Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Back in January I talked about seeing more of Australia with my friends Oliver and Mary. A visit to Uluru came up and was then quietly forgotten about. I revived the idea a couple of months ago expecting there to be much umming and ahhing over dates. I was pleasantly surprised to find us agreeing a free weekend without any issues and off we went!

I started off trying to do lots of research about where to stay and what tours to do, but frankly it was a waste of time! You can only stay at the Ayers Rock Resort and unless you want to do a camping trip from Alice Springs there only seem to be two tour companies to choose from. The itinerary pretty much writes itself as well: Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon.

We decided that we only needed a long weekend to see the highlights, so flew to Ayers Rock on the Friday and returned on the Sunday. All flights from Sydney arrive around midday, so we booked ourselves onto an afternoon visit to Kata Tjuta, finishing with sunset at Uluru.

To my untrained geological eye, Kata Tjuta seems to be a similar rock formation to Uluru. However, rather than being one large rock it is a series of 36 smaller (but still massive) outcrops. Being on the afternoon tour we only had time to do the shorter Galpa Gorge walk. It was a fairly easy walk to meander through the gorge. There quite a few plants and a fresh water source in the gorge.

After Kata Tjuta we were driven the 50km across to Uluru to watch the sunset. There was quite a lot of excitment at the viewing area with TV cameras filming a group of actors. Such is my knowledge of Australian popular culture I didn't recognise any of them!

The rock is enormous and as far as the eye can see there are large flat plains surrounding it. The flat plains help add to the mystique (where did such an enormous rock come from?), but slightly distract in the sense that it is hard to get a sense of scale and proportion.

I was expecting something magical to happen at sunset, but in truth I found it a bit underwhelming as the rock didn't really change colour as the sun set behind us. Perhaps we didn't have a very good night?

I have slightly mixed feelings about Kata Tjuta and Uluru, they weren't as impressive as I'd hoped they might be. I'm not sure if this is because my expectations were too high? Or because we didn't give ourselves enough time to explore and appreciate them properly?

The day following day we went to Kings Canyon and I did think that was pretty special.


  1. One day I just may get out there. One day. Perhaps when I'm retired and my body can't cope with flying overseas anymore.

  2. I haven't been there either.
    The photos look pretty spectacular though Richard. I'll bet the stars were pretty amazing at night.

  3. The stars were good. You can pay $160 to go on a star gazing dinner in the middle of nowhere. We thought that was a bit steep so went to the pub instead!

  4. It did the colour changing for me, but that was nearly ten years ago maybe the sun has faded a bit?? I took a series of photos and you can see the different stages, quite impressive given that I had a crappy camera at the time.

    Did you climb or circumnavigate?

  5. We just gazed from aware. We were slightly rushed so didn't have time even for a circumnavigation.

    Climbing is very heavily discouraged these days because Uluru is a sacred site for the Aboriginal people.