Letho's Blog

Uluru and Kata Tjuta – Day 1

by on Dez.05, 2010, under The Outback

Dec 5, 2010

After leaving Coober Pedy on Dec 4, 2010, and heading north we stayed at the Kulgera Roadhouse for the night:

A slight rain came up, but did not effect us too much. This place is quite popular when driving along the Stuart Highway, there were quite a few other campers around. Apart from that there was obviously not too much around… just the tremendous sound of road trains nearby.

The next day we drove off, aiming to reach the Kata Tjuta National Park on the same day. After turning onto the Lasseter Highway in Erldunda it still takes you more then 250 kilometers to get near Kata Tjuta. Nothing, really nothing is close by around here. One of the first landmarks you will see on your left is this one:

Mount Connor from the so-called lookout

Mount Conner from the so-called lookout

No, that’s not Uluru. Many people confuse Mount Conner with Uluru. Its material is very similar to Uluru, but it’s only 200-300 million years older. Imagine that – a time-frame long enough, for example, for the dinosaurs to rule the earth for aeons, become extinct and fossilized, only to be dug out by humans millions and millions of years later. It definitely provides for a great view on its own. And no, I haven’t implied that dinosaurs walked around Mount Conner, just wanted to illustrate the time span that Mount Conner was sitting there when Baby-Uluru came out of the ground. 😉

The road to Uluru basically looks like this:

Lasseter Highway

Lasseter Highway

Honestly, the Stuart Highway doesn’t look that different. And the looks generally don’t change for a loooooooong time…

At the Mount Conner Lookout our attention was drawn to the vigorous red-toned desert sand. It’s not as if we suddenly had noticed that for the first time, we had seen a lot of varying colors of red sand before, flashing through the (at this time) unusual dense vegetation (due to much rain in the previous weeks) at both sides of the Outback tracks. But here at Mount Conner the red color seemed to have turned even stronger. Seeing plants growing out of it is still unusual, compared to European standards. Somehow this felt truly like the heart, soul and spiritual center of Australia. In case you didn’t know: the red color is caused by a very high proportion of iron oxide in the soil.

Red desert dust

Red desert dust

It was already late in the afternoon when we catched the first glimpses of The Big Red Rock. The sky was a bit cloudy, therefore the shadows cast onto the rocks in combination with the intense glowing of Uluru in the sun lead to an amazing view.

Since this outstanding piece of rock is so big, you need quite some time to get close to it. It is visually distinguishable from at least 25 kilometers before arriving there. But when you finally do, you are a rewarded with a truly awesome experience .. the feeling of being right here, at the center of the continent, after such a long way, and seeing with your own eyes what you have seen so many times on pictures already is still quite indescribable.

Uluru in all its glory

Uluru in all its glory

It is a genuine world wonder, believe me. We decided to enter the Kata Tjuta Park right away in order to take a first ride around Uluru, then afterwards wait for the sun to settle down to ensure a great ambience of light and rock. Riding around Uluru caters for some unexpected details.

See for yourself:

This thing is far from smooth and flat. It’s full of cracks, gorges, cavities in every conceivable way and packed with accumulations of rocks of varying sizes all around. Looking at it very closely, the rock surface is not smooth at all, but has much more of a scaly and flaky character.

There is a well-known walk up to the top of Uluru. As you can see in the last picture it is closed from 8am, and in general in the (Australian) summer months. True – even at 8am in the morning the heat around here is almost unbearable, especially when physical activities are involved. It is an extremely steep and exhausting climb, actually roundabout 30 people have been killed in accidents in the last 50 or so years trying to climb up.

And to add another dimension to it: the Aboriginals strongly dislike this type of activity, as it is disrespectful concerning the spiritual meaning and importance of this site. The signs around the climb’s starting point basically boil down to this: „Don’t go up there. It’s really dangerous. You might die. A lot of other people already did. Your family will be in terrible grief. And we we will be, too. We care for you and advise you not to go and to respect our ways.“ The means of articulating this point of view is exactly that vivid and insistent, I am not exaggerating the slightest bit. We did not go up the rock, it was closed after all. I still feel the desire to try it out, though, just to know how it’s up there..

Already full of impressions we drove to the Sunset View Lookout, only to be accompanied by more and more incoming travellers with the same intention. In a hostile environment like this we still wonder where all these unbelievably annoying flies and mosquitoes come from .. straight out of the earth, maybe?

So our first day here ended. We returned to the Ayers Rock resort and made camp.

We were there! :)

We were there! 🙂

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