Wayoutback 3-day tour in Australia Day 2:
Uluru Sunrise, Kata Tjuta, The Valley of the Winds and Kings Creek Station
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
(Previously, Day 1 – Outback, the Belly Button!) The interpretive base walk of Uluru was fulfilling. At one point I thought: “are we simply walking once around the rock and that’s it?” But there were caves, valleys, ancient paintings, and ponds that had interesting stories about this giant wonder.
It was not exactly a super-hot day but the sun made it difficult enough to walk around the rock without sunscreen and a hat. That’s why the walk of Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon in the following two days was done by lunch in the morning. How the aborigines survived in such a harsh environment for thousands of years was amazing, and how they celebrated and thanked what they were given in the “center of the world” was admirable. After the base walk, we continued our learning path at the cultural center; Photography was not allowed in the learning center and the native’s history, culture, and beliefs were on display in different languages. The number of flies was overwhelming and it kind of annoyed me a little bit; it was nice to be indoors with air conditioning and we all got popsicles in the cafeteria to cool down. Before heading back to the camp for dinner, we were driven to the viewpoint and prepared to look out at the gorgeous sunset of the rock, as it changed colors with the sunlight at different angles and different times.
Why are there so many flies?
One thing that you may need as you are visiting Central Australia (outback) is a hat with a veil because there are so many flies they keep landing on your face. The flies are breeding up in big numbers after the occasional rain in Australia’s Inland, and the widespread and prolonged drought is the main cause of the fly problem. The outback offered a great environment for the flies to breed and their population grew exponentially. The flies are most active during the day when the sun is out, it feels so much better in the early morning and evening, you will see a significant drop of flies.
The next morning we woke up pretty early at 5 am before the sunrise. It was because we were expected to see it with the beautiful Uluru. These are the hours before the flies were awake and we could have an “undisturbed” moment to appreciate the beauty of the area. It was incredible. A giant rock sat on the green carpet and nothing else. The colorful twilight was the canvas of the picturesque scenery. We all gasped in amazement when the sun rose from the horizon and it was a celebration of another wonderful day.
Afterward, we wasted no time and set off to the Kata Tjuta for another hike. Kata Tjuta (or Olgas) maybe not be as famous as Uluru (isn’t it lucky). The “Valley of the Winds” is also a sacred group of rocks within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. It was a group of 36 domes of rock formation consisting of various rock types including granite and basalt, and visitors are allowed to walk through the rocks! Kata Tjuta and Uluru are geologically similar. In other words, they are like brothers and sisters but Uluru is a much larger and single rock formation; while Kata Tjuta is a rock cluster (the rocks are still pretty big) though.
It’s called the Valley of the Winds for a reason and the narrow passage of the rocks was actually windy. Without ancient paintings, Kata Tjuta had some pretty nice sceneries. After we passed the narrow passage it was basically flat hiking trails with pleasant views to enjoy. The photos might explain a little bit ~ The walk took about 3 hours before we set off to our camp at the Kings Creek Station.
Once we arrived we enjoyed a little bit of pool time and cool drinks before we headed to our camp; No Internet. No gadgets. And, basically, no electricity. Yet we were quite busy settling down mingling with people in our group around the fire, preparing dinner, and showering in an outdoor booth that has a perfect view of nature and a slim chance a wild animal would pay a visit to the occupant’s naked. After a great night, we all tucked ourselves in a swag (sleeping bag), gazed at the starry sky, and had a good night’s sleep under the Southern Cross.
What is swag?
A swag is a traditional Australian canvas bad roll with a mattress inside. Basically, it is a large sleeping bag with a built-in mattress.
Cooking / Camp Fire / Showering in the wild / Enjoying the view while showering
Anything to see and do in Alice Springs?
It all happened before our way outback experience. We arrived in yet another Australian town that is basically in the middle of nowhere. But still, it has everything – a hospital, library, supermarket, bars, and Chinese food :P. One place of interest would be the Lions Walk. A trail walking up Anzac hill, a short hilltop that overlooks the town, and an excellent viewpoint of sunset. We took our time in the supermarket shopping for local food and products – Pauls’s Ice coffee is one of my favorite and they have lots of choices; Australian Jams, beers, and candies that are a good souvenir for friends at home.
The Rock Bar was a great place to hang out with some good music as well. 🙂
(Up next! Kings Canyon, the Lost City)