The next stop along our outback adventure was another 300 kilometers away, this time via sweet smooth sealed roads (pure bliss after two days of off-roading). Ladies and gentlemen… the moment you’ve all been waiting for… I present to you… The Rock!
This massive sandstone monolith, known as Ayer’s Rock or Uluru to the Aboriginal Anangu people, its traditional owners, is one of Australia’s most recognizable natural wonders and represents the heart of Australia’s red centre.
Our first glimpse of the rock was at the Sounds of Silence dinner, a candlelit dining experience under the stars in the middle of the desert atop a lone sand dune with an “uninterrupted, three hundred and sixty degree view of this vast landscape.”
After dinner, a startalker took us on a tour of the southern sky. In this photo you can see Uluru under the Southern Cross constellation, visible only from down under! But Uluru is most magical under the gorgeous desert sunrises and sunsets:
We made sure to catch every sunrise and set during our outback adventure. We even took the opportunity to ride into the sunset at the head of this camel train:
From our camel we could see, off in the distance, the silhouette of Kata Tjuta (aka The Olgas), 30 km west of Uluru. Together, these two natural wonders make up the World Heritage Site of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
The Olgas are a less well known but equally spectacular feature in this otherwise featureless landscape. It is a collection of 36 large domed rock formations made from what appears to be a conglomerate of different rocks glued together.
Viewing these majestic features from afar is one thing, but to truly experience them we had to grab our hiking boots and hit the trails. Our favourite hike was the Valley of Winds walk among the humbling domes of Kata Tjuta, offering us some fantastic views and photo opportunities:
And of course, our trip would not be complete without the breathtaking climb up the steep slopes of Uluru:
From the top, we were awarded with some amazing and dizzying views.