Uluru (Kata Tjuta)
Driving to Uluru the first major landmark we saw was Mt Conner, a huge table top monolith. The landscape was so flat, it just appeared towering over the scrub landscape, tricking us into thinking it could be Uluru.
A little further down the road and we arrived at the Uluru resort, where we spent 3-nights. We set up camp on the unpowered overflow site, which was really well priced and backed onto a lovely green grassy area. We had heard and seen a few bad reviews about the resort and so we were really surprised at how nice the place was.
There is a free bus which runs all day until late, between the different accommodations, which range from camping to 5 star hotels. There are also lots of bars, cafes and restaurants. The supermarket in the town square is superbly stocked, with lots of interesting foods. I came here just over two years on a swag camping and walking tour! Sadly it was cloudy so I didn’t get to see the rock glow …. I was so disappointed and worried it might happen again. But wow, it put on a show for us! We headed into the National Park and bought a $25 three day pass (per adult) and parked up at the sunset viewing area beneath Uluru. We brought our Uni flame table, helinox chairs as well as drinks and nibbles and settled down to enjoy the brightly glowing rock as it changed colour. Its amazing and something everyone should see.
The next day we headed back into the park and walked around the base. It’s a 10.6km flat walk which takes you up close to the rocks and caves as well as to vantage points to view this wonderful monolith in all its glory.
When we arrived the climb was closed due to high winds and only re-opened as we were leaving. We have mixed feeling about doing this hike as we love a challenge, but also want to respect the culture.
On the hike we saw lots of zebra finches, I love these little birds that dart around in little groups. What also surprised us was how green everything was and the wildflowers were lovely.
On our second night we visited the field of lights on the Field of Light Pass. This is a temporary art installation and as I write this blog, it has been extended to March 2018. Walking around artist Bruce Munro’s stunning 50,000 light stem creation is so magical and peaceful. We climbed to the viewing platform first and then meandered through the pathways. They do it so well, with transfers at 3 different time slots during the evening so you feel like your the only person there. Check the website for other tour packages too.
Olgas (Kata Tjuta)
The Olgas are a 40km drive from the resort and we decided to make a really early start to get to the Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing platform for sunrise. We were the first ones there and caught the first peak of the sun behind the rock in the distance.
It was an absolutely magical sunrise and a real highlight of our time here, as we also got incredible views of the Olgas too. We brought along the jetboil to have coffee and breakfast in the shelter afterwards, which was the envy of everyone. People even asked us to boil some water for them to have a coffee.
Once fuelled up and having carried out our barista activities, we headed off on the 7.4km Valley of the Winds loop hike. It’s one of the top hikes in Australia and we can see why. At the start we dropped into the valley, before hiking through the stunning domes, climbing up a flat rock to an amazing view point before hiking back down and around the outside of these domes.
Just down the road there is another shorter hike which took us through the spectacular high sided gorge.
We had a relaxing afternoon exploring the resort, before dressing up and being picked up for the Sound of Silence dinner. This was something I had wanted to do for years, after being told what a magical experience it was and we didn’t want the night to end. We started with canopies and sparkling wine on the viewing platform as we watched the sunset over Uluru, followed by a short walk down the hill, where we were shown to our table. Dinner was served and the free flowing wine and beer kept flowing. The food was brilliant and our table certainly had a few characters on it, which made the evening fun. It was a lovely warm evening and the sky was a blanket of twinkling star’s above us.
Here are the maps to help you plan.
Next stop ….. Kings Canyon