ULURU - It's a must do.
Uluru being one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks should be on everyone’s bucket list. The images on postcards and books I had seen growing up did nothing to prepare me for the power, size and beauty this sacred sight holds in person. The contrast of red dirt and dancing grasses, the many colours of sunrise to sunset, and the experience of walking around a 600 million year old sacred formation that holds such significance to the Indigenous custodians of the land, is something truly special.
What to do in Uluru.
Enjoy dinner under the stars – The “Sounds of silence” evening is not to be missed. From canapés and champagne on sunset to an astronomy talk after dark, this delish three course bush tucker inspired meal set between the rusty dunes is a once in a life time experience and some of the best star gazing imaginable.
Field of Light – After dinner we wandered (waddled) stuffed full, like months to a flame, down to the mesmerising Field of Light. This art installation covers the desert floor with 50,000 soft solar powered lights. The path through these hand blown ever changing coloured globes is to be wandered at your own pace and feels as tho you are walking through the milky way.
Watch the sunrise over Uluru on Camel back – This experience is truly unique to the area, with Uluru sitting pretty on the horizon the ever changing colours of the sky from deep purple to pastel pink, contrast to earthy rust tones of the dune is pure magic. I have to note the camels here are well looked after, known by name/personality, loved and adored by the stable hands. This tour takes about 2 hours & once back at the stables, freshly baked damper with Vegemite and Quondong Jam is waiting with coffee and tea. BTW Quondong is my new favourite word and also known as a native peach. YUM.
Take a walk –The Uluru Kata Tjuta park entry fee is approx $25 and valid for 3 days. Before temperatures reach boiling point (before 11am and after 4pm) make sure to take a walk. There are clear marked signs of walking paths and simple steps to take in being respectful to those who’s land you are on and to who this sacred site is important. This is where I have to say so loud and clear DO NOT CLIMB ULURU! Uluru is sacred to the Anagnu people who still live on the land and have asked those visiting “please do not climb”. There is a sign stating clear as day at the base and beginning of the track asking people not to do so. Al tho this is not currently illegal (it is rumoured to become illegal in 2019) it is blatant disrespect.
Kata Tjuta is approx. 45 minute drive from Uluru and also has a lovely walking track. In regards to difficulty, I personally didn’t find walking either of these tracks in espadrilles and a straw hat unpleasant, but many people had walking boots, back packs and fly nets over heads which in hindsight could have been helpful, but all the same a giant fedora is the perfect fly swat.
Put your feet up – During the day temperatures can get up to mid 30s this time of year, which to be honest is just too hot to do anything. I suggest doing all activities early morning or afternoon. Between 11 and 4 is down time so mid day naps are encouraged.
Visit the cultural Centre & Museum. On your way back to Yulra town swing past the Cultural centre and Museum as this has great information about the history of the land, culture and people it belongs too. I personally loved to see the various art works of local people and to read their stories. It is forbidden to take photographs of artworks but all the more reasons for you to come out and see it for yourself!
A FEW HOT TIPS FOR THE DESERT:
BOOK AHEAD – Booking Accommodation, activities and tours is super easy through the Ayers Rock Resort website. I can’t stress enough to book your itinerary in advance as many rooms and activities sell out quick and it would be such a shame to make the effort and miss out. Sounds of Silence, Field of Light & Camel tours are a must. Field of Light has been extended until 2020, so you have two years before its packed up and re located.
FLIGHTS – Getting there is super easy, we flew from Byron down to Sydney and then jumped on a 3 hour Jetstar flight direct to Uluru (Ayers Rock).
HIRE A CAR – From Uluru airport we collected our hire car, which we booked through Thrifty, and drove the short 10 minutes to Yalara town in which the one road connects the 3 hotels, main town square, IGA and campsites. Having your own car means the freedom to drive and the best way to watch the sunset away from tour groups.
ACCOMODATION – We stayed at Desert Gardens Hotel which is comfortable, clean, affordable and in my opinion one of the better Ayers Rock Resort options. We got a room with balcony which made for a lovely view over Uluru in the cool mornings while drinking coffee. If you prefer something high end (with the price tag to match) then I suggest you book Longitude 131, but make sure to book far in advance as this was booked out and highly sort after accommodation.
BRING WARM CLOTHING – Obviously a first time “sunrise in the desert watcher” I didn’t bring a jumper on our camel tour but highly recommend you do as it is actually really chilly before light.
BE RESPECTFUL! Please read up on where you are and who’s land you are on. DO NOT CLIMB ULURU.