Monday, July 31, 2017


What a magical start to the day today..  We got up in the dark to have a decent breakfast and headed back out to Uluru to experience the sunrise…  

Just before sunrise at Uluru
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) at Sunrise
It was pretty cold, we were all rugged up...
Sunrise at Uluru
Sun just creeping onto the rock
Sunrise from the sunrise viewing deck.  Didn't take long for everyone to go...
Ian and Kathy at Uluru
Steve and I at sunrise at Uluru
 It was pretty cool this morning so we were all rugged up.  It was quite a drive to the sunrise viewing platform, and I am sure that everyone staying out at Yalara had the same idea as us  because when we got there, there were people everywhere.  It was much harder to take photos at the sunrise viewing because it was a platform that everyone walked down too, which was quite different to the kilometre or more of car parking area where you go to see the sunset.    This made it a lot hard to get some decent photos as almost all photos you took had other people in them.    

The sunrise was quite magnificent though and we did get some good shots of the sun rising…  

Sunrise at Uluru
Beautiful sunrise at Uluru
 The walk back to the car was a little more leisurely, as we weren't in a rise to make it up to the viewing platform for the rising of the sun...
This is not what I expected a desert to be.  It is absolutely beautiful out here,  lots of wild flowers, shrubs, greenery,  and I enjoyed looking at the beauty around me as we made our way back down the path to the carpark...
Even this dead tree held a beauty in its shape and colour..
Sun just peeping through this desert oak...
After viewing the sunrise,  we did a slow drive around the whole rock.  There is something very special about being out here.  We finally parked at the Mala Car Park, as this was were the base walk of the Rock started and was also the point where you climbed the rock if you so wanted.  
A drive around the rock revealed a lot of the different etchings and markings on the rock
Steve had his heart set on climbing the rock.  It was on his bucket list and he was keen to do it…  It didn’t help that the man in the caravan behind us back at Yalara had climbed it the previous day and he was in his 70s.  
Steve sets out on his climb of Uluru
Ian and Kathy climbing the first part of the rock..
This was as high as Ian and Kathy went
Someone is pleased with herself...
Kathy was keen to get out on the rock also and both her and Ian climbed in until the rock boulder finished.  There was about 50 metres then of sheer rock until you got to the chain which then went all the way up to the top of the rock.  Lots of people found that 50 metres the hardest, as there was nothing to hold onto and I think if you had a fear of heights, it is this point of the climb that would soon sort you out. 

I took lots of photos of Ian and Kathy and Steve on the rock, and then Ian and Kathy came back and Steve continued to climb. 
He's on the climb up

 Even I had to at least say I had climbed onto the rock.   I was never going to make it anywhere near climbing up, but I did get up the initial part of the rock...
On the rock

He had no trouble getting up to the chain, and then Ian, John and Barb, took off their 10.5km walk around the base of Uluru, whilst Kathy and I watched Steve until he was right at the top and out of sight. 
Barb ready to do her 10km walk around the rock

 Apparently, when you get to the top, you have over 1kilometre to walk then until you reach the highest point of the rock.  There is a painted white dotted line that shows you exactly where to walk along the ridge until you get to the highest point. 

Views of the carpark from the climb up Uluru
Almost at the top of the chains
Up on the ridge
Panoramic views from Uluru
Following the dotted line to the highest point of Uluru

There was even rockpools on top of Uluru
The highest point of Uluru
He made it
Panoramic views from the top of Uluru
Panoramic views from the top of Uluru
For medical emergencies on the rock.
On his way back down again,
Once we couldn’t see Steve any longer, both Kathy and I took off to do the Mala Walk to the Kantju Gorge.  This was about a 2.5km walk and probably took us an hour and a half as we wandered into each of the lookout points and took photos..  Steve rang us from the top of the rock, and was describing to us what he could see.  He sounded a little puffed but very excited.  He totally enjoyed the challenge of the climb…  
On the Mala Walk around Uluru

  On our walk we saw some aboriginal paintings in the cave where the older men teach the young boys all about the aboriginal ways and culture.  We were told that this cave is like a teaching classroom today.
Teaching Cave
Aboriginal rock art

 Next we came across the Men's cave

We also walked past some sensitive woman’s areas of the rock, where you were not allowed to photograph the areas at all.  This is quite sacred to the aboriginals and one of the guides explained that it was a cave where the woman gave birth. 

 There was even a cave for the elderly people

Kahtju Gorge was beautiful,  sheer cliff faces and so cool.  There was also a waterhole in here, but the aboriginal’s can no longer use the water holes around the rock as they are now all contaminated.  One of the reasons besides people being injured or killed on the rock (the aboriginal people take this very badly, as they feel very responsible for what ever happens to people when they are on their land) is that there are no toilet facilities on the rock and lots of people who climb, just want to relieve themselves whilst up there.   When ever it rains, all the rain washes down from the rock, bringing all the sewerage with it which then contaminates their water and they can no longer swim in it or drink it.  
Kahtju Gorge

Kathy and I listened in on one of the tours that was happening whilst we were in the Gorge, and they had a traditional aboriginal guide who told us that this particular vine was used for spear making by the traditional tribe of this region...

This vine is used by the Aboriginal men to make spears..
Traditional guide sharing her knowledge of Uluru
After walking out of the gorge we took a break on one of these nicely carved wooden seats

Kantju Gorge

Steve was down off the top of the rock before we got back to the car park.  Apparently the climb takes around three hours, he was up and back in under 2 and a half hours.  He then headed out on the walk we had taken and met up with us when we got to the big wave rock.   We managed to make it back to the car park before the others had completed their 10 km walk.  

Ian was pretty tired by the time he got back so he was just happy to head home.  The rest of us decided to go and visit the Cultural Centre at Uluru.  This was a no photo zone, but we did watch a film on the Anangu Aboriginals and their land.  It was very interesting, and we did learn a lot about their culture and their way of life in the desert.  We then met up with Barb and John in the Café for lunch before we had a walk around the cultural centre and watched some aboriginal people painting traditionally with their sticks and orche.

Barb was in an awlful lot of pain from her walk this morning so they decided to head home.  You could tell she was in a lot of pain, because you could see it in her face as she tried to walk. 

After a good look around the cultural centre we headed back to our caravan also for a rest as we were heading out again that night

Steve and I were also on dinner duty that night cooking a barbecue for everyone.  We needed to have an early dinner as we had to be out the front of the camping grounds by 8pm so that we could catch our tour bus to go and see the “Field of Lights”

Visit to the "Field of Lights"
Ian and Kathy at the "Field of Lights"
What a perfect ending to quite a magical day.    The “Field of Lights” is a temporary art exhibition that is only set up out here for possibly two years.  It has already been here for 12 months and has been extended for an extra 12 months, so we felt pretty fortunate that we were going to get to see it.  Bruce Mutto, a British artist designed and made the exhibition.  It took over 2000 hours to design and build it in the UK and then a further 3900 hours to recreate it on site at Uluru. The installation consists of 50000 individually handcrafted delicate light stems,  and over 380kms of optical fibre.  It is his first solar powered installation and uses 36 portable solar panels to interface with the 144 projectors.  All the materials are reuseable and will be recycled for use in other installations.    It was amazing.  You just walked through fields and fields of coloured lights that would change colour every six seconds.   It was like being in the night time field of coloured flowers, and the photos definitely do not do it justice at all.  It was quite a magical experience and I am so pleased that we got to see it, as it is not something that will be around next time we come out to visit.

It was close on 10.30pm before we got home on the bus, so it was pretty much back to the van, and bedtime.  We were heading out to the Olgas tomorrow and would like a reasonably early start as Steve is keen to do the 7.8km walk to the “Valley of the Winds”


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