Back in 2004 another Christmas was coming up, and with work closing for 10 days it was the perfect chance to get out the city and explore somewhere new. In the past I would visit cities, or go overseas for a quick Xmas break, but this time I decided to explore Australia’s red centre, and it was on this trip that I really fell in love with the land of my birth.
Some would say that the “heart” of Australian culture would be the beach. Places like Bondi, or Manly. To some degree I do agree. But come out to the bush, the outback, and the spirit of Australia and the links to the land really shine through.
Now, I always thought that Uluru (formerly known as its Anglo name of Ayers Rock) was just that – a big rock in the middle of nowhere. But come visit the rock and you will see its so much more. Firstly, the colours. Wow, as the sun rises, or sets, the rock changes from oranges, to reds, to dark purples, to near black. Many tour companies offer a sunset/sunrise tour, with complimentary champagne/coffee. I did both sunrise and sunset, and would definitely recommend sunset- I found the colours more rich at this time, and you don’t have to wake at 4am for the bus pick up!
As I said though, Uluru is more then the rock. Come up close and you can discover so much more. For some naive reason, I always thought it was the rock, just a straight up surface rising from the ground up. Little did I know there is so much to explore at the base of the rock – caves, overhangs, watering holes, waterfalls (after the odd freak rain shower, which I did have one day!). At the base of the rock, it is so much cooler, there are plants, bush lands, and even decent sized trees. The shade of the rock provides an oasis in this harsh desert landscape. No wonder this place is sacred to the traditional people, the Anangu.
4 days here is highly recommended to get the total feel of this land. There is more then just Uluru, nearby there is Kata Tjuta, another rock feature, and 3 hours away there is the magical Kings Canyon. Too many tourists come for a day or two, fly in, take pictures of Uluru, then leave. They don’t even walk the circular base trek, or take a walk with an indigenous guide and learn all the legends and history of the land. That is a shame, because if you do spend more time here I guarantee you will leave with a greater appreciation for this harsh land, and it’s amazing people who survive in such conditions.