Uluru and Kata Tjuta

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Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Ayers Rock
November 10th 2010
Published: November 10th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

Woke early to have breakfast and head out to the rock for a guided tour of the Malu walk. Malu is the totem - animal - for the Anangu people, which is the rufus rock wallaby. Unfortunately it is now extinct in the area due to a massive bush fire in 1974 and the feral cat.

Learned an amazing amount about the rock today - sedimentary layers are actually now vertical not horizontal, as they would have been layered over 500 million years ago. It is not until you get close that you can see the vertical layers. The rock is red due to iron oxide but there are places where you can see its grey sheen under the red coating. There are lots of caves. Rock paintings on the wall of what is called the school cave show the honey grevillea which is blooming everywhere now. There are women's caves and men's cave, kitchen - food preparation caves where rock surfaces have been rubbed smooth through grinding seeds.

Uluru and Kata Tjuta create their own little climates and apparently the sedimentary rocks act as huge sponges lifting the water table to about 1 metre below the surface. The water table elsewhere is around 30m below the surface. The desert oaks which are the long skinny (truffulo trees ref- Dr Zuess 'The Lorax') have a tap root which reach 30 metres below. The area around the two great rocks are lush, with waterholes in several places. The big massive bloodwood trees are a sure sign that this is a good climate for them.

The Olgas - Kata Tjuta - is quite magnificent, different rock formations - conglomerate sedimentary and filled with gorges and vegetation. It is hot and the heat radiating off the rocks is way too much for us. Walked to one gorge and found the rangers had closed the other due to the heat.

The flies are not too bad. We all have fly nets and when sprayed with 'rid' we are OK. We are told to eat a sandwich here yoou need to eat two with each mouthfull and take one up through your nose at the same time. Lovely.

We are continually told how lucky we are to be here in this season and we know we have been spoilt. At its driest the rock and surrounding area would perhaps not seem so magnificent. We think the national colours should change to be a stripe of blue at the top, Red/ochre in the middle and green/grey/silver at the bottom. This is a much better depiction of this country!!

The heat is making us all sleepy and so we are having a siesta this afternoon.

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