The Outback and her red centre, that is something so unique about Australia. Exploring Ayers Rock & Uluru is definitely a bucketlist item for me and gosh, what was is worthwhile. Here is my experience with Uluru and what you can’t miss out on whilst you’re there.
When I knew I was coming back to Australia, I made a promise to myself that I would visit Uluru and the outback the next winter in Melbourne. Although I technically when to Ayers Rock in spring, I definitely escaped the cold and got welcomed by the heat, sun, a lot of redness and a great tour company. As I was traveling by myself I just found it more fun and easier to join an Uluru tour and explore Uluru that way.
Uluru is a gigantic sandstone rock formation and a famous landmark that is literally centred in the middle of Australia. This rock is already huge above the ground, but I’ve learned that is actually goes 6km into the ground as well. And that, when the earth and her continents were moving, the Uluru fell onto her side many years ago. Therefore you can see that the layers of rock that were build all these years are vertically instead of horizontally. Interesting hey?
Uluru Base Walk
You can see these layers best when walking the Uluru Base walk. Another thing that you will see is the black ‘stripes’ on the rock, which is the algae leftover from the waterfalls when the water came sliding down whenever it does rain. Another great thing to do here is to see the learning caves of the Aboriginal men. When on a tour, you’ll learn so many interesting facts about the Aboriginals and their culture. Which is also one of the reasons that you can’t and shouldn’t climb Uluru. The rock is a sacred place for them and they aren’t allowed to climb it, so why do we?
Instead, watch the colors of Uluru magically change during sunset and sunrise. Have yourself a glass of champagne or a cuppa coffee and enjoy the amazing and magical views. To me, seeing the sun go down and come up is always been amazing and represent new, fresh beginnings. Seeing it with Uluru in the picture, made it even more amazing. I remember that, when I saw the sign ‘Touch the silence’ when I arrived, I wondered how you could possibly touch the silence. These moments were it. When all the people didn’t say anything, it was so silent. A silence I’ve never experienced before and it’s beautiful and precious.
Valley of the Winds
Another highlight in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is to walk the Valley of the Winds track. Yes, it’s windy and together with the morning sun, the breeze is actually a very welcoming thing. This walk is more interesting than the Uluru Base Walk as it’s more rocky, with more to see and great views. There is a rock that looks like an elephant (or a crocodile if you asked my friend) and trees that smell like Vicks Vaporub and have the medicinal use to cure lung infections. Also interesting to discover is that the rocks aren’t actually red. They are, just as many rocks, grey. Just because there is a lot of iron in the ground, it left a red, rusty layer on the rocks.
Maybe one of my favorite things to do was the Kings Canyon Valley track. After a early rise we entered the park to beat the heat. I overview the landscape that I am about to enter and feel extremely grateful that I am able to do and experience this. We start with Heart Attack Hill (and you can find out yourself if it really will almost give you a heart attack) and then we explore the amazing views. Amazing vistas, a movie scene from Priscilla the Desert Queen, seeing the most little and endangered koala in the world 😉 and the famous Lion King rock (yea it definitely was filmed here in Australia of course). Between all the dryness and rocks, there is still a little oasis called the Garden of Eden, to be found in a valley and has a little lake. It was also pretty amazing to discover that I stood on one of the oldest bits of land of the earth, where you could still see and feel the ripples of water that once was there.
Camping in Swags
Even though I am a sucker for nature, I have to admit that sleeping in a swag was maybe the most unique experience of this trip. I am used to camping, but camping with just the sky full of stars as my roof and the wind breezing in my face, is something that is totally new to me. The first night I didn’t really sleep as it was so weird and every hair that was blown in my face felt like a spider crawling over me. I guess the tour guide stories didn’t really help with that either haha. And the second morning I woke up with dingo paw prints right next to my swag. Whaaat?! I was a bit scared about the fact that such a wild animal came that close to me and could have hurt me, but moreover I just felt really cool that I just did it. Woohoo!
Rock to Rock Tour
In case you got curious on what tour I was whilst exploring Uluru, I did the Rock To Rock Uluru Tours with Mulgas Adventures for 4 days. Honestly I couldn’t have asked for a better adventure than this. An amazing program, I learned so many things and did things I normally wouldn’t have done like going to a salt lake and feeding a camel with a carrot in my mouth. I had a lots of fun with my group and the tour guide. The food was amazing and they catered so well for my food intolerances, which made me really happy. Especially the last night of the Rock to Rock tour was so cool. Camping in the bush bush with no-one around, no electricity and no a real flushing toilet. Instead you got a potty with no door and with a great view of the nature. Never done my thing like that, let me tell you! Eating near the campfire, sitting on our swags and singing songs and telling stories, just the best!
Exploring Uluru is definitely something worthwhile!