Before coming here in Australia, I planned to visit several places. I thought that if I couldn’t have had enough time, I would have avoided Uluru. It was not so attractive at that moment. I had the idea it could be just a beautiful mountain, and I could get bored. I couldn’t be more wrong. It was the best solo trip here in Australia and the most extraordinary adventure.
It was September, and I was in Australia for a bit more than one month. A public holiday for the Grand Final (AFL) was arriving, so a long weekend off. A great chance to have my first trip, away from Melbourne.
I didn’t organise in advance. Therefore prices were considerably high for just a few days. After a brief look on the major websites, I figured out that Uluru was the cheapest deal, so, I took the flight ticket. I started to read the better way to visit the area, and after careful research, I found my tour.
Usually, I never take an organised tour, but many reasons led me to look for one. First of all, the distances are immense and renting a car was too expensive just for me. Moreover, at that time, I didn’t have all the camping gear I needed and not enough time to buy or borrow them, and finally, the tour was incredibly attractive. (Habitually, I try to avoid organised trips as much as I can, so this is not my usual declaration).
I left for Yulara that has a small airport very close to Uluru, and it was one of the most beautiful landings I have ever seen. Uluru, a big monolith stood out of the desert.
Yulara is a small town, with just the essential services and some hotel, resort, camping or hostel. I spent the first day by myself, chilling, meeting people, taking photos from the little hill in the centre of the town that offers an astonishing view of Uluru.
A pink van came the second day, in the early morning. I was one of the first to be collected, and suddenly I met a France girl that became the best buddy I could imagine for this trip.
The tour lasted four days and three nights. We visited Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, and learnt about the sacred meaning that this mountain has for the Aboriginal people, the reason why they appreciate if tourists don’t climb the peak. Also, we took a hike surrounding the base, and it offered unattended beautiful corners, little waterfalls or lakes, caves with aboriginal symbols on the walls. Uluru is fantastic, is a massive red sandstone rock formation in the middle of the desert. Probably, the most incredible peculiarity of this mountain is that it changes colour according to the sunlight, offering the famous spectacular sunset, shown on every touristic guide, but also a less known awesome sunrise.
The second day we moved to Kata Tjuta, 36 red domes that create an unusual mountain shape and offer incredible lookouts. We walked around for several hours, enjoying the hike and taking beautiful photos. Fortunately, the weather was great. A sunny, warm day, not muggy, probably during summer here could be too hot.
Many legends make these two mountains still more fascinating. The stop at the aboriginal cultural centre was interesting to learn something about those.
The third day our pink van brought us to Kings Canyon. The visit started with a small but hard uphill, called “the heart attack climb”, it’s not the worse climb that exists, but for a mature man, not so fit and under the intense sun of the desert, it can be challenging enough. My France friend that felt not very good that day had some little problems to climb it. Fortunately, everyone arrived alive, and as a result, the stunning view compensated the significant effort. Red rocks, canyons, plants, animals: everything is fascinating in Kings Canyon.
The little lake, between two vertical tall red walls, which created a small oasis, was my favourite part. We have been fortunate to be there with very few people: the silent, the colours and the magic of the place made our rest unforgivable.
The value of the trip
The beautiful desert remembered me the “Beep, Beep” Warner Bros cartoon. The spectacular landscapes make a trip fabulous without any effort. However, the adventure made our trip unique. Our guide was ideal. He always had the right song at the right moment. Besides, he knew about history, plants, animals and aboriginal culture, therefore, he was regularly able to teach us something. We collected woods along the way, stopping in the middle of the desert and picking dried branches to make the fire. After that, everyone was asking for some tea oil to disinfect the own wounds, but that moment was amusing. Everyone tried to pick the hugest branch, helping each other, while the group spirit was strengthening. Our dinners were modest but pleasant and unifying. The speeches and the stories after meals fascinating and engaging.
We spent our nights in the desert. The first two in campsites along the way, while the last one in the middle of nowhere. We slept in the typical Australian swags, under astonishing starry skies, surrounding a big fire that warmed the cold nights. It was unreal, and we felt like to be back to centuries. Sleeping on the ground was strangely comfortable and fulfilling because the ancestral spirit that pervaded our emotions.
I thought to bypass this trip, and I couldn’t be more wrong.
The magical sacred aura that surrounds these places is perceptible. Consequently, mountains and landscapes develop an entirely different fascination.
…and when, for the first time, I saw wild horses free to run on board less land… I couldn’t do anything more than hold my breath.