This is the blog I have been anxiously waiting to write. Ever since I was a child I have wanted to go to Ayres Rock but never had the opportunity so I was pretty excited to finally be going there and sharing it with someone special.
We left Alice Springs and headed further into the red centre of Australia on Friday 13th May. It was going to be a longer day on the road as the trip to our destination was 495kms.
Our first stop of the day was lunch at Mt Connor lookout. Wow, what an impressive view. Such a different place in the landscape. What a lovely surprise when we walked across the road and over a sand dune to find a salt lake in the middle of nowhere. Murray’s sister Myra had mentioned this place to us and it was well worth the stopover. I had to touch the dirt here because it looked like really soft translucent sand and when you pick it up it just melts away through your fingers. Unreal and so red.
We drove for what seemed like ages and then as we rounded a bend there she was…the Rock, Ayres Rock. I almost cried. I felt a lump in my throat and turned to Murray saying, “wow, there she is!!” Awesome. I was a happy girl right there and then. I could have gone home now but I wanted to see more and touch it for myself.
Yulara Resort Ayres Rock is where we chose to stay because it is closest to the Rock and the Olgas/Kata Tjuta. We set up easily, not too late in the day and waited for sunset. The viewing platform was not far from us and we headed up ready for 6:15pm with wine and beer in hand. There she was again, Ayres Rock just waiting to be photographed by us and with us. How lucky were we that a local dingo decided to join us. It took a look at us all and moved on, handsome fellow. It was here that we met Ian and Kay Power who were to become great travel buddies for us when we left here. That is another story though.
Saturday couldn’t come quickly enough, Murray was ready to do his climb, as for me I wasn’t so sure. Heading out to Uluru was just unreal. As it loomed larger than life in the foreground in all its natural splendour my fear of climbing it got grew. Once we arrived I decided the boys needed one remaining parent and Murray headed to the top on his own while I sat and watched in anxious anticipation below. The last thing I said to him as he headed off was, “If you do anything stupid to yourself on this rock I will never forgive you!” Kissing him and sending him off with a faint wave. I went on the Mala Walk, half anyway as I thought I should return to the bottom off the Rock in case anything happened to his lordship and I was needed.
The day was hot and the flies were sticky but not as bad as we’d heard. Three hours later Murray returned and blow me down he was too tired to do the walk around Uluru which takes three hours. How Rude!! What was I thinking!! On the other hand I was so relieved to have him back I could have smacked him and kissed him all at once. He will have to write his own blog on his journey to the top as I have no idea what went on up there other than the smile on his face, the photos and the kiss I got when he reached me which was priceless. Murray later said that he felt mentally and physically challenged by this giant monolith and that I had made the right choice, for me,to stay behind. He could have turned back a couple of times but felt compelled to reach the top. He’s content. We took a look around the Cultural Centre then returned to camp.
The next day, Sunday, we returned to Uluru and took on the challenge of walking around it which took us 3hours, 14kms, with excursions here and there to different walks, gorges and waterholes within the confines of the Rock. Another challenge for the legs but we did it and felt satisfied we had come here. I’m happy. This place is incredible with its many colours and different faces. It’s quite moving to be in its shadows and breathe the fresh air out here. Very humbling and spiritual. Photos don’t do it justice really but I’ll put some in anyway.
Back at camp our legs were tired and we headed to the showers to freshen up. At 4.30 we were picked up for our camel ride at sunset. These animals are amazing. (I know I use this word a lot but it just describes so much out here.) After a quick safety talk about the do’s and don’ts, basically how to avoid being kicked , spat at or bitten we were allocated our camel which had been hand picked for us. Ours was called Khan, he gurgled as we got on but was a well behaved chap. Thank goodness. Excitement built as we set off, I also think I was a bit nervous at first but I certainly relaxed as we rode on. Sitting atop a camel is actually quite calming and I thoroughly enjoyed it as did Muz. Our ride was over the dunes to where we could see Uluru change colour. Lots of photos were taken of us and by us. It was an unreal feeling once again and we met lots of lovely, friendly people. Kata Tjuta could also be seen in the distance. Back at the stables we were treated to free wine, champagne, beer and beautiful tasty local treats of dukkahs, chutneys, balsamic vinegars and homemade beer damper. Mmmm, all fantastic. The bus returned us to our camp where we enjoyed a cuppa then welcomed bed after a very busy but excellent day.
Monday, we went to Kata Tjuta ready for more walking, which was good as we needed to stretch our legs. The walking wasn’t as easy here as the paths were quite rocky but our views were amazing. First we took the walk to the Valley of the Winds, but didn’t do the whole walk as it was a couple of hours and the day was heating up. The best part of this place was the walk into and out of the Walpa(windy) Gorge. The colours were so vibrant with crystal clear water and it was a lovely spot for chats in the cool.
As this was our last night we went to dinner with Ian and Kay at the Pioneer Outback Bar and enjoyed the best pizzas with music and drinks and we caught the last courtesy bus home.
Leaving this most memorable place on Tuesday, 17th May we felt satisfied and thoughtful. We had made more wonderful memories and can look back on an experience we were lucky to have had. King’s Canyon here we come…but that’s another post.