The tour included transport out to Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. Two nights and three very busy days. We camped in tents or you could do swags which was cheaper. All meals and passes were included. Pick up and drop off from your hotel. Knowledgeable and friendly guide and camp cook.
Day 1-Kata Tjuta
Kata Tjuta (a Pitjantjatjara word) is the name of one of the largest rock formations in the world. Ernest Giles arrived in the 1870s and named it the Olga’s. But it’s always been Kata Tjuka and now it has reverted back to its true name. It has 36 domes and is made from Conglomerate rock. It’s very different to Uluru and considered a sacred aboriginal men’s site and because of this visitors can only access two areas.
It’s 436m high (100m higher than Uluru). Around 550 million years ago the Peterman Orogeny occurred resulting in a big mountain range which came up 10kms high and was made from sandstone. There was an inland ocean at that time over the whole area because it was lower than sea level. So what we were walking on was originally the bottom of the ocean!
Erosion occurred and this left Uluru and Kata Tjuta standing. Kata Tjuta continues down under the ground about 6kms in addition to the portion on top of the land. The sediment layers (stripes in the rock) trend on a 15 degree slant, due to how it was pushed up when the Peterman Orogeny occurred.
The first people have been in this area for 60,000 years and are called the Anangu people. I bought this wicked painting from a woman called Marlene Smith. There was an intense sadness about her but she was proud of her work and explained what it was to me. She seemed happy I bought it. I told her I would put it in my lounge room and think of her each time I looked at it. That made her smile.
The painting has the following in it- Bush tucker- tomatoes, quondons, and bush bananas and two women (semi-circles) with a bowl (piti) and digging stick. Women hunt goannas for their flesh and eggs. The middle piece is a water hole. The word for women is (minma) and water is (kuppi).
Monolith- one big rock that is 338m high and 9kms around the base. It is 1.4 kms across the top and 2.5kms of it hidden underground. The climb on Uluru will thankfully be closed on 26th October, 2019. The indigenous people have been requesting tourists not to climb it for a long time because 36 people have died doing it and it makes them very sad that their sacred site is a place people die. They call it ‘Sorry business’. So they are closing it because people are too selfish not to honour their wishes.
There are interesting caves and paintings around base of Uluru. The Aboriginal people attended Uluru during times of ceremony or during nomadic travels. There was a massacre there many many years ago, and they ask you not to take photos of some areas or of respect. All photos in this trip report are in sanctioned areas.
Another monolith in the area is Attila (Mt Connor) which is similar to Uluru but it squares off and has a different feel I thought. It used to be passed off as Uluru by guides as it’s much closer to town. (Uluru is 4 hours away from Alice Springs). You can’t access Attila as it is on privately owned land.
Day 3-Kings Canyon
A great 6km hike can be done that takes you over and around the canyon. There is also a 1-2 day 21km option. It’s worth taking yourself down to the Garden of Eden, so lovely and peaceful. The walk is steep and there are lots of cliff edges and stairs, so not for those who have a fear of heights!
The area is closed when the temp reaches over 36 degrees for safety and National Parks has a compulsory 3L water rule, as people have died there from dehydration.
Yes you can hire a car, and wander around yourself. But the distances are long, sometimes 4 hours between sites. Also, with a guide I felt I learnt so much more than just reading about it on the signs. The people who guide these areas have a unique sense of humour and resilience about them. And just for that it is worth being around them and learning about their passions.
Thanks to Audrey and Kristy, such an amazing experience. One I will always remember!