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. Camel Ride to Sunset, the end of Day 1

We had an exciting first day, with everything new as we explored our temporary surroundings. There are some viewing areas set up on the raised sand dunes around the resort. From here you can watch the sun rise or set, whilst enjoying the changing canvas spread out before you. In one direction you have the imposing Uluru itself. In another, the interesting formations of Kata Tjuta dominate the horizon.Fantastic viewing from so close to your accommodation, with all the platforms an easy 5-10 minute stroll from the ring road, this one right opposite our accommodation.

But, this is our first fun filled day here. It’s been exciting, its been very long with an early start to catch that first flight, so how are we going to finish today? With a Camel Ride to Sunset. And this is one of those all inclusive tours with warm beer damper, bush foods, beer and wine provided at the end of the ride. Exciting!

By 4:15pm we were out the front of our hotel waiting for the 4:20 bus pickup which would take us to the Camel farm. In no time we had boarded the mini bus with the friendly Bella, who also turned out to be one of our helpful cameleers for the evening.

The Camel farm is located just off the resort ring road, an easy 5-10 minute drive. With anticipation mounting, we disembarked the bus and went through the shop front to check out our transport and sunset viewing platform for tonight.Well thats encouraging, not only does the camel look to be smiling slightly, he looks very placid. Or does this mean a bit of cat nap makes for a lively camel?? Hmm…

Our helpful cameleers, provided the safety information required, before dividing the group into the number of camels waiting patiently for their rider/s. Either two per camel, or one who sits the back seat of the saddle, not the front. Seated quietly in their two rows, the camels showed little interest as this new group approached. The cameleers were fantastic help and very encouraging, assisting everyone to mount their ride correctly. Starting at the back of the line, the last camel’s riders mounted first, with their camel standing up when instructed. This continued on down the line, until the cameleer took the lead camel. In our case, it was the friendly Bella who would lead us on tonight’s adventure.

Oh and did I mention, of course we were on the back camel and the first to mount. Positive side I guess, you do get to spend more time on your ride. Ours was Darcy, who’s name we changed to Mr Darcy, for the duration of the ride, purely out of respect of course. Tonight I was the back rider, with one in front, oh well there went those shots down through the camels ears I’d been hoping for, but that was ok, I could see it was going to be even more of a challenge, taking manual photos from this position, and still holding on. Challenge accepted.

Meandering our way across the farm, we had the informative Chloe walking alongside our camel caravan, answering questions as we slowly became accustomed to the odd movement underneath where one side moves, then the other. If you’re a horse rider, its not going to make any difference, these guys are in a world of their own.

They are fascinating creatures, as I’d discovered previously this year with an instameet at Summerland Camel Farm, near Brisbane. There’s an estimated 600 000 to one million of these guys running wild in the expanse of the Australian Outback. And yet, for the travelling we did in this area, we never saw one wild camel., and these are not small animals. That’s how big it is out here. Mind blowingly big, something I will probably keep reminding you of, as it really is incredible to experience this area of the world.

The sand dunes we were headed to, were directly behind the farm, not far, it just takes a while as the camels were certainly in no hurry to go anywhere. Mr Darcy was more than happy to lag along behind and seemed slightly peeved if he had to speed up at all to catch up with the line ahead. I think Smarty, just in front of us, was purposely throwing in some longer strides just to annoy the more relaxed Darcy.

Stopping for photos with Uluru in the background, you then head around the sand dune to come out atop the other side, in time to see the sun as it begins to lower over Kata Tjuta, directly in front. On your left is Uluru, which changes colour as the sun drops.As you sit atop your personal viewing platform, which moves occasionally as the odd camel fidgets or changes position, causing a domino effect to the back of the line, you cannot help but be mesmerised by the beautiful scene playing out in front, but also the silence. No noisy traffic highways out here. The silence is like a blanket covering the vast scene laid out around here. Describing in words the feeling you have on this experience, is impossible. You need to live it, but hopefully, this helps to immerse you in what it feels like to be atop one of these incredible creatures, as the sun plays a colourful game on the land, all coated in silence broken only by light conversation from your group and the occasional sliding plop of camel toes, gliding across the red sand.

Challenging to take a good photo with your camera or phone too, just as you have it right, your platform sways. Hence the photos aren’t as sharp as most.I feel the best days are those which begin with a sunrise viewing and ends with a sunset. For me, these are the two best parts of any day and a wonderful time for quiet reflection. One day I will have a house with verandah which allows for both of these special times to be viewed in peace.

As the sun drops behind Kata Tjuta, your helpful cameleers guide the caravan back to the farm below, where you dismount and thank your ride. If you’re at the back of the line, you will be dismounting last so be prepared to wait whilst everyone in front dismounts one by one.

Smarty, the camel in front of us, decided he didn’t particularly want to lie down again, which aggrieved Mr Darcy somewhat, as he was definitely up for another nap. Eventually though after voicing his displeasure and upsetting the other camels, Smarty obeyed and grudgingly dropped to the ground. A relived Mr Darcy was more than happy to drop fast, and he did, so he could rest his weary head again.After those final thank you’s and grateful pats, the blood flow returns to your legs, feet and extremities, which you may have forgotten about since you have been spending time in the unnatural position across the camel. Now you can head into the warmth of the shop for your food and beverage treats.

Lily was running the bar, offering beer, wine and soft drink, with a table laid out showcasing some interesting bush foods and that tasty warm beer damper. Relieved riders were more than happy to treat themselves to a welcome drink and tasty nibbles.

Take time to look around the shop, theres some interesting items displayed, including a camel Skeleton which explains their anatomy for you, a huge array of trophies from the camel races and plenty of options if you’d like to purchase a lasting memory to take home.

Thank you to the all the staff who assisted, your friendliness and information knowledge was fantastic. A lovely way to finish to with bar set up, it really did help everyone unwind and relax after their exciting experience.

An extra thank you to Bella who handed me the feathers in her hat which I admired on the bus ride back to the hotel. They were part of dress up for the Camel Cup Races we had just missed over the weekend. It sounds like an awesome experience and one day, might just be something to go back for.

Day One in the Outback is now done and dusted. Slipping into the comfy beds, after being retuned to our hotel, it was time to recharge those tired batteries for the big day planned tomorrow, a drive out to climb Kings Canyon. This will be a two part article as there is so much content to cover. Sweet dreams!

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