Uluru (Ayers Rock)
After some discussion with the car dealer about the car and some mechanical advice we decided to drive the 400 km to Ayers Rock.
On the way there we saw a wide range of landscapes and even had to pass a sandstorm which was a unique (Hazel would say “scary’) experience. After a few hundred kilometers we saw Mount Corner which looks like the Ayers Rock and must be most photographed red-hearing in Australia. Later on we saw then the real Uluru (Ayers Rock) which was partly covered in clouds but impressive nevertheless. A 4 bed room at the Ayers Rock Resort was our home for the next 2 nights (partly also because it’s the only accommodation at the Rock).
The next day we (obviously) wanted to see the rock (otherwise the 2000 km since Darwin would have been a bit pointless ;)). First thing we saw at the car park of the Rock were the railings leading up to the rock. Despite being very dangerous and discouraged by the Aboriginals, there are people still climbing the rock (however due to the hot weather the climb was closed anyway for the day).
We joined a park ranger on a free walking tour to some caves with paintings and a waterhole. He gave us some interesting background information about the Ayers Rock and how today the park is jointly managed by Aboriginals and the Government.
Afterwards we tackled the 10 km walk around the rock which looks quite different from near. See the pictures to get an idea of what we saw. After the walk we paid a short visit to the information center where besides other things there was collection of “Sorry Letters”. These letters were sent from people who took rocks as souvenir from the Ayers Rock and as a consequent suffered from bad luck. So they sent the rocks back to Australia together with a letter of apology hoping that things would improve afterwards. The night offered once more a magnificent clear night sky.
Besides the Uluru the Olgas are the other highlight of
the red center. So the next day we drove to them. As it was another hot
day the main walk was closed and therefore we only had a short stroll
into a gorge and to a lookout. Both times we have been accompanied by a
lot flies. Impressive nevertheless.
The Uluru and the Olgas were definitive a highlight and a once in a lifetime experience for the both of us (not saying that we don’t want to come back ;)). After leaving them behind us we continued to drive south. A few kilometers before our night stop the sun was setting and immediately kangaroos started to cross the road (on contrast we haven’t seen any kangaroos during days so far) and we were happy that we reached Kulgera Roadhouse without hitting one of them.
Kulgera Roadhouse is the last (or first) bar of the Northern Territories – but don’t get too excited as it is not much more than a bar, a fuel station and a campground with a few cabins.