Monday, June 1, 2009
Reaching The Red Center
The next morning we were out on the road again shortly after daybreak to cover the last almost 500 km to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, as it is called now a day instead of the English name Ayers Rock & The Olgas.
We turned onto the Lasseter Highway, and as we got closer we could see the clouds building, and to our amazement raindrops started sprinkling the windshield of the car – soon they turned in to regular, old-fashioned rain! In one of the driest areas of the world! Who would have guessed!
We made a lunch stop before we drove the last hour to the park and checked in to the campground. Luckily the rain had stopped, so we could set up the tents and get organized without getting everything wet.
Then we decided to make the last 20 km drive out to get the first glimpse of the mighty rock Uluru – as we drove into the park there it emerged – it was grand! And much to our surprise we could actually also see the Kata Tjuta on the horizon – they are about 50 km apart, but there they both were! I got goose bumps – it certainly is much more than just a big rock!
We proceeded out to the sunset viewing area and got out to take some photos and admire the landscape. We had made it – a long way to get to the middle of Australia, but so worth it, we agreed!
After having explored the Visitor's Center we drove back to camp and enjoyed a glass of wine in the late afternoon light, before heading up for the sunset view from the lookout behind the campground. We joined dozens of others taking in the beautiful light on the Uluru, as the sun slowly disappeared below the horizon painting the sky in brilliant yellow, orange, red and purples and setting the Uluru aglow – truly magical!
We had done some shopping while in Alice Springs, so we had an easy dinner of grilled chicken and salad, another glass of wine, and then we were all ready for bed! It was chilly but it had cleared up a bit, so we could even see a few stars as we went to bed. The sleeping bags were warm, and the tents kept us pretty dry, so we slept well, in spite of the damp weather.