National Park for the sunrise viewing of Uluru. Leaving the campsite the car showed the outside temperature to be 2 degrees Celsius but as we got closer to the rock it slowly dropped and dropped to well below zero! As we got out of the car (again, with at least a couple of hundred other tourists) it was minus 4! The sunrise spot gives you not only a great view of the Rock but also Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) in the distance. The angle of the sun actually gave a more spectacular show over Kata Tjuta than Uluru. Frozen through, Luke and Hazel wimped out and took refuge in the car until the sun had properly risen and Mark and Anna had taken enough photos.
From the viewing area we drove to the Cultural Centre. Only the art gallery part of the cultural centre was slightly heated so we admired the artwork and got ourselves a coffee/hot chocolate to warm up a bit. Then it was time for a close
up of Uluru. We were hoping that the climb would be open as climbing Uluru was on Anna’s wish list for the trip. Unfortunately for the past few days the winds have been quite strong and the climb was again closed this morning L. Instead we went for a walk around the base of the rock. The Mala walk takes you to some special aboriginal sites around the rock and explains how the aboriginals used to live. Sunshine and walking had warmed us up properly, even though the temperature was still only around 4 degrees by the time we got back to the tent at 9.30am.
We now had a nice little window for Mark to swing his spanners and brandish his monkey wrench to try to fix the trailer brakes. A quick call to the trailer manufacturer back in Melbourne confirmed what needed to be done. So he made himself comfortable on a tarp under the trailer, beer in hand and proceeded to wire and tape the loose wires in the right positions again. Half an hour later he emerged with red dust and grease everywhere and a big smile on his face – success!
eggs and a latte later we packed a picnic and headed off to check out Kata Tjuta. It’s a 50km drive to the Olgas from Ayers Rock, a very insignificant distance after all the very long days driving we have just done. When Mark and I visited the Red Centre in 1996 we remember vividly how awful the flies were at Kata Tjuta. It was late spring, temperatures in the early 40s celsuis and there were gazillions of flies. Today was altogether a much nicer experience in the Olgas as we hiked along the Valley of the Winds 7km walk (Anna says it is 7.4kms). The area has had twice as much rainfall as usual and there was green everywhere. The vivid orange of the Olgas, lush greens of the grasses and gum trees and deep blue of the sky (no white clouds!!) were the classic Australian bush colour combination.
Anna and Luke were hell bent on completing the hike in less than half the recommended time (a Western trait, not a Gibson one) and they scampered and scrambled their way up and down the paths setting a very sharp pace. Not surprisingly they achieved their goal and ended
up back at the car park in 1 hr 45 mins, a full ten minutes (or so they reckon) ahead of Mark and I. We rewarded ourselves with a beer and picnic then headed back to the campsite.
The early start and lots of fast walking had zapped the kids’ energy so they decided against going back to Uluru for one more sunset. So Mark went on his own while Hazel, Anna and Luke set about posting a few days worth of blog, using the Telstra wifi thingo. We set up an office inside the tent so we could keep warm and put spaghetti bolognaise on the stove outside for dinner.
The evening’s entertainment was the Angry Birds card game Luke got for his birthday – quite good fun, especially when it comes to flicking dice at the King Pig. Probably a good thing we were playing inside the tent so we didn’t lose the dice due to very wayward flicking.
There are more photos below