Our adventure visiting Uluru was epic!
Everyone knows of Uluru, the big rock in the middle of Australia in the desert. We all have our expectations based on photos we’ve seen and stories people have told us, but nothing really compared or prepared us for how magnificent it was!
We arrived in the afternoon into Yalara, the town next to Uluru, that is an oasis. We were pretty exhausted from the morning hike along the Kings Canyon Rim Walk. But we settled into the only caravan park in town, setting up our tents in as much shade we could find. From a small hill top in the park you could see Uluru, but otherwise those pictures I’d seen of people camping with Uluru in the background, seemed like a mirage at that point. I have later learnt that there is a free campsite somewhere on a remote track, but it didn’t have showers. And oh my goodness it was so hot we would never have survived the 3 days there without them!
And flies! Have you ever travelled with two men from The Netherlands who hate flies? And heat? Well let me tell you, they are very funny. That afternoon no one had energy, except to swat away the flies, and to be honest there weren’t that many! But the next day we had booked some cool adventures and so we were looking forward with excitement!
First on the list was another early morning start. Fair warning that if you visit central Australia, you wont get much sleep but its so damn worth it, if your camping that is! We were up early because we were embarking on an early morning bike ride around Uluru.
We met the hire company at the cultural center just by Uluru itself. We were given our bikes, which for the men were a little to short because lets face it, Dutch men are giants. And I was given the best bike of all, not to brag of course, but I got a yellow bike! Smiles all round..
Once we were equipped, the staff gave us a brief run down of the cultural courtesies to follow. Afterwards he then told us a story, just to set us off on our adventure well. One time they had a family hire the bikes, and whilst riding around, the daughter was approached by a lady wanting to buy the bike. She had offered her $300! Of course the girl was a little worried and so when she got back explained what happened to the guy. He then told her that she should have taken the money, called him and they would have brought another bike out to her no problem. Pocket the money and we would have no idea.
Great story that got a couple of laughs from us and definitely introduced us to the country humour and hospitality. So off we went.
Now the bikes were ours for 3 hours but, also they can’t rush anyone, so really you have it for as long as it takes you to complete the tour.
And really what can I say other than, if you are going to visit Uluru then definitely hire a bike and ride around! Alex’s parents had in fact told us about this option and it appealed to us right away. Its hot, I mean your in the desert ok. So it’s hot and it’s a bloody long walk! 10km to be exact! So when considering the options of walking (hells no too many flies), driving (nice but you loose a lot of the experience) and biking, then hells yes to biking.
Your getting exercise, some epic views and everyone not on a bike looks at you with hatred, which we interpreted as envy. We were zooming past, cooled by the minimal breeze we could create biking in dirt and completed the expected 3-4 hour walk in around 2 hours! A little early in the day for beer but we would retire to the showers.
The second activity we got up to was visiting Kata Tjuta.
We went there right after we had completed our bike tour. We checked out a few of the lookout locations and then when to see what hiking options were still open that time of day. At that point in the day we were all pretty exhausted but the boys were committed and set off on a hike through Kata Tjuta. Meanwhile I sat in the car in the shade. We may not have taken full advantage of seeing Kata Tjuta, but the hikes sounded amazing. The boys only glimpsed a small park of a track but they enjoyed the views and really its just as stunning as Uluru!
Third on our list of activities was the Field of Lights. Now this was something at first we decided to do because it was iconic. But then after looking into it more it became something we were all quite excited to see. But I have to set the scene for this part of the story.
As you know it was hot. Like 46 degrees every day kind of hot. We were not dying but we were dying. And so when the weather somehow from somewhere began to cool down we could not contain our excitement. But for a full day it tempted us with clouds and the sounds of thunder, and no rain. If you have ever felt the pressure of the air just before a massive storm then you will know what kind of discomforting heat we were dealing with. Until finally there was a sprinkling of rain. We were so happy!
We were sitting under our awning just relaxing, because you can’t do much else in that kind of heat. And that sprinkling turned into more and more rain. So much so that when it came time to head over to the bus pick up for the Field of Lights we all donned jackets and long pants, because we were a little chilly. We checked in, got on the bus and drove to the next location to pick people up. But just as they had all got on the bus and sat down, whilst the rain picks up outside, the staff informed us that the show had been cancelled for the night.
Yep, we had been hanging for the rain, jumped around (literally in my case) when it had and then our whole nights plans had been cancelled. We were a little disappointed but also still really damn happy about the rain.
I guess you cant win them all. But we did win the rain, because once we got back and headed to bed, the rain just continued to pick up and we slept so nicely. It rained so much so though that the next morning everything was drenched. Our tents were fine but we still had to wait for things to dry up a little before we packed everything away.
We were happy to take our time, it was our first morning in a few days where we hadn’t woken up before 7am!
Visiting Yalara and Uluru, as well as Kata Tjuta was an amazing experience! I can confidently say on behalf of the three of us that this was an iconic part of our trip. You cannot fully understand the amazingness of the place until you have been there. You feel tiny but appreciate nature and for us, Australia all that much more!
Do yourself a favour and definitely check out Uluru!