Friday, August 10, 2012

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Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Ayers Rock
August 10th 2012
Published: August 12th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Michael and I shared a room at the Grand Medina Hotel. He woke up at 300am due to the jet lag, however I told him to think of koala bears and kangaroo’s. This must have done the trick, somewhat, went back to sleep.

Michael and I finally got up at 530am. I worked on sorting photos and Michael went to the lobby to FaceTime friends. At 630pm Cindy’s Dad was up. I went across the street to the Town Hall train station area to fetch breakfast, Danish. The room had coffee. We left the hotel at 730am and returned to the Sydney airport, but the domestic section. Prior to departing, we waited in the Qantas Business Lounge.

Our flight to Ayers Rock was delayed by 40 minutes. The pilot indicated the cause was due to strong westerly winds that only one runway was open. We finally departed. The flight was a little over 3 hours. Qantas had free TV service on the flight, a real neat feature. We were also served lunch, something you don’t see in the states. The lunch consisted of a chicken wrap and cup of water. Latter coffee and tea was offered.

We landed in Ayers Rock around 115pm. The airport is very tiny, reminded me of the Grand Cayman airport. We had to exit the plane by stairs. Once in the airport the Avis rental counter was immediately on the left. Our Avis car was very small and we were allowed 100km.

The weather was coo but clear and breezy today. Ayers Rock is also nearly geographically central in the country.

I was the designated driver for this trip. Since they drive on the left side, it was good practice for me since I will be driving in Perth and Bunbury. Something’s were different for me when driving on the left side of the road. The main difference was having the steering wheel on the right side. Always driven with the steering wheel on the right.

We navigated the short ride from the airport to the hotel. Our hotel was the Desert Gardens Hotel. The desert part is very appropriate since we are staying in the Australian desert. The hotel building was built to fit the surrounding environments. There were lots of canopies and types of designs on top of the hotel that fit well. The hotel also had a lot of glass. I enclosed a front of the hotel photo. The lobby was very small compared to the other hotels, but the entire property is very open. Our room was quiet a long walk from the front of the hotel. In addition, the hotel room was very small with Michael’s rollaway was in the middle of the two beds. Can you say cramped…. The room did have an outside patio area, but it was too cold to enjoy it. Prior to leaving our hotel for touring, they said restaurant reservations at the hotel were essential, we booked a 715am time.

Urulu Kata National Park

After dropping off our luggage we headed out to the Urulu Kata National Park which is where we visit Ayers Rock. In Australia, Ayers Rock is actually called Uluru. The entrance to Ayers Rock had an entrance booth where we had to pay a $25 entrance fee per person. We bought two adult tickets, Michael was 15 for the day, under 16 is free. Instead of heading directly to the Cultural Center we decided to start our drive around Ayers Rock.

Ayers Rock is absolutely an incredible and mammoth site. During out journey around the rock we stopped multiple times to take photos of every angle. Each angle put a whole new prospective on Ayers Rock. I attached a few photos for your viewing. One area we stopped at we were able to walk up close. This area is where hikers can climb to the top. Michael wanted to climb to the top; however I would not allow him because there were warning signs discouraging this venture. Michael and I did climb a small part of the rock to get a higher view of the surrounding desert. We took a few photos and then returned to ground level. We continued our journey around Ayers Rock until we arrived at the Cultural Center. We walked around the area which added an indepth and context to the whole experience and the Anangu culture. We also took a break eating a small snack.

Sunset Viewing

After leaving the Cultural Center, we drove to the sunset viewing area. We quickly realized that this area is very popular because Ayers Rock changes colors multiple times when sunsets. There were multiple groups of people that set up tables and ate snacks and our drink wine and beer. We arrived almost 1.5 hours before sunset, however I am glad we did because but sunset time there was not parking.

The sunset at Ayers Rock is truly fascinating to view. Within 20 minutes time the colors of the rock went from a pale color to orange and finally dark orange/black. One of the most incredible sites I have watched. I attached a photo to show the color differences.

We returned to the hotel to eat our dinner at 715pm. Not quite sure why we had to make reservations they insisted we do, there were multiple open tables. After our dining experience we returned to the hotel room about 900pm and quickly fell asleep.

Saturday we are flying to Western Australia to visit Perth and Bunbury. Bunbury is where Cindy’s dad manages a company.

Additional photos below
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