Australia: NT: Uluru and Kata Tjuta Nat. Park: 07-08/05/04: to climb or not to climb!

Uluru, this is what everybody knows about Australia: “the” picture/postcard of Australia. And, eventhough I saw it already so many times, to see it in real life is still impressive. Difficult to say with words.

Driving to Uluru was different. You all of a sudden notice more cars on the road. A lot of people fly in to Alice Springs and rent a car from there. And you see the difference: they don’t know “the drivers’ salute”.

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There is an entrance fee at the national park. Actually, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) are on Aboriginal Land. But it is leased back to the Director of National Parks for 99 years, and 20% of the entrance fee goes to the aboriginals.
Eventhough there are so many tourists, you don’t actually notice it that much. The NP is very big and you can do several walks and visits and of course … “the climb” (as they call it). There is this whole discussion on whether you can climb or not. Anyway, after having read several things, I didn’t
climb.

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I did all the different walks in the NP. By walking around it, you notice that the rock is not all that smooth: there are caves, holes, ridges, … in it (a lot of them are sacred places).

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And of course, I stayed for the sunset. It really changes colour all the time. This sunset is a whole circus almost. There is a hughe parkinglot at the sunset lookout place. Already a few hours before the actual sunset, people arrive and start taking out picnic tables and chairs and wait untill “the” moment. And after the sunset, there is this whole parade of cars driving out of the park.

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I stayed overnight in Yulara, which is an artificial village to cater for all the tourists with extensive high prices of course. But the campground was OK.
The next day, I brought a visit to the Olgas (Kata Tjuta): they are a whole bunch of rocks about 50 km from Uluru: actually, the highest rock is taller than Uluru. I absolutely enjoyed the walk “Valley of the winds”: I was almost alone on the track: it was so quiet and peacefull and the views were fabulous.

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