Karen and I are beginning to display some of our geographical ignorance. We thought, “since we are driving right past it, why don’t we stop in at Uluru on the way, and have a little look.”
Those of you who are laughing know that this little side trip is over 500kms! AND one overnight stop out of the way. BUT very worth it…
The first large rock you will come across on this drive is Mount Conner, and young Connor was a little miffed that they had spelt it incorrectly. Just past Mt Conner, we stopped overnight at a free campsite called Curtain Springs.
The next morning we packed up quickly and headed for Uluru. In the morning sun, the rock was glowing pink as we arrived, it looked amazing. All my life I have seen photos and heard stories about people visiting Uluru, but I found myself quite awed by the sheer size of it. Geologists tell us that one third of the rock is visible above the surface, and that just made me all the more gobsmacked.
We found the visitor centre to be quite informative and there was lots to see and do. The kids found themselves immersed into aboriginal culture and were creating drawings and reading everything they could. The Anangu people are the traditional owners of Uluru, and they consider the rock one of their most significant spiritual sites. They discourage people from walking on or climbing the rock, because in recent history 35 people have died in the attempt. The Anangu treat death very seriously, especially in a sacred site, so we made a decision not to climb the rock out of respect for their traditions.
That’s when my ignorance kicked in a little more. I thought there was no way there would be a road through these sacred grounds around the rock, so we would have to take the 2.2km walking track to the base (like everyone else). If the complete lack of people wandering this track didn’t arouse my suspicions that I was wrong, then finally arriving at the pedestrian crossing (across the road) at the other end removed all doubts. After a few photos, the kids all complained, “Dad, can you go and get the car and we’ll wait here for you.” I made them walk back to the car! All 2.2kms back again, only now it was getting hotter. Because of the cool morning, most of us still had jeans on….
Then we drove around the rock!
It was amazing. awe inspiring. incredible.
Although we are in a hurry to get to Darwin, and it is still relatively cold overnight out here in the desert, I decided we should drive over the the lookout for Kata Jtuta (The Olgas), and have a look there too. We are in the area! It’s only 50km away.
Kata Jtuta means ‘Many heads’ in the Anangu language. There are 36 individual rocks that make the formation and it is 200m higher than Uluru. From the lookout you can see Kata Jtuta in one direction, Uluru in another direction, and off in the distance, you can see Mt Conner. It was pretty cool.
Next stop – let’s see if we can make it to Alice Springs tonight!