Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day Trip to Uluru/Ayers Rock

Well, I knew it would be exhausting, and it certainly was! The Alice Wanderer bus picked us up just before 6:00 AM. It was a comfortable 42-seat cruising bus. We had two driver/guides, John and Craig, and only 10 passengers. John and Craig took turns driving all day -- they probably each put in 6+ hours! We were glad to have double seats for each of us to spread out and try to stay comfortable.

Our first stop was for breakfast about 7:30. It was a typical roadside petrol station/restaurant/accommodation. They had wrapped egg and bacon sandwiches for us, plus tea or coffee and orange juice.

The next portion was the long drive -- about 3-1/2 hours more. We had a stop for morning tea and biscuits (cookies) halfway there. The bus had a video system and we watched the movie "Australia," very appropriate.

We made a stop along the way where we all climbed up a small sand dune. We had a view of a false Uluru in the distance -- you can't tell from this picture, but the rock formation actually looks like a toothbrush -- a lower rock stretches off to the right. In the other direction there was a large salt lake.

John took this with my iPhone, panorama view
John in front of the salt lake
 As we entered the national park, we could see the big red rock clearly. Our first stop was at the visitor centre, where there was lots of information on the aboriginal culture and some nice gift shops. Then we went on a bit further and took a walk right up to the rock and a water hole. This was a spot where the people could easily hunt. They would hide out in a cave on the path to the water and wait for them. The young boys learned to hunt by hiding behind a rock and watching the men through a hole carved in the rock.

Path to water hole
Notice the dark hole so the boys could watch the hunters
Cave paintings
More cave paintings
And a few more
Dan at the water hole
We drove on and had two more stops where there were walks up to the rock. I stayed in the bus and watched for these, as the one to the waterhole was quite long, and enough for me!

Another cave
South end of the rock
 Many years ago a settler attached a chain so it would be easier to climb. Unfortunately, he was extremely short, so most adults can't hold onto it without bending over. It is a popular climb, about an hour up and the same coming down. However, the aboriginal people request that we respect their reverence for the rock by not climbing it, but many people ignore them. I suspect it will be closed at some point. Now it is closed for wind, rain, or high heat.

Walkers climbing the rock
After circling the rock by road, we headed over to The Olgas/Tata Tjuta. These are rocks of similar type to the big one, but there are many domes instead of one. Somehow I ended up with only one photo. The group (minus me) took a hike up into a canyon, which was fairly uneven ground.

The last event of the day was a barbecue at sunset while viewing Uluru. We were a bit disappointed; the views were lovely, but there wasn't much special about the sunset behind us. The rock did get darker and show more shadows, but nothing spectacular. John and Craig set up tables and a BBQ and cooked kangaroo and beef sausages and grilled onions. There were also several salads. They had brought all the equipment in the bus luggage compartment and the food all came from our breakfast place.

Barbecue area
Us and Uluru
Shadows at dusk
 The drive home was longer than the morning, or at least it seemed that way! We watched another Australian movie, "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." After that everyone dozed or read. I took a picture out of the front, which shows my view of the drive. We were dropped back at our hotel about 11:45. A very long day, but so worth it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please send me your thoughts about my posts.