On the Friday 29th September 2023 Maggie and I flew from Sydney to Yulara in Central Australia NT, arriving at around 1.30 pm. We stayed at “Sails in the Dessert” hotel.
That afternoon, while waiting out front of the reception hall for our first tour pick up, this small “Linga” lizard (see photo below) ran past at lightening speed and into the garden. However the main wildlife we experienced during our stay were the flies.
The “See It” tour bus (for small groups) took us to Uluru for Sunset drinks.
The traditional landowners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park are Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people (Anangu). Both Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) are within the National Park. Yulara is approximately 5.4 kilometres from the Park entrance. A $38 pass must be purchased to enter the Park (online or at the gate), which is not included in any tour price, but is good for 3 days.
Yulara is referred to as both a village and a resort, with five hotels, a camp ground, a small Theatre, an Art Gallery and a small shopping centre (village centre), all spread around a large ring-road. It is owned by the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation and operated by a subsidiary called Voyages Indigenous Tourism.
The next morning we wandered through the village centre, with souvenir shops, cafes, IGA super market, car hire and village green …
Caught the “Hop On Hop off” free bus
Visited the Gallery of Central Australia
Walked to the lookout in the Yulara sand hills
The colour of Uluru changed depending on the distance from “the rock” and the time of day. We saw Uluru in this lilac colour most days from Yulara.
Later that day we boarded an AAT Kings Tour bus for the Uluru Kuniya Walk, sunset drinks and a BBQ dinner under the stars.
Kata Tjuta (The Ulgas)
Early on Monday we hired a car. Our first destination by car was Kata Tjuta.
Kata Tjuta – “Valley of the Winds” Walk
By the time we reached this point in the walk (1.1 kms) the wind was furious, so we decided not to complete the walk, but return 1.1 kms to the car for a short drive to the “Walpa Gorge” walk, which we hoped was more protected from the wind.
Kata Tjuta – “Walpa Gorge” Walk (2.6 kms)
Out of the wind the flies were very annoying so we wore nets over our faces
The wind wasn’t strong until we got to this point when my hat was blown off and landed below the foot bridge.
Monday afternoon we drove back to Uluru for a self guided tour on the Mala Walk.
Uluru – Mala Walk
From October 26th 2019, climbing Uluru was prohibited for cultural reasons. The photo below shows where the climb used to start and the path worn by climbers prior to the closure date.
The following day we rose early for the drive to Kings Canyon, a 3 hour 15 minute journey (302 Kms) from Yulara (approximately). On the way we stopped for coffee at Curtin Springs Cafe and then at the roadside lookout to see “Fooluru” / Mt Connor.
It is dubbed “Fooluru” as it is often mistaken for Uluru by tourist travelling from Alice Springs to Uluru, because this is the first “big rock” they see.
The only way to get closer to Mt Connor is to book a four wheel drive tour with “See It”, as it is on the privately owned Curtain Springs Cattle Station.
This was the hottest day of our stay in southern NT at around 39 degrees C. Our energy was already diminished when we arrived at the canyon and the flies where annoying us, even when wearing nets over our hats and faces. The track up the rocks was steep and looked a little precarious, so we didn’t attempt the ridge walk.
Walking the floor of the canyon was invigorating and satisfying.
I felt the significance of each of the rock formations we visited on this trip, partly because the names of each place have been in my consciousness for many years and because they are awe inspiring.
Uluru inspired me the most. Viewing it from a distance one sees an impressive mono structure, while a close up view shows it to be a fractured, multi faceted, vital entity, changing at every turn.
The Anangu people and their culture, as presented within the National Park and in the book, “I am Uluru” (by Jen Cowley and The Uluru Family), are also inspiring.
If you haven’t been to Uluru I hope you have the opportunity to go there soon.
Thanks for reading and viewing this photo blog. I hope you enjoyed it.