NOW: ULURU AND KATA TJUTA
After a lunch stop at Curtin Springs our first glimpse of Ayers Rock happened in the rain! Yes! It’s raining on The Rock and we were glad to be off the dirt road and on the tar! Only 1% of visitors see rain at Uluru and we were in that one percent.
Our visit to the Cultural Centre told us the story of Anangu law and the significance of Uluru to the local Aboriginal people who are keen to share their culture with visitors to this special place. Our last visit was with our now adult children when the Yalara Resort had just opened and people were still climbing the rock. If it had been dry the climb would have been open but an increasing number of visitors, including us, are choosing to take the base walk rather than the climb in respect of local customs.
Water was running on Uluru turning it grey with a fine stream running into Mutitulu Waterfall on the Kuniya Walk. After thunder, lightning and heavy rain the weather cleared for a few hours showing Uluru in its red rather than grey tones. The sun even shone on the domes of Kata Tjuta for a few moments.
Just as we had our picnic ready for sunset at Uluru the thunder and lightning started again and down came the rain in absolute torrents. Isn’t this the desert? At least we were up on the dune and the sand absorbed some of the water and it didn’t run through our camper unlike those further down in the campground.
After inches of rain overnight we set out early on Uluru’s Mala Walk with a park ranger. The Mala is the long hair Rufus wallaby which is almost extinct except for about 20 being bred in captivity to eventually be returned to their rocky home at the base of Uluru. The walk starts at the base of The Climb and passes caves and waterfalls which had plenty of water after the rain.
At Kata Tjuta, meaning “many heads”, we walked into Walpa Gorge over the scree slope and along the rocks where water was running through the gorge. In the Valley of the Winds we went as far as Karu Lookout where you can look through the “many heads” into the valley or turn around looking back to the Petermann Range.
The weather cancelled our plan to hire pushbikes and ride around the base of Uluru. Instead we donned our boots and walked the three and a half hour (10.3km) track with stops on the beautifully crafted timber seats commissioned from a Darwin timber artist. When I asked if I could have one the park ranger replied, “If you can lift one you can have it.” Needless to say we don’t have a timber bench!
Despite the weather we got an awesome feeling from that looming rock over the five days we spent at Yalara and the wildlife enjoyed the special conditions too!
The wet conditions sent us up the tar and onto Alice Springs for some rest and relaxation in the sun. We’d walked a long way in the past few days.
NEXT: ALICE SPRINGS TO DARWIN
See you on the Emu Track
Cheryl and David