Uluru and Kata Tjuta

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September 20th 2017
Published: September 27th 2017
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Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park

Ayres Rock and The Olgas - or otherwise known as Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
We made it! After our short stay in Alice Springs we jumped in the van again and headed down to Uluru. We spent the night before in a free campsite which had WIFI and showers. It was amazing; it was at this campsite that we ate camel for the first time. It was surprisingly nice. It reminded us of steak. Any way once we arrived in Yulara, (the town/resort for Uluru), free actives were on and we could attend a half an hour cooking course on food you can ate and find in the local bush. Even though I still wouldn’t feel safe eating any local vegetation it was a very interesting talk. We were told about other things Aboriginals use plants for as well as eating, such as using them for hair dye and how to spot if the fruit has pesticides. After the talk, we could taste a few of the items and we tried bush peach and shortbread with a local fruit jam. It was delicious.

Uluru and Kata Tjuta date back around 500 million years, roughly the same time Australia became a continent. The National Park was created in 1950. Ayers Rock and The Olgas combined to make the park. The government took ownership of the rock and put in an air strip along one side. The rock was given back to the traditional owners who granted Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service a lease, which has now run out. The two rocks were built up of arkose, a course grained sandstone rich in the mineral feldspar, the sandy sediment hardened to form the rocks.

After the talk, we went to the National Park and after lunch we decided to do Uluru and then Kata Tjuta the next day. We had heard you could climb up Uluru but we had also read a lot of sign’s saying this wasn’t allowed. On the drive there we saw people climbing up so know it was possible. Before starting the base walk we spoke to the information desk and asked why it wasn’t allowed. He explained that when the government owned the rock the climb was put in as a tourist attraction and 35 people had died trying. Now the rock has been given back to the Aboriginies and they don’t want people to climb it, but the tribe are too polite to say STOP out loud so they are trying to discourage people climbing the rock. By 2020 they are hoping to have it stopped completely but they need to prove that tourists are coming to the rock not just to climb. In the 1960’s when the climb first opened 95% of tourists were going to the rock to climb it, now only 25% are going to climb it. 75% are going just to see and walk around the rock. The first Aboriginal’s moved into the area around 20,000 years ago. The Aboriginals are quoted to have said “In the beginning the world was unformed and featureless. Ancestral beings emerged from this void and journeyed widely, creating all the living species and the characteristics features of the desert landscape you see today. Uluru and Kata Tjuta provide physical evidence of feats performed during the creation period. Anangu are the direct descendants of these beings and are responsible for the protection and appropriate management of these ancestral lands.”
Waking around this 863-meter-high rock in the middle of nowhere, knowing there was more of it still underground was amazing. As we were there and had time, and who knows if we’ll ever be back again, we had to do the base walk, a 12km walk around the entire base of Uluru. It took us just over three hours, that’s with stops for pictures and just to look at the rock. On our drive to the spot where you get the best view of the sunset we picked up a hitch hiker who we had met before. While waiting for the sun to set we took some pictures sat on the roof of the van with the sun setting behind us. The colour change on Uluru happened so quickly but it was an amazing thing to witness.

The next day we went to Kata Tjuta. This is a bigger rock than Uluru, 1066m, and is in the same national park, it is just less known. There were a few walks to choose from for Kata Tjuta and we chose the longest, 7.3km. Once we had started walking we saw a lot of people coming the way we were going, we know the longer walk was a circular walk and the path was only one way. We asked a few people why they were coming back and they said the walk looked terrible. Once we got to the turnaround point, an amazing look out that looked over a lot of the rocks, we realised what people meant, it was a very steep climb down to get on the next part of the path. We decided to carry on though and once you were down the rest of the walk was easier than the first part and the view was amazing. People were missing out on an amazing walk just because they assumed the steepness they had to climb down at some point they would have to climb up again, but you’d already climbed up getting to the view point.
Laurent and I both preferred the Kata Tjuta rock and walk as even though it was a lot less flat than Uluru you were walking through the rocks more and it was beautiful.
When Laurent first mentioned us coming to Australia this year, one of the first things I said was oh Ayres Rock and now having been, seen it, got around 300 pictures, and walked around it I can tick an amazing experience off my bucket list.
Uluru and Kata Tjuta were amazing!!

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