The Red Center

Uluru / Ayers Rock

Uluru / Ayers Rock

‘This is Anangu land and you are welcome!  Look around & learn in order to understand Anangu and also understand that our culture is strong and alive!’ – Traditional owner

This is one of the important things you learn when visiting Ayers Rock.  First of all it’s a sacred place and demands for respect for the Aboriginal ‘Anangu’ people.   Therefor Ayers Rock is also known by its Aboriginal name ‘Uluru’.  Uluru is considered one of the great wonders of the world and one of Australia’s most recognizable natural icons.  It is a large sandstone rock formation in Central Australia, in the Northern Territory & an “island mountain”, an isolated remnant left after the slow erosion of an original mountain range.  I arrived to Ayers Rock by plane and had no clue how to organise my days in the Red center. A free shuttle brought me to Yulara, a small settlement & getaway to Uluru National Park. After booking a hostel I walked to the tourist  info center & studied the possibilities for the next days. I quickly realized that this would be an ridicously overprized  couple of days! You van have a look at the prizes here.

Sunset @ Uluru

Sunset @ Uluru

The women at the info desk told me that ‘The Rock tour‘ was also a possibilty but after a phone call to the company, she told me there was only a tour available in 2 days. So I booked a sunset trip to Ayers Rock & a hike in the ‘Valley Of The Winds’ at Kata Tjuta aka The Olga’s. Once back in the hostel I decided to check once again for ‘The Rock tour’ myself coz that would simply be the perfect thing for me! Praise the lord there was a good  mobile phone reception and so I checked online for the number and called the free number. The girl on the phone tomd me that I could join but the driver would pick me up in 10 minutes! No time to lose… I asked the hostel to cancel my booking.

'The Rabbit' @ Kings Canyon

‘The Rabbit’ @ Kings Canyon

No problems there, done! At the tourist information centre, they agreed to cancel my booking for Kata Tjuta but AAT tours refused to cancel my sunset trip. So I lost the 49$ but what the hell… I had an amazing adventure ahead of me! 3 days of camping in the desert with fellow travellers, a base walk + sunset & sunrise in Ayers Rock, the ‘Valley Of The Winds’ walk in Kata Tjuta, sunrise & hike in King’s Canyon,   campfires,  all meals included, … I was lucky that Jake, the driver & tourguide was so kind to wait for me to cancel everything and letting the whole group waiting for me, I was amazingly happy to be able to join them.

'The Rock' tourFrom upper left to bottom right:

‘The Rock’ tour
From upper left to bottom right: Me, Esther, Anne, Chang, Serah, Monica, Mathilde, Amen, Christian, Petra, Kevin, Tara, Stephen, David, Alice, Po, Mimi, Max, Virina & Nicole

Our group  counted 20 travellers, myself included… Max, David, Stephen, Virina, Petra & Mimi were originally from Germany. Than we had Chang with her mother Alice & their friends Po & Serah from Hong Kong. Chang lived for more then 10 years in Sydney and her mother & friends were visiting her on this trip.   Kevin & Tara were a lovely couple from Ireland, Monica & Mathilde, 2 adventurous girls from Denmark, Nicole a sweet girl from Switzerland who was impatient to visit South East Asia for the first time after this trip, Esther & Anne 2 energetic flatmates from respectively The Netherlands & France. Finally we had Christian, a lovely, independent girl from Canada who travelled in Australia & New-Zealand after she had been working in Sydney for 6 months like some others from the group such as Max & David. Jake from UK was our drive/guide and worked here on a working holiday visa as well. We were ready to go… Let’s the adventure beginl!

Valley Of The Winds

Valley Of The Winds

We started with a walk at the base of Ayers Rock and Jake explained us a little bit about the history & culture of the Anenan indigeous people. Later that evening we enjoyed a beautiful sunset at Ayers Rock with wonderful colour & lights patterns in the sky.  I remember me lyin’ in a ‘swag’ in the desert later that night, wandering to the stars thinking 2 words… Magical place! Once again I felt so blessed to be able to experience this lifechanging journey  that affects me in every possible way!

Collecting wood for the campfire

Collecting wood for the campfire

On day 2 we woke up at 5am to enjoy the sunrise at Ayers Rock followed by a 3h hike in ‘Valley Of The Winds” at Kata Tjuta. Kata Tjuta aka The Olgas are a group of large domed rock formations.  The 36 domes that make up Kata Tjuta cover an area of 21.68km2 are composed of conglomerate, a sedimentary rock consisting of cobbles and boulders of varying rock types including granite and basalt, cemented by a matrix of sandstone.
After a long drive in the outback, a visit to Mt Connor – a table-topped mountain three times the size of Uluru but approx. the same height  (344m) – and a stop to collect wood for the fire, we arrived in Watarrka National Park where we settled ourselves, prepared a nice meal & had a campfire in the evening.

Christian (Canada) & me @ King's Canyon

Christian (Canada) & me @ Kings Canyon

Day 3 – Another early morning wake up call after a night under the stars. Today’s program was a walk in King’s Canyon, situated in Watarrka National Park with its sheer walls carved from the sandstone by water & time.  Magnificent views on the canyon & the gorge!  After that we drove a while & some of us had a short camel ride before the long ride back to Alice Springs…

So if you ever plan to visit the Red Center, I would strongly advise you ‘The Rock’ tour.  If you mention the promo code ‘Jake’, you will have a 10% discount…  Don’t forget to buy me a drink if you happen to go !

Alternatives for this tour are 3 day Emu camping tour or 3 day Rock the Centre

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