Kata TjutaWalpa Pit Stop Tour

The very last tour for the Uluru trip, was a fairly easy afternoon walk at Kata Tjuta. Our friendly driver Adam collected us from the hotel and provided us with an informative commentary during our 45 min drive each way. Adam had worked out here for ten years so he was a fountain of knowledge.

The tour was small, not on a huge coach, so quite personalised. Adam stopped along the way at a lookout which was a short walk up, to have a fabulous view of Kata Tjuta. We were warned of the flies, and he wasn’t wrong! We had fought flies all week and become somewhat used to them, but, this was literally like the breeding ground for all flies, well it seemed that way anyway. But the view sure made up for it. Adam was right, this was worth perfecting the Australian ‘wave’ for.

Back on the bus, it was short drive out to the Olga’s themselves. Along the way we passed the longest shortcut in Australia. This road is 2800 kilometres if you traverse the entire Outback Way, which takes you from Winton Queensland to Laverton Western Australia. 1600 kilometres is dirt road and there is up to 300 kilometres between food, fuel and sleep stops. quite mind blowing facts and a trip you would need to be very well prepared for. Don’t turn down there by accident, you might be there a while!Kata Tjuta means many heads. There are 36 domes which make up this intriguing area, cover around 21 kms squared. The highest of the domes is Mt Olga, 1066 metres above sea level or towering around 546 metres above the desert plains, was so named by Ernest Giles in 1872, to honour Queen Olga of Württemberg.

The Armadus Basin Kata Tjuta lies in, was formed around 850 million years ago. Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta are formed with sediment originating from what is know as the Mount Currie Conglomerate, which consists of granite, amongst other sediments, with patina being the compound giving the orange-red hue Uluru and Kata Tjuta are known for.Many Pitjantjatjara ‘Dreamtime’ legends are associated with Kata Tjuta. The stories are fascinating, with a sacred area set aside over generations for ‘men’s business’. Legend foretells, women who become privy to the ‘men’s business area’ are open to violent attacks or even death. The Anangu people believe those dome formations are home to the “dreaming”s spirit energy. In 1995 they again began using the sacred site for cultural ceremonies.After completing Kings Canyon, this walk was really quite easy to traverse with marked tracks and easily walked bridges. Highly recommend you wear good solid footwear though, there are loose rocks and rocky steps to negotiate in places.You cannot help but be completely mesmerised by the sheer size of these domes, as you negotiate your way through the Walpa Gorge. Listen for the wind though, it whistles as you make you way through the canyon. Take some time to breathe in how incredible nature is, if you dont stop and enjoy along the way, you will miss the moments.

The entire Tour from pick up to drop off, isn’t more than about 2.5-3 hours, including around 1.5 hours drive time. For an autumn/winter afternoon walk, I’d recommend walking out here, its easy enough to be pleasant, yet with a little challenge and the added bonus of a great little spot at the top of the gorge, harbouring native plants and a grove of Spearwood trees.Spearwood trees are an evergreen shrub, growing to around 2-6 metres, with some yellow globular blossom forming in spring. They were not blooming today, but still, it is worth the walk. Remember to respect the Anangu people and do not cross into areas you are specifically requested not too.The trip back down is fairly easy, a few steps but just follow that marked path down the gorge, stopping along the way to take some photos and listen for the whistling wind. It is quite interesting. Especially when there was no wind at the bottom, yet throughout the walk, you really become attuned to nature, with the addition of that whistling wind.

After a short stop at Australia’s, most expensive long drop toilet, (oh yes you need to see this and hear the story, it is quite entertaining), it didn’t take long to be dropped back at the hotel. I’m not giving away all the secrets, head out to Kata Tjuta and find out for yourself, probably not one for the heat, but we had a pretty good time of year and wasn’t too hot.Check Dine Live Travel on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram as well as our other platforms for more information and photos. Thank you for following this blog and really do hope you have enjoyed this Uluru series. Some exciting things coming in the next week or so, keep an eye out!

Uluru – Day Four, Desert Awakenings Tour

Lets hope you’re not feeling a little dusty after indulging in that spectacular dinner last night! Our last full day began early, pre sunrise, as we were collected from our hotel by the engaging Jo, and transported to a sand dune out past the airport. Here, hot drinks and warm damper awaited us as we were about to witness the magic of an outback sunrise. Next, we would be heading into the National Park to the base of Uluru itself. Later today would see us venturing out to Kata Tjuta on an afternoon tour.

The biting desert cold night air which we had briefly tasted ducking from the warmth of our hotel into Jo’s All Terrain vehicle, now enveloped us as we reluctantly left the bus and trudged up the sand dune. The only noise in this expanse was the low murmmuring of voices which were occasionally raised to emphaise how cold each person felt.

We were only a small group, and the walk up the dune was not far. But, that little bit of elevation was going to give us a stunning, uninterrupted view of the sunrise, Uluru and Kata Tjuta.At the top of the dune, Jo gleefully greeted our breakfast cook who had an array of food including warm damper, pastries, fruit and hot water urns, filled with boiling water, ready to warm our chilled innards with a choice of hot beverages.

After loading up with warming drinks, everyone surrounded the gas heaters, trying desperately to breathe heat into numbingly cold bodies.

Its about now you regret being a photographer. Wistfully watching everyone else with one hand hugging a warm cup, the other either tucked deeply into a pocket or held out like a peace offering in front of a gas heater, I tried to encourage my unwilling fingers to operate the camera. It will be worth the effort of taking these photos I told myself. Ignore the cold, just do it.

The sunrise was simply magical. Soon forgetting the cold, you could not help but be mesmerised with the scene unfolding in front of you. Darkness was being tinged with the first rays of light out on the horizon, whilst Jo mingled with her charges, getting to know them and helping with breakfast.

With a gentle ease, the sun slid above the horizon, turning darkness to light as we thanked our chef and headed back to the vehicle for the trip to the base of Uluru.

First stopping at the park gates for clearance, we then drove on to National Park Land, home to the Anangu people. Don’t forget to organise your Park pass prior to arriving, it will cost a mere $25 for the few days you are here and the pass can be loaded on your mobile device for easy access.

The imposing rock grew bigger as we advanced down the road. Finally, we were going to get to witness this monolith up close.

Now Jo is one of the most engaging and heartfelt story tellers I have ever come across. Driving through the park she related stories of Anangu people and their beliefs. Listening as she told us of the history behind certain marks on the rock, you just could not help but be spellbound.

Eventually we arrived at the carpark at the base of the Uluru walk. The Anangu people ask that you respect their wishes and not climb the rock, however, it is open for walking until 26 October 2019 when it will permanently close. There have been many deaths resulting from attempts to climb the rock, dont allow yourself to become a statistical memory.

We had no intention of disrespecting the wishes of the community, therefore we did not climb, not even a short way. There were however a surprising large number of people clambering up the rock. Remember I mentioned the chain that Peter, the Curtin Springs station owner had installed many years ago? Well that is it snaking its way up Uluru. This is the chain Peter and four young men installed over the course of 8 weeks.

Wandering down the side path, I read the story laid out on the posts along the path about the Mala and Wintalka people, and the fight which resulted in a huge devil dog, Kurpany being sent to destroy the Mala peoples Ima (ceremony). Each story has a lesson to be learned. This one was to teach us that it is important to finish what you start and that you should watch and listen to warnings of danger. Rock formations are simply fascinating, and as we drove around to the other side of Uluru Jo told more stories of how these formations or holes in the rock occurred.

Around the back of the rock, every person in our group, including at one point a couple of cyclists who were passing through, were intently listening to every animated word. I was completely blown away not only by Jo’s knowledge, but the heartfelt way she delivered these stories, giving them every respect deserved.

We walked the path down into a little oasis of sand and water, tucked in amongst the sandstone rock forming Uluru. This peaceful area was heavy with spiritual presence from generations of the local community. A cave close by, had sheltered these generations in the past, and the drawings were still there from thousands of years ago.More photos on the facebook page and some on instagram. Simply amazing to see these still clearly showing on the rock face.The Cave wasn’t fully enclosed and one can only begin to imagine how difficult it would be living in these tough conditions, given our softer lifestyle now.

Our last stop was the Cultural Centre. You need to stop and wander through here, give yourself some time to do so and really soak it all in. Start from around the back and stroll through the tunnel which is cleverly put together, depicting community life over the years. There’s no photography allowed in here, so unfortunately I can not show how amazing this place is. But perhaps thats best left for you to find out yourselves.

Thank you to the Anangu people for allowing us access to this world heritage area. Your generosity in doing so is greatly appreciated. Remembering the words of Bob Randall, one of the traditional owners who has now passed, “We don’t own the land, the land owns us”.

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