“It’s just a f***ing rock” are the words I have been quoted as saying in the past regarding this amazing specimen in Australia’s red centre. Of course that was when I was young, stupid and immature but now I’m slightly older and wiser (but still stupid and immature!) I have seen the error of my ways and thought I should visit one of the worlds wonders in the heart of Australia.
My bus departed Alice at 6am and the first stop was for a quick photo opportunity of Mount Conner which from afar could easily be mistaken (as it is indeed by many) as Uluru itself. Kata Tjuta (below) was on the agenda after that and this really was an amazing sight, one which at the time felt more impressive than my pre-conceived impressions of its much more famous red brother. Everyone has seen pictures of Uluru but far less know about Kata Tjuta (or the Olgas as they’re more commonly known as) and its large domed rock formations which I considered to be really impressive.
As Ayers Rock came into view more and more it soon became apparent that my words from 11 years ago were perhaps said in vain. From afar that view could be understandable but as you get nearer and see the rock up close it soon becomes apparent that it is far more than just a rock what with all its holes, markings and erm, bird poop!
Wind conditions on the day meant I didn’t have to make a difficult decision on whether to climb or not though I’m sure I still would have climbed it. Luckily I didn’t have my heart set on climbing it as I wasn’t even aware that you still could but it seems like they can’t just stop people climbing it without having some alternative activity to replace it. We took one of the walks around the base which was very interesting and where the phrase “you have to see it to believe it” became more true than usual as there are parts of the rock which you’re prohibited from photographing as the aborigines strongly believe that you should only see it with your own eyes and not in photographic form.
Sunset was great as the tour company cooked up a fantastic BBQ dinner with white wine whilst we watched the changing colours of the rock amongst the many other tours companies who all congregate in the same area. Some of the photos below do actually look a bit fake but I can assure you they are all real and that I was there. For the record I put on my Leicester shirt just for the photo below. Within five minutes of sunset happening we were on our way but thankfully I was staying at a nearby resort ready for the following days trip to Kings Canyon whereas the rest of the bus had a five hour plus drive back to Alice Springs.