We we’re a bit rushed last time we visted Uluru so we had to have another look. This time, with a baby in tow, we decided against the steep, treacherous and sometimes deadly climb to the top and instead did the 10km base walk.
On the base walk we found some sandalwood bush plum. They weren’t very sweet, tasted bitter and sour with possibly a slight hint of plum flavour.
The different perspective of the base walk was great. We got to see lots of different views of the rock that we had never seen before. The next day we did the valley of the winds walk through Kata Tjuta / Olgas and had a fancy dinner at Yulara Resort.
On the way out of Uluru we stayed at Curtin Springs road house. We ended up having a big night out at the bar, drinking beers and chatting with the owner of the Curtin Springs cattle station until late. In the morning we felt a bit ginger so decided on another visit to the bar for a bacon and egg sandwich before heading off for Kings Canyon.
It’s been 1600km since our last post! Been busy the last couple of weeks generally either bush camping or travelling. We are in Katherine now catching up on our blog. From Uluru we spent a couple of nights in Alice Springs. Picked up a steak sandwich at the pub which was great but we weren’t overly impressed with the town itself. It is a nice base for exploring the surrounding areas. Our next camp was Ellery Creek Big Hole, west of Alice Springs in the MacDonnell Ranges. What an awesome spot. There is something special about spending time in an oasis in the desert. A water hole and big trees are appreciated more so than anywhere else. It was warm and sunny, weren’t too many bugs, plenty of birdlife, very peaceful. One bird (pictured) entertained us around the campsite hunting insects. We did 8km return of the Larapinta Trail which runs for 220km from Alice Springs to Mt Zeil. It runs through the gorges, valleys and ridges of the MacDonnell Ranges. Was a nice walk – one day I’d like to return and complete a few days worth of it. There are many more spots around the MacDonnell Ranges and Alice Springs that we would like to visit, maybe next time.
Access to Ellery Creek Big Hole is good, on the bitumen Namatjira Drive through the West MacDonnel Ranges National Park and then a short treck down a good gravel road. Facilities are good – rain water tanks, flushing toilets and gas bbqs. The waterhole is permanent and is a beautiful spot. Busy too.
We found some Ruby Saltbush. The berries are edible and taste like generic sweet berry flavour. They are too small though, and mostly consist of a pip or stone. So we collected some to make a deliciously sweet bush tea. Actually it tasted mostly like boiled water.
To top what was already one of the best days of our trip so far we stayed to watch the sun set over Uluru, AMAZING! The way the rock glows red in the sunlight is beautiful. Have a look at the two shots of Uluru and have a guess which one was taken at sunset and which one was taken just after.
Uluru is one of the premier international tourist attractions of Australia. It’s very busy and very tourist orientated. Still it’s an impressive attraction and we enjoyed our short stay there. We ran out of time and couldn’t complete the walk around the base of Uluru nor visit Kings Canyon or The Olgas (Kata Tjuta). One day we’ll come back.
We drove an entire day to travel from Coober Pedy to our overnight camping spot Curtin Springs which is about 100km from Uluru. On the way we stopped by Kulgera, the ‘first and the last pub’ in the Northern Territory.
Uluru is 346-metres high and is visited by roughly 350,000 people a year, about half of whom are from overseas. More than 100,000 people climb the rock against the wishes of the traditional owners which is why climbing the rock can be a controversial. More than 35 deaths have been recorded on the climb most being from heart attacks (apparently).
There’s plenty of info on the net regarding whether to climb or not. We made the decision to climb Uluru without knowing what we were really in for. We were under the impression it would take an hour to climb up, enjoy the view and back down again. What we didn’t realise was how steep, scary and physically demanding the climb would be and we both loved every minute of it. The climb up was thrilling and exhausting. One wrong step and you could be on a quick steep slide to your death. There is a chain to help guide you up on the first section of the climb as it is very narrow and dangerous. After the chain finishes you are on your own to follow the white painted track. There were loads of Asian tourists coming back down while we were going up and they were squealing and holding onto the chain the entire way which made us a tad nervous about coming back down.
Once we made it to the top it was well worth the effort. We could have spent all day exploring the top of Uluru, it is massive!
After hanging out on the top of Uluru for almost an hour we started the trek back down. It was no way as scary as the Asian tourists made it look. Joe even stopped halfway down the steepest section to answer his phone and have a chat with his Mum. It was actually easier to shuffle down without holding onto the chain although in some parts it was so steep it was a necessity (unless you wanted a quick bum slide to your death!)
Climbing Uluru was a memorable and fun challenge that was more difficult than we expected which made the experience even better!