Last night was quite hard to sleep. Only late into the night I realized that our campsite was next to the main drive way where other vehicles can drive deeper into the campsite. What made it worse was that there was a lamp pole shining directly over my face. We woke up at 5.20am to watch the Uluru sunrise at 7am. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is half hour drive away from the campsite. The actual name of this place is called “Ayers Rock Camp-ground”, next to the camp-ground there’s another hotel called “Ayers Rock Resort” for people who enjoy staying in luxurious places. Judging from their website, it looks like a completely different world. Today’s sunrise is still a distance away from Uluru itself, Leith said only when the sun goes over the horizon then we can have breakfast.
The sunrise wasn’t as spectacular as sunset because there wasn’t as much color change. We were all hungry and couldn’t wait for breakfast. Leith was boiling water in a pot on the gas stove to serve us tea and coffee. He also added olive oil onto the bread and toasted them on a barbecue grill. It smelt amazing and definitely tasted better than the normal bread from the toaster.
By 8am, we finished packing up the mess we made from breakfast and ready to visit Kata Tjuta. Leith said the walk is about 7.5km and will take 3 hours since everyone will be taking photos and there will be few explanations along the way.
I didn’t know about the existence of Kata Tjuta until today, I guess I always thought in middle of the Australia there is only Ayer’s Rock. It is also call “The Olgas”, about 25km east from Uluru. It is one of the two major landmarks in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. There are 36 domes, however from naked eye they look like 6 large boulders. The boulders are red due to the high iron content and the iron oxidizes and becomes red iron oxide. The highest point of Kata Tjuta is 1066m above sea level. it is 546m above the surrounding plain and 198m higher than Uluru.
There is strictly no climbing policy for Kata Tjuta. Aboriginal culture isn’t about climbing or going higher in life. According to Leith, Aboriginals are the only tribe on earth that never tried to wipe each other out. Their culture is all about sharing and people dislike showing off. That is why a lot of them today still walk with their head down and is afraid looking into reflective objects such as the mirror, since their culture dislike vanity.
There are different theories for formation of Valley of the Wind inside Kata Tjuta. The views were breathtaking especially at the high points, it reminded me of Japanese animation Ghibli Studio’s “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” produced by Hayao Miyazaki. Inside the valley itself there were no receptions, however midway through the climb, at one of the high points, Leith was sitting on the ground checking his phone. Seems like he knows where is the best spot to get receptions! The weather was around 33 degree Celsius, which felt quite hot especially when there are no wind. No wonder there’s always a temperature warning for people not to start the walk past certain time and temperature.
The national park graded the walk as grade 5, the hardest type of walk. However apart from few very steep hills, it was still manageable. I can’t explain how much I love the views. I will just have to show case it with photos. I can now understand why Aboriginals consider this place as sacred now. The amount of vegetation you see in this region is beyond believe, it is incredible how sceneries like this can be in middle of a dessert.
At 11.45am we all finished the walk, satisfied with our photos from the walk. A small track near the car park allows you to take a picture of Kata Tjuta like how it is on the postcard. Even snapping away with phone cameras, the images looked like Windows wallpapers. After a short drive we arrived at Aboriginal Cultural Centre. We sat outside and started preparing our lunch. Leith made us scrambled eggs and bacons and we did him proud by finish 4 dozen of eggs and 2.5kg of bacons. On top of that we even had potato salads from last night.
Aboriginal Cultural Centre was our next touristy destination. We spent around an hour in that center reading about Aboriginal legends and artworks. The most interesting thing in the center was a corner of “Sorry Letters”, where people had taken a piece of Uluru back to their home countries and experienced misfortunes. They ended up sending the rock back hoping to cease the curse of Uluru, some even experienced bad luck by climbing up Uluru. Overall it was an interesting experience but I wouldn’t give more than 90 minutes at this place.