Wednesday, 24 October – Ayers Rock Resort

Maybe it\’s time to point out a few things about this place. There is no town called Ayers Rock. That, as most people now know, is the non-indigenous name for that bloody great sandstone lump that sticks out of the desert. It is now known (rightly) by its indigenous name of Uluru. Ayers Rock these days refers exclusively to the resort and associated airport. Also, this isn\’t desert – it\’s semi-arid. So there!

Anyway, leisurely get-up and an (expensive) breakfast. One really is trapped a bit in a tourist Shangri-La here. Temperatures in the mid-30s. Jean went to some arty-farty presentation and I wandered around the resort.

Up to a lookout where one could catch a tantalising glimpse of Uluru:

Then went and had a very welcome and refreshing beer.

Time came for our departure by coach on the Uluru Sacred Sights and Sunset tour (pre-booked in the UK). The schedule was to visit the Culture Centre in the Uluru National Park, then do a trip around the base of Uluru, followed by a stop to view Uluru at sunset.

To be honest, the Culture Centre was a bit boring to us – we\’d seen a lot of this stuff already in the Kimberley. There was a short, not very good, presentation on the animals in the park, then it was back on the coach.

The trip round the base of Uluru proved to be much more interesting. Our driver/guide, Adam, after a rather diffident start, got into his stride later and told some wonderful stories, really putting into perspective about how sacred this place is to the aboriginal peoples in the area. Many of the shapes, colours and caves in Uluru are attributed by them to their own mythology, and this is possibly more interesting than the geological source of this amazing place, although that is pretty amazing too. It is very difficult not to be affected by the spirituality and peace of this place, despite the hordes of tourists around. We were not supposed/allowed to take photos of one particular sector of Uluru because of the respect that has to be shown to the myths of the local people. Taking pictures takes something away.

Mutijulu Waterhole – generated solely from rainfall. A truly sacred place and so peaceful.
The gorge which fills Mutijulu waterhole when it rains. Uluru collects a tremendous amount of water when it rains, which isn\’t often.
Then on to a specific sunset bus park, where one was treated to canapes (well, cheese and crisps), plus some complimentary booze whilst waiting for the sunset\’s rays to illuminate Uluru. This was actually a very enjoyable, relaxed and jovial hour or so, plus of course the chance to take some pictures the like of which are so beloved of the glitzy tourist brochures:
 Seen this before? Bet you have….

Back to the hotel and an early night, as we have to get up for a 4 a.m. (!) start to travel to King\’s Canyon tomorrow. This promises to be a tough day, with a prospect of a 3 hour walk around the rim in temperatures of 30-odd degrees. Will be reporting how that went…….

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