Day 17 – to Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Another cold night, but a lovely sunny day. We left Curtin Springs around 8.15am and headed for Ayers Rock. It was around 100kms from our Van Park. The road was excellent and the scenery again amazed us. There is ground cover everywhere and only sections of red sand dunes, but the red is such a deep colour. We believe we are seeing this part of Australia at its very best. Many of the shrubs are beginning to flower. All the trees – mostly wattle (acacia), desert oak (casuarina) and melaleuca. The ground cover was mainly spinifex and kangaroo grass.

Well covered sand dunes

The Olgas were the first we could see in the distance although it was a long, long way away, when suddenly we turned a corner and there in the distance was our first view of Ayers Rock.

Our first view of Ayers Rock

Linda and I then pulled out our cameras and took photo after photo as we turned corners or stopped at places where the viewing was great.  Ian and Jan. Baulch were also at Curtin Springs so we arranged to meet them at the Ayers Rock Info. Centre and arrange to do something together.  Ian, Bruce and Linda, and Ian and Jan. were all planning to climb the Rock, but I had decided not to do it. However, on the entry permit ($50 each) there is a request from the local indigenous people for tourists not to climb the Rock so we all decided to just do one of the many walks available. In the end it was the best decision as the climb was closed owing to strong winds at the summit.

Closed sign

The start of our 10.6km walk

We chose to do the long walk around the perimeter (10.6 kilometres) and invited another couple who were on their own to join us. They were Nigel and Susie from the U.K. It took us over 3 and half hours to do the walk, although we did stop for a while at the closed entrance to the climb and just look at the Rock, as well as stopping and photographing as the Rock appeared in different light at different points of the walk. We were all very, very tired by the end and had a most welcome late lunch around 3.oopm. We all said our feet were rather sore as well.

When we left Ayers Rock we drove into the Yulara Resort (a small township on its own catering specifically for tourists) and then drove about 40kms to The Olgas. Again our cameras were in great use. There are a couple of walks that can be done there but we didn’t have time (and definitely did not have the energy) to do them. The Olgas were okay, but nothing as impressive as Ayers Rock. Ian and Bruce flew over The Olgas 43 years ago and Ian reckons they were more impressive then — must have something to to with viewing from above because they certainly will not have changed in any way.

One of the many views of The Olgas

We then headed home and were back at the Van Park by around 6pm. We had seen a few lone camels on the way in, but on the way back we saw a herd of almost 50 camels just beside the road. They are certainly feral here in the N.T.

All up it was just over a 300km round trip. A long day but well worth the effort.

Love to all, Janese and Ian

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