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Uluru and Kata Tjuta - Night 129

Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia

Up at 4:30 to find that the group next to us was still up drinking in the warm desert night. I’m guessing it was a long drive south for them the next day. We drove straight through to our campground in Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park; 8 hours through the undulating semi-desert terrain of the Outback. Along the way we crossed into the Northern Territory, a massive state in Northern Australia that only has five towns with more than 1,000 inhabitants. After a quick lunch at the camp kitchen, we loaded up and drove into the park, past Uluru and down the road to Kata Tjuta (The Olgas).

Identical in color to Uluru, Kata Tjuta was formed by a completely different geological process, though only 45 kilometers away. A collection of 30-some odd shaped red domes of conglomerate rock, Kata Tjuta is both higher and larger than Uluru, though it gets much less press. We did a short group hike into a canyon between two of the largest domes. The much better Valley of the Winds walk was closed due to the high winds in the area. The track was busy and we had to consistently pass and fight with the multitude of other tourist groups in the area. The rocks here are sacred and climbing is not allowed (a $5,000 fine if you do), which is a shame because it would make for some amazing climbing. Think about 36 different shear cliff walls complete with premade hand and foot holds (the agglomerate)…a climber’s dream.

After the short hike we drove to the

ridiculously packed Uluru sunset parking lot. Most of the Japanese tourists in their modern tour busses had fancy tables with white linen cloth and wine and cheese. Being the cheap backpackers that we are, we had to settle for some crackers and cheap champagne served out of plastic cups. Not a one of us complained. The sunset was great, however, the magic of the moment is sort of ruined by the thousand other people who are there. It would be a great place to have your own vehicle and find a nice, uncrowded lot to watch the sun disappear behind the rock. The alcohol had everyone’s spirits up so Scooter drove through the lot with the music at full blast scaring the hell out of the old Asian tourists…all in good fun. Sitting in the front, I had the benefit of the megaphone.

Our evening meal was steak, potatoes and salad.

Most people knocked off early as we had a date with sunrise, however, the Swiss guys and the Irish girl stayed up with me and drank our box of wine and played (quite unsuccessfully) the didgeridoo until around midnight. That evening most of us chose to sleep outside on the swags with nothing but the night sky for a roof over our heads.

What I Learned Today: I have no patience for high maintenance

permalink written by  exumenius on February 16, 2008 from Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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