Because I’m waiting for my new hub and new credit card to come, I’ve booked a three days tour to visit Uluru (Ayers Rock), Taka Tjuta (the Olgas), and Watarrka (Kings Canyon). That way, I keep visiting around even if I would love to cycle their. That tour is good because it includes everything: Accommodation, luggage storage and food. We also camp under the stars in swags and light a fire each night. Let’s start the visit!
The bus picked us up this morning at 5:45am. We are now on the road for about 4 hours.
Pretty quickly the sun rises.
I’ve done this road with the team few days ago but not that way so it’s still interesting to watch around :-)
First stop, the Camel farm. I’m glad I’m visiting this place because I could not on the way up to Alice.
We have 20min!
Houu the sun is actually enlightening the tiny golden camel on the top of that sign. Let’s have a closer look.
Looks great :-)
Our satellite, the Moon.
This owner owns this camel farm since 30 years and participated to the camel run. It used to be for fun at start but since two years the competition is becoming more and more challenging and serious.
That’s around little bus with 21 passengers in it.
Let’s have a look inside.
Australian Camel history
The first camel in Australia was imported from the Canary Island in 1840 by a man named Horrick.
The next importation of camels was in 1860 when 24 camels were shipped to Australia from Karachi along with camel handlers for the Burke and Wills expedition.
The first Australian camel stud was set up in 1866 by Sir Thomas Elder at Bellana Stationing South Australia. Imports continued until 1907 from India and Pakistan. An estimated 12000 camels were imported into Australia between 1860 and 1907 and were used as draft and riding animals by people pioneering the dry interior.
Central Australia used camels in the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line, the supply goods to Alice Springs, cattle stations, missions and aboriginal communities. Camels hauled wagons loaded with wool to the railhead at Oodnadatta, pulled scoops and ploughs in the construction of dams and they were also used as a mode of transport by outback police, mail men and priest.
Most of the camels were released in the mid 1920’ when motor vehicles began operating in the central areas of Australia. They established free-ranging herds in the semi arid desert areas of Australia.
Today Australia counts about one million of camels. They become a pest as they damage the cattle farms fences and eat the food of other animals like emus.
A camel waiting for another tour.
Back on the road.
This is looong and straight.
After about an hour and a half driving we stopped in a tiny road house for a rest. There is an art gallery which was good but we are not allowed to take any pictures unfortunately.
Tomorrow we will come back here and turn right towards Watarrka but for now we are heading Uluru.
Our guide, Bez, stopped along the highway to make us work. We’ve collected some wood for tonight and we will light a nice fire! We just need to make sure the wood is well secured onto the top of the trailer.
Nope, actually this is Mount Conner and the biggest toothbrush in the world, Bez said.
Those “mountains” are common in Australia and not considered as special as Uluru is.
Let’s continue, Uluru is 170km away so we could not see it from there even if it’s huge.
And more road.
And even more. Do you notice the changes along the way?
He he, this time it looks like we’ve spotted THE one :-)
Uluru is shy and I can’t get any good picture of it yet. This time will come soon!
But there is a bit more driving to do ;-)
Yes, there is!
We are arriving in Yulara. This is a proper town like any other. Yulara is the 5th biggest town in NT. There is a school, a supermarket, a post office, a national airport, everything! The only difference is, it stands in a middle of nowhere and aside Uluru :-)
We dropped some stuff in the campsite and have some lunch. Then we a gonna visit the rock and will come back here after sunset.
Ouuuh, here it is! It looks absolutely massive. Much more massive than I thought.
Before walking around we are heading to the Cultural center.
Which is here :-)
Uluru as a strong presence everywhere we are nearby.
Let’s have a look (no pictures allowed inside). There is a short film which trace Uluru’s history. It shows how come the white men took over the place years after years. The northern territory used to protect most of the land regards to the Aboriginal but the Whites bought pieces after pieces for farming purpose. On January 23rd 1958 the area became a national park called Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.
Uluru is 348 metres high with most of its bulk below the ground. It’s like an iceberg in fact.
I missed my shot but liked the colors ;-)
This is the Southern side of Uluru.
You get to notice the size of it as come closer.
This is huge!
Again, my camera is in trouble to catch everything.
Even panoramic is struggling.
In the aboriginal belief, the horizontal ‘S’ shape on the whole is a snake, an enemy.
We are now in a place where Aborigines came for thousands of years to draw on those walls. This place is considered as a blackboard and Aborigines use it to draw maps like where water holes are situated.
The circles represent water. When a rock is throw in the water it creates this pattern. On the top of the picture, in white, this “banana” shape with striations represent a belt. Aborigines used it to carry tools and other things with them. Those paintings are faded today because the early tourists used to splash the wall with water to bring the colours up. They did not realised they were deteriorating the whole thing…
We now come back to the bus to see another side of Uluru. It takes about 3h to walk all around and we don’t have this time to do it.
Let’s come back to the bus then.
We are now on the northern side of Uluru.
The tiny dark bit on the edge of Uluru is actually a person. The aborigines call them ants as they are often align behind each other walking up and down this edge.
This rock is so big!
This is the closest we can get to the rock and it makes us realised as tall this rock is.
Is it tall!
Let’s continue the visit :-)
Look at the texture.
And the colors!
It must be good to see that place when it’s raining and see the waterfalls coming down the rock.
We are now close to the spot where we can climb Uluru to the top.
Even if the Aboriginals doesn’t like the idea of people to climb Uluru there is always someone who don’t listen. 34 people had died here and Aboriginals feel guilty for that. Unfortunately, this chain is still here to help people doing it.
Please, don’t climb.
The “chain view”.
When people fall down, there is nothing to stop them and they end dead, without skin at the bottom of the rock…
Let’s go back in the bus.
We are now heading to the sunset spot.
The sky is clear so we are gonna enjoy a very nice sunset :-)
My camera is ready to catch the whole thing :-)
We brought a table, crackers, cheese and Sparkling wine to enjoy the sunset :-)
And we are not the only one. Yes, this is a VERY touristy thing but well, this is nice.
Uluru special effect :-)
This is almost the end of this day.
That sunset was great and we are now heading back to the campsite.
Here we are.
We are going to cook tonight as we are not sleeping in a 5 star hotel. Tonight we will sleep in a swag.
It’s basically a bag in which you put your sleeping bag in. That’s it! Then you can enjoy the stars before sleeping. Great :-) Good night! Tomorrow wake up at 5:00am again :-)