Slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen and slap on a hat. That’s exactly what Mo and I did this past weekend on our trip to Uluru! Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a massive rock formation located in the middle of the Australian Outback. Basically, it is in the middle of the desert! The Aboriginal culture is still very present in the area and it is still home to the Anangu people. The land was taken from the Aboriginals in 1952 and made into a National Park, but was given back to the Anangu people in 1985. Seeing pictures of Uluru and Kata Tjuta (a second massive rock formation 16 miles west of Uluru) intrigued me when we first started researching places to visit in Australia because of its impressive height in the midst of completely flat surroundings. It’s something that is unbelievable in pictures, but even more spectacular in person. One interesting fact we learned was that the 1,500 feet that we see is just a third of the massive rock- another one and a half miles of rock is underground!
The tiny little town of Yulara offers accommodations of all types, from camping to luxury rooms, while maintaining a very cultural feel. We stayed at The Outback Pioneer, which was the most basic option, but we figured we wouldn’t be spending much time in our room anyway. We soon set off for our guided sunset tour of Kata Tjuta. Kata Tjuta is made up of 36 massive domes, whereas Uluru is just one massive formation. The contrasting colors of the red rock and the bright blue sky was gorgeous! There were a few different trails on this tour that we walked before setting up some chairs in a great sunset viewing area to watch the sun go down on Kata Tjuta, while sipping on wine and “nibbles.” Mo and I had heard that the flies in Uluru were bad, but never expected them to be as bad as they were. Luckily, a couple glasses of wine helped us to not pay them much attention! After we arrived back at The Outback Pioneer for the night, we decided to grill our own food for dinner. We had the choice of kangaroo, crocodile, emu and steak and decided on steak! It was a fun way to relax and spend our night together, grilling and listening to live music at the bar.
The next morning we were up early for a sunrise viewing of Uluru and a guided base walk. The sun casts a beautiful glow on Uluru as it is rising, which was absolutely worth getting up early to see. We then drove to the base of Uluru to view it up close and learn all about stories of the Anangu, as well as different myths and traditions they have. We got back to the town just in time for lunch and lessons on throwing a spear and boomerang! Our lunch was great- the spear and boomerang throwing… not so much! It’s harder than it looks! We had a little bit of down time to cool off in the pool before heading off to our next event. This one was by far the best part of the entire weekend. We rode a camel to dinner in the Outback! The camel ride was so much fun and just something crazy we figured we just couldn’t pass up. The camel ride took us to the Sounds of Silence dinner, which was a special sunset dinner in the Outback with a delicious buffet, traditional Anangu dancing and stargazing after dessert. We made a couple of new friends, enjoyed good food and wine, sang happy birthday to a man at our table and had an absolutely amazing time!
Sunrise and base walk at Uluru
Notice how Uluru slowly begins to glow more and more as the sun rises higher in the sky. We might not have even noticed the progression of light without taking pictures to capture it! You’ll also see a picture with a grey “scar” that lines Uluru. This is the path that people take to climb it, but it’s considered very disrespectful to do so and they are hoping to close it off soon.
Spear and Boomerang throwing in Yulara
Our handsome camel, Tanami, was a sassy one! Named after the Tanami Desert where he was caught, he the only camel that didn’t like people to pet him. We arrived safely to dinner, where a half white, half Aboriginal man was playing the didgeridoo We had wine and appetizers (we tried crocodile on cucumber!) before heading to the tables for our dinner under the stars.
If you are thinking of visiting Uluru, you will not be disappointed! The tours and tour guides were so wonderful and it is unlike anything you’ll ever see. Just don’t forget to slip, slop, slap. And buy a fly net!!