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 W├╝rttemberg.

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. What you need to know before you visit.

Welcome to the first part of my Uluru series. Preparing for your trip to Uluru is a fantastic way to build the anticipation. Leaving the coastal built up areas behind, you are going to be venturing into the remoteness off Australia’s vast outback.

How do you get there? There’s a lot of choices. Depending on your location, driving could take few days, or, fly in with direct flights from most major metropolitan cities. From Brisbane, Jetstar runs a direct flight, not every day, but at around three hours of flying time, it allows you a much easier trip than passing through Sydney, Adelaide or Melbourne enroute.

We farewelled Brisbane through the smudgy window of our Jetstar flight, as the sun rose on a new day.

The mind blowing part of your flight, is spending a couple of hours flying over mainly uninhabited land, with red sand, punctuated with rare long straight dirt roads, stretching as far as the eye can see, and literally nothing. The further inland you go, the redder that sand becomes. Starting off as an orangey brown closer to the coast, the rich red sand dominates the landscape, and is going to be something you become very familiar with over the next few days. You are about to be surrounded by it. I did feel for the resort cleaners, it must be a battle to remove this fine sand from the carpets and floors, as it does attach itself to everything.

In the photo below, you can see a couple of salt lakes come into view. There are some massive salt lakes out this way, more on those in future articles.

Voyagers Ayers Rock Resort has a number of accommodation options, from a camping ground to individual hotel rooms or suites. When booking, check the package options, sometimes there are good deals, we found that to do the tours we wanted, it was easier and cheaper to book accommodation, flights and tours separately.

Don’t be fooled as you fly in from the East, that first big projection from the earth you see is not Ayers Rock/Uluru, its ‘Fooluru’. Commonly known as Mt Conner. Watch out for further information on this formation in future articles. From the other direction, you will first fly over Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas.

Everything out at Uluru runs like a well oiled machine, from the buses which collect and drop you at the airport, to the tours themselves and everything in between. If you’re a person who likes to sleep in, I suggest you prepare yourself for some early rising as you will miss some pretty incredible experiences and sunrises if you don’t make the effort to leave the warmth of your bed.

Our trip was at the end of May. Superb time to visit with the desert heat being in the easy tolerable low twenties range during the day. Nights did go down to 2-4 degrees during our stay. And it is cold. Once the sun drops, the temperature plummets. But, if you have a balcony, check out this incredible sunset we were treated to. All without leaving our balcony.

Luckily we took our own flynets. These can be purchased at the resort (until they ran out of stock) but we found them on eBay very cheap, around $1 each, so stocked up prior to leaving. Luckily the flies don’t like the cold so they disappear during the night, resurfacing as the day warms up. Around the resort the flies were patchy. More likely at this time of year to get one those small persistent little ones who keep coming back to your face no matter how many times you swipe.

Leave the resort though and there will be areas where you are walking through swarms of flies. That’s when you will realise how important that flynet is. Plus you get very good at the bus wave! As each person enters the bus, the one behind waves all the flies off their back. Keep in mind too, those little flies much prefer darker colours, they didn’t seem keen to settle on bright colours!

Sails in the Desert was our accommodation choice for this trip. Located on the ring road that makes up the resort, Sails was clean, comfortable and had the added bonus of being an Accor hotel, for those Accor Plus members looking for discounts on meals, or looking forward to your free welcome drink. Wifi is available, free to a certain download amount each day, but if you are on an Australian plan, you will probably find your own internet connection quicker.

The rooms here had a small bar fridge, plus the usual coffee/tea set up. Amenities were interesting in the bathroom, with camel milk used in products like the lotion, made just for the resort. More on those camels in the next article!

Dining options are many throughout the resort. You can purchase your own food at the IGA in the town centre or dine at one of the hotel restaurants, or cafes, anything from a cook your own bbq to some very pricey options. We had a couple of meals during the week at Gecko’s Cafe, the first being lunch on the initial day whilst we explored our new temporary home. Great to see the initiative given to training for the indigenous and local youngsters. Service was really good, the menu doesn’t host too many choices but enough to cater for most tastes. Food was tasty and enjoyable, and the atmosphere over all is quite pleasant.Certainly nothing wrong with these meals!

When choosing your tours, we found a few which provided breakfast or dinner, some with drinks too, so we didn’t actually need to many other meals. Yes it’s a captured market out here and it’s not cheap to freight anything out this way. this particular week it was $42 for a takeaway six pack of beer or $42 for a packet of 25 cigarettes. If you’re a smoker I suggest you take enough with you for the week. If you’re a drinker, remember this is a dry area, you can only purchase alcohol at one of the bars if you are staying at the resort. They will ask for your room key to check before selling you alcohol. Those food and alcohol inclusive tours are looking pretty good now aren’t they!

The resort is a short ten minute bus ride from the airport and about 30 minutes to Uluru itself. If you don’t wish to spend money in tours, you can self drive, there are hire cars available, or, utilise the hop on hop off bus which takes you to my points around the base of Uluru itself and Kata Tjuta. At the moment its under $50 per adult to have a day pass.

The resort has a number of free activities as well. On our first day, we listened to the bush yarn given by the informative Natalie. She popped up in a few of the free activities and was very interesting to listen to. As part of the bush yarn, Natalie showed us some of the indigenous artwork. I’m featuring this one below as Natalie did advise the artist was more than happy to have her work photographed, providing she received credit for the work. Thank you Rosalind Dixon, I think its wonderful you allow people to take those memories with them.

I do hope you have enjoyed the first article. Feel free to ask any questions on this area, more than happy to assist in your planning.

Dine Live Travel is now offering an itinerary service. If you would like some insider information on the places we have visited, then contact dinelivetravel@yahoo.com.au or via Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. You can leave a comment here on the website too.

So many stories to tell from this incredible area! Keep watching!