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Wednesday 27 Aug 2003
Alice Springs, Australia

Uluru & Kata Tjuta

Wouldnt you know it? They have net-access down here at Uluru too... in a public library so most tourists wont know about it, and a tad expensive (5 dollars/half hour) but still I can update you on my experience down here at Uluru.

Uluru is, of course, better known as Ayers Rock.. and Kata Tjuta are the awesome nearby rock "mountains" better known as The Olgas.

Yesterday I arrived at Uluru around 3pm and my view as I approached the national park was breathtaking. Uluru is every bit as other-worldly as people describe. It looks like a gigantic meteor pock-marked with mini-craters. Rather like a large slab of red swiss cheese! I paid the 16.95 dollars for 3-days entry and drove on toward the rock taking off my shades so that I could truly appreciate the sight.

Its possible to drive right up to the edge of "the Rock" and drive around the circumference at the base. The rock itself is about 4 kilometres long and about 2 km wide so the drive takes in quite a diverse number of photo-quality views.. I must have started, stopped, taken photo, started again about 15 times over the following 20 minutes.

Shadows from the creases on the rock (caused by weathering) are what really characterise the "texture" of the stone. Obviously the bright red colour and craters add to the mystique.

I was just in time to catch the "sunset view" of Ayers Rock last night. I parked the car in a space allocated for optimum viewing about 1 km away from the rock. From here I watched as the rock changed colour with the fading of the sun; turning a particularly bright red just as the sun almost disappeared. Of course I cant watch it tonight again since Im busy here writing this goddamn diary entry!!! Well at least I have 2 more days left on my pass so got loadsa time to get more shots.

After the sunset show, I drove off to find my "camp site" for the night and soon found a perfect spot in the Staff Carpark of the Ayers Rock Resort. The staff apartments were nearby and they were even generous enough to have outside-accessible toilets/showers for any scabby backpackers who might be lurking nearby... am I lucky or what???

This morning I awoke at 4am! Yep thats right! I wanted to see the "Sunrise Show" too know what I mean? Again I zoomed off to the rock in freezing 4C chills and watched an entirely different performance take place. The colour-change was far more dramatic this morning and despite the time (and the freezing cold desert air) the sunrise view still managed to pull a large crowd. Id reckon even moreso than the sunset one yesterday...

After some brekkie I drove off to The Olgas. These are mountainous formations about 40 km away from Ayers Rock, but they are equally as beautiful. In some ways too they are far more awesome than Ayers Rock. The Olgas are essentially like "several smaller Ulurus" grouped together into rounded sections, between which small valleys allow streams and trees to flourish in the desert. Walking between the awesome stones (reaching up to 650 metres either side) is rather like walking through the valley in Petra.

Nearby is the "Wind Valley Walking Track" which stretches on for 7km in a circuit around one of the stones. I took to this track and 3 hours/100s of photos later I was exhausted...

In fact too exhausted to climb Ayers Rock, so Ill do that tommorrow (although unfortunately the local Abos arent too keen on people climbing the rock of their ancestors... still it doesnt stop 100s of people a day!)

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