Uluru/Ayers Rock

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We three days in the outback in Central Australia to see Uluru, perhaps better known as Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta/The Olgas and Kings Canyon.

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The road from Alice Springs was straight and led through a flat landscape.

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We made a few stops, including at a place where you could try a camel ride.

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We stopped here for a break and to visit a gallery of aboriginal art. The centre is owned and run by the Impana
Community about 18 km away. We bought a painting we liked and later understood that we had made a very
good buy. The prices here were lower than we saw elsewhere and the money goes directly to the community.

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We finally reached our destination, after a six hour drive.

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The members of the tour from the front seat.

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Our camp the second night. The cabins have canvas sides and roof in a steel frame with a solid floor and gables.

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The cabins had a double roof, to help keep them cool.

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We saw these tents at another camp and wondered how it would be to sleep in them as there did not seem to be any ventilation.

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We all had to help with the food, for all meals. The women worked on the salads …

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…  and the men took care of the grill!

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There are several walks around Uluru and a very good information center. No photography is allowed at the center
or several culturally sensitive areas around the rock. Taking photos there can carry a fine of between AUD 5000 and 6000.

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Our guide Adz gave us lots of information and told us lots of stories about aboriginal
culture. Adz like most Australians has a mixed background, and some aboriginal heritage.

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The rock gets even more impressive as you get closer.

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The rock surface seems like scales.

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We saw one tourist who decided to run across the rock. Walking across sensitive areas can carry a penalty of
AUD 5,500. Adz said that the guards would take care of this person, so the tourists guides did not intervene.

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There are some benches along the pathways.

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Mututjulu waterhole.

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Some rocks have lots of holes.

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It is easy to understand why the owners see the rock as a very special place.

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It is said that those who take rocks from the formation will be cursed and suffer misfortune.

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The teaching cave with ancient rock paintings.

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The plant with the yellow flowers is an Acacia hilliana.

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One very impressive tree is the Kurkara, Allocasuarina decaisneana, or Desert oak, which grows by the information center.

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Many tour groups gathered to see the sunset. Lots of buses and at least a hundred people, all drinking a toast  — a sun downer?

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Artists selling paintings behind the line of tables with glasses — and tourists.

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We left to watch the sunset from an outlook near our camp.

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The light from the setting sun gave a very special glow to the grass.

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A man sat below us, looking in the opposite direction, at Kata Tjuta.

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The sun set just as some rain clouds passed, which veiled Kata Tjuta.

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The rain clouds gave a special glow as the sun settled under the rim of the desert floor just to the left of Uluru.

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Our guide Adz took us the next day to Kata Tjuta, to walk in the Valley of the Winds.

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The path was well marked and easy to follow.

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These rocks have a different surface compared with Uluru. No scales.

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The rock was instead covered with small boulders and stones.

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The rocks were impressive, and some of our group through these formations were even more interesting than Uluru.

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There was a small trickle of water coming from the Valley of the Winds.

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We saw more yellow flowering shrubs. Adz said we were lucky because
there had been a lot of rain, and the trees flower only two weeks per year.

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Our final walk, day three, was the Kings Canyon Rim walk. We were met by this sign at the entrance to the park.

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The rim walk takes around three hours, and the beginning is the “killer part” – you just
climb straight up to the top on an rather uneven stone staircase seen in the background, center.

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The rocks along the path were very different from any of the previous rock formation we had visited.

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The rocks were in layers, each layer representing several million years of evolution.

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This white gumbarked coolibah tree has been wrapped in burlap — as protection against tourists.

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There were safety signs, warning to keep away from cliff edges.

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One wonders how the grass can grow at places like these.

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It was recommended to have at least 3 liters of water per person on the walk. It was sweaty in the beginning, and it soon became very hot.

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The walk includes climbing down some stairs, crossing a small canyon, and then climbing back up.

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A 20 minute side track led to the Garden of Eden.

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Most visitors made the detour to look at the pond filled with clear water.

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After the climb up from the canyon, the path was easy to walk and well marked.

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There were places near the rim that had small ponds. It had rained a lot the week before our visit.

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Looking across the canyon with a wide angle lens. There are people standing on top of the small mound in the center of the picture.

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A group photo in front of the bus, at the end of the trip. Adz is holding the camera.

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