Ayers Rock was Chris’ request. He thought it was going to be spiritual…instead it was more like Bakersfield with a big rock. We planned only 48 hours at this stop on the trip and that was 24 hours too long. There is one large resort in Ayers Rock with varying levels of hotels and a group of shared restaurants. We stayed in the high end Sails in the Desert, which was nice, but I expected a bit more.
After flying from Sydney to Ayers Rock and checking into the hotel we went on a tour to see The Olgas (aboriginal name is Kata Tjuta) and sunset at Ayers Rock (aboriginal name Uluru). I admit I was disappointed that we did not get to have much time at the Olgas as I thought this rock formation would be more interesting than the more visited Ayers Rock. We made a stop to take some pictures from afar.
Next we went up close where there was only short trail going into an areas between two of the rocks. I thought we would be able to walk all the way around, but there was not time for that. This was also where we learned about the dreaded black fly. These things were so aggressive! They would try to land on my eye underneath my sunglasses!
Our next stop was viewing Ayers Rock from afar for sunset. Rumor has it that the rock changes color at sunrise and sunset, but according to our guide, this one was a “fizzer”. While we were in Australia they were having a terrible drought and fires were burning all over the country. The Ayers Rock area was very smokey so this may have contributed to our fizzer.
I was hoping to see some wild life while in the Outback, especially kangaroos! But we never saw one kangaroo. What we did see was camels, and lots of them. Who knew the Australian Outback had so many camels. There are so many that they are actually now referred to as vermin and culling has been contemplated (I am not sure if it has actually been done or not).
The next morning we were up in the dark to get back out to Ayers Rock to watch the sun rise. When we got out front of the hotel, there was a fire!!! It was really close to the hotel and all I could think about what how I needed to get my wedding pictures out of our room in case the resort was gone when we returned. I questioned the driver about the fire and if we should go, and all he said was, “No worries mate.” Nothing seems to upset these people. I wish I could be this easy going. So I left my pictures behind and got on the van to go back out to the rock in the dark. We watched the sun rise, but it was another fizzer.
Now that the sun was up we wanted to climb the rock. The Aboriginals do not want people to climb it, but they took my $25 so I was going to climb the thing (only because Chris wanted to though). If they do not want people to climb it, they should not have a chain (or was it a rope?) going up it. The wind was really blowing though and they were not letting people go up…then for some reason decided to open it up, even though the wind had not calmed down at all. The wind is what made this climb scary because it was quite steep.
After climbing the rock we walked around it and this is where we saw the true beauty. From afar it just looks like a rock, but getting up close and walking around it showed all the details.
Chris is not big on taking pictures, either being in them or taking them of me so sometimes he dares me to do things I would not normally do with the reward being a picture.
The walk around the rock made the journey to the middle of Australia worth it. Once we finished walking around the rock we went back to the resort, and it was only about 10am since we started so early in the morning. Luckily the fire did not hit the resort and my pictures and negatives were safe. Now what to do? Well, we went to the pool bar of course. Too bad the black flies made it intolerable to sit outside. They were relentless! We wanted to buy some drinks to have in our room, but the store was across the resort and we would have had to cross the fire to get to it, so instead we cleared out our room minibar and played Uno.
Next we were heading back to the coast to the tropical north, home of the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.