Day 17: Uluru!

Today, we can spend the entire day in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, as we spend not one but two nights in the village-like Ayers Rock Resort. This Resort is nothing short of a small town, as it has three hotels, a campground, 8 restaurants, an amphitheatre, a petrol station, a supermarket, a whole load of bars and even a suburb where the staff is housed. We, of course, are in the cheapest hotel called Outback Pioneers Lodge. And it’s great. Even the water is drinkable straight from the tap and does not smell like your average swimming pool!

We start the day really early as we want to be at the gate of the National Park at 6AM. We bought our entrance tickets with a three day validity yesterday already, and so we are all geared up for the 75km drive to Kata Tjuta to see the sun rise and shine its first beams of light on these rocks. The good thing about this place is not only that, but also that you can see the sun rise from behind Ayers Rock. So cool!

After breakfast we have picked a walk at Kata Tjuta, and wanted to walk about an hour to and from a lookout point between two of these huge rocks. After arriving there, we were astonished by the beauty of the place, and after talking to a local guide, we decided to walk the extra 1.6km to the second lookout. This was quite a strenuous walk, with lots of climbing and loose rocks on sharp inclines. But the view at the second lookout was totally worth it. The group with the local guide was walking the same track, and we decided to tag along and continue on the 7.4km full loop, something we actually wanted to avoid doing at the beginning of the day. But, having completed the full Valley Of The Winds Loop, it was the best thing we had done in a long time. When you are at this NP, ignore that lone big rock everybody is looking at and head for Kata Tjuta. It is so much better!

Later on this afternoon, we have walked near to Ayers Rock (Uluru, as the aboriginals call it) to learn a little bit more about the cultural significance of this rock to the Aboriginal people living here. We ended the day looking at the sun setting on Uluru, where it creates a almost magical red shine on the rock, unlike the usual red. It gets way more fiery, and lights up beautifully. Great!

Tomorrow, we have another big day of driving in front of us, as we will complete the circle and return to Alice Springs.