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Published: March 19th 2018
I have my on you!
Alice Springs – Uluru/Ayers Rock - March 17, 2018 – Weather forecast: bright sunny skies, daytime temperature of 40+°C with a light breeze; overnight temperature of 22°C
Another travel day with luggage out for the porters by 7:00am, then breakfast and onto the bus by 8:00am as we journey cross-county to Uluru/Ayers Rock which is 462.9 km SW of Alice Springs. The journey was scheduled to take five hours and it included one relief stop & pickup snacks at Erunda Roadhouse, which is approximately the half way spot and one “long drop” stop at the outlook for Mt. Conner. A long drop is the term used for a latrine. Along the way Deb, our driver, provided colour commentary on a wide variety of topics pertaining to Australia. She told us that Mt. Conner, is often mistaken for Uluru, as they have similar appearances and so has been dubbed “Fool Uluru”.
We arrived in Uluru right on schedule and made a brief stop at the hotel to drop off the luggage. As our rooms were not ready yet Heather and Deb took this opportunity to take us out
Mt Conner = Fool Uluru
into the National Park to Kata Tjuta, a set of rocks that sit opposite to Uluru some forty kilometers away. Some time back in the early geology of the area, probably around 300 million years ago, Kata Tjuta, Uluru and Mt. Conner were thrust up from the surrounding land and formed part of a mountain chain. When the interior of Australia was inundated by an inland sea they would have appeared as islands. As eons past the rest of the mountain chain vanished and these three rock formations remained.
This rock formation along with Uluru are sacred locations for the Aborigines and our guide reminded us of this fact a number of times as we left the bus to do the Walpa Gorge Walk. The gorge takes you between two of the larger rock formations in this complex. The path which we followed had a distinct grade to it so added to the extreme heat many members of our group opted to find a place to sit in the shade while the rest of us continued to explore.
We returned to the hotel found our rooms and relaxed for the remainder of the afternoon
as we had a date back at Uluru Rock to watch how the sunset altered the colour patterns across its surface. Part of the viewing experience included a light snack accompanied by a sparkling wine. We arrived just after 6:00pm, had our snack and bubbly and precisely at 7:01pm the sun set. The advice we were given by our guides was to take a photo every 5 minutes or so and then replay them later to view the changing hues.
Once the viewing concluded we returned to the hotel for a late evening meal, followed by our usual routine of get packed and ready to ship out early tomorrow after a morning visit to Uluru.
This morning’s schedule saw us up early with luggage out for the porters by 8:30am while we had breakfast and were onto the bus by 9:30.
Today we journeyed back to Uluru to get up close and personal with this spiritual place. If time had permitted, and the temperature had been a shade cooler – it was 30°C+ already at 10:00am with a slight breeze, we would have done more on foot. Instead
Snacks for the viewing
our driver drove around Uluru and selected two locations where we got off for a closer inspection. Our first stop was at the Mutijulu Waterhole, the only location on Uluru that has a permanent supply of water. Our guide told us part of the Aboriginal creation story that was associated with location, reminding us that as white people we will never know ALL of the story; that is for the Aborigines to know.
The final stop took us to the location where in the past people climbed to the summit of Uluru. This practice is now coming to an end. As Uluru is a sacred place in the lives of the Aborigines they encourage everyone to respect their traditions and not climb. In fact, as of October 2019, it will be against Federal law to do so and if caught you will face extremely heavy fines. The greatest dilemma now facing the custodians of Uluru is how to remove the steel posts embedded in the rock that support a guide rope to the top without defacing Uluru drastically.
After a brief visit to the nearby cultural centre where we had an opportunity to view
Uluru at sunset
Aboriginal artists creating their paintings we journeyed on to the airport for our flight to Cairns on the east coast in the midst of the Australian rainforests.
Just after we left the airplane and entered the terminal the skies opened to a downpour, a vast change from the desert that we came from a mere two hours ago.
Upon our arrival at the hotel our driver pointed out one very unique feature of the location. The trees in front of the building are the home to approximately 3,500 Spectacle Fox Fruit Bats, who at sunset fly off in search of their dinner. Our room looked down on their roost, and at five in the morning they noisily announced their return.
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