Uluru and Kata Tjuta
14 August 13
The Red Centre has a magical, emotional effect on me. This is our first time in the Red Centre, and we really only ended up here because we were bringing our friend Marcus to Alice Springs, but I’m so glad that we’ve been prompted to come to the desert and see these beautiful natural landforms!
From Kingoonya, we stopped at Cooper Pedy and then continued driving towards Yulara, the resort town that has grown around Ayers Rock Resort. There are a few designated overnight free-camping locations close to Uluru, and so we finally stopped late at night at a rest area just 40km from the rock. As soon as we parked the bus, we noticed the sweet, honey scent of the desert in bloom.
Early today, we set our alarms and drove to Uluru before sunrise. There are well-signposted areas that are optimal for viewing the rock at sunrise or sunset, so after paying to enter Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park ($25, free for under-16s) we followed the line of vehicles that were also making their way to the sunrise lookout area.
It’s only 50km by road to visit Kata Tjuta (which was called “the Olgas” when I was growing up). Most of the tourists who come to Uluru don’t make the extra effort to reach the much larger landform, but I’m glad we made the trip.
After we felt we had finished at Kata Tjuta, we began the 500km drive to Alice Springs, arriving after dark but in time for dinner. I feel that we haven’t finished at Uluru and Kata Tjuta (which is why I bought an annual pass to the park instead of a 3-day pass), but Marcus catches a plane tomorrow and so that’s setting our agenda. We have friends in Alice Springs that we’re looking forward to catching up with, and so we’ll be in the Red Centre for a while longer — a relief after all this intensive driving to get here!