Whilst descending from the skies on our airplane we got a broad view of the red center with in the middle of it, bathing in sunlight: Uluru, also known as “Ayers Rock”. Although the view was jaw dropping, we were both thinking: “Is it worth the 500 euro plane tickets to go and see a big ass rock?”. Soon we would discover that it would be more than worth it!
A free shuttle brought us from the airport to the Ayers Rock Resort, a small village with 300 permanent inhabitants in the middle of the desert. Here tourists can chose between a few hotels who defer from each other in price and luxury. Of course we had the cheapest one – The Outback Pioneer Hotel – although it wasn’t very cheap…
Because the resort is on the edge of the Uluru National Park, 20km from the Rock, we needed transportation. Option 1: Take a big ass expensive Guided Tour to Uluru and Kata Tjuta (>300$ pp). Option 2: Take a big ass expensive bus ride without guide (125$ pp). Option 3: Hire a cheap ass car at Hertz for 54$ per day and do everything within 24 hours. With fuel and extra kilometers the last option came down to 40$ per person and a lot of extra freedom! Guess which one we chose :)
A few hours before sunset Corolita, our cheap ass car, took us to Kata Tjuta, which translates to “Many Heads”. Unlike Uluru these rock formations aren’t a monolith, but share the same constitution. Courageous hikers that we are we were the only ones to undertake the full circular Valley of the Winds walk (7.5kms going up & down).
The walk let us through gorges with lots of vegetation, dried trees and cute Skippies, the bush Kangaroos!
We hurried the walk to finish in time for the sunset, but because of our ever increasing hiking capabilities we finished an hour faster than the brochure mentions. We saw the sun going down over Kata Tjuta and decided to go to sleep because it would be an early wake up the next day.
4:30 am. Riiing Riing. Wake up time. We had a quick Brekkie and headed out to Uluru to see the sun rise from the desert.
We were in the hiking zone and did a morning walk around the base of Uluru (10.6kms) in less than two hours! Quite an achievement, wouldn’t you say? But we weren’t alone for the trip, we had a pack of friends riding along.
Again, the views were amazing and we were impressed by the massiveness of the giant red monolith! Along the way the fauna and flora was blooming and it smelled as if we were walking through fields of flowers in the south of France.
We just couldn’t get enough of walking and joined the free ranger-guided Mala Walk. We eagerly listened to witty stories about Uluru and the Trupaka of the indigenous Mala people. We really learned a lot from the humorous Ozzie Ranger. On his advice we dropped by the Cultural Center were one can discover more about Uluru and the 40.000 year old Mala tribe.
We said our goodbyes to Uluru as we brought back useful little Corolita.
We have to confess that by now our legs were really tired and we chilled by the pool for the rest of the day. Just before sunset we climbed up a tiny sand dune with considerable effort to see the sun go down over the red desert.