A place called Uluru

While growing up, regular visitors from Australia ensured that at least one item in the touristy souvenirs brought over as presents to our house had a graphic of Uluru in the background (think – 80’s style table clothes, wall hangers, pens and those snow-flakes in water thingys!). It’s of course, also known as Ayers Rock but I’m a firm supporter of calling a place by its native name. (Its not Adam’s bridge alrighttt. Ram & Hanuman made the bloody thing all the way to Sri Lanka. So screw you, Adam!)

Rainy & green - Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park!

Rainy & green – Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park!

Yeah so I had always known about the existence of it but to be honest – I never really had any desire to visit it nor that it was in my bucket list or anything but as I do, I decided to do Uluru in December 2008. It was a purely coincidental decision. I was meeting a friend in Cairns for NYE and we were going to spend a week just bumming on the beach. At the last minute she had to postpone her dates which errr..meant I didn’t have anything to do for NYE. At that time, I had been living in Sydney for about 6 years and I didn’t want to watch another set of fireworks on the Harbour. As the Universe would have it, I had to use some of my frequent flyer points before they expired on the 31st and the only place I could go at that time of the year on my points was – you guessed it Uluru via Alice Springs (I can now technically say that I’ve been to Alice Springs, too; I spent a total of 5 hours there waiting for a connecting flight)!

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Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

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Kata Tjuta from a distance.

3 days and 2 nights is a looong time in the outback. Apart from visiting the Kata Tjuta and Uluru itself, I believe watched a fair bit of TV in my room in between, too! Because I did this trip some years back, any tips etc. would probably be outdated. Nevertheless unless you are driving, you will have to take a tour package to both Kata Tjuta and Uluru as they are deep in the reserve and they are not cheap. Accommodation would probably be one of the 5 hotels in the ‘compound’ unless you’re staying at that fancy tent-style hotel that I drooled and drooled over but still couldn’t afford.

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Changing light on Uluru.

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Changing light on Uluru.

One thing I would recommend though if you can afford to splurge is to go on the Sounds of Silence dinner. I splurged on NYE, took the plunge and went solo on that dinner. The experience was priceless. Lessons learnt and reflected on that night still remain some of my top life lessons to date. I sat with some wonderful people from different parts of the globe for dinner that night and ended up counting down the new year at the compound’s backpacker hotel with some newly-made friends!

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Natural rock formation on Uluru

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Natural rock formation in morning light

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Water pool at the bottom and around Uluru.

Uluru in mid-morning light.

Uluru in mid-morning light.

I think this was the turning point of my traveling life. Suddenly this not-planned-detour-on-the-way-to-Cairns-because-I-have-to-use-my-ffpoints trip became a really important one. I realized that to travel somewhere, you can be your best company. To eat some of the finest foods on this planet, the palate has to be yours and the pleasure only your own. Unless you can be truly happy eating an ice-cream while watching a sunset by yourself, you are no good to any relationship that you are in life.

I realized that to travel somewhere, you can be your best company. To eat some of the finest foods on this planet, the palate has to be yours and the pleasure only your own. Unless you can be truly happy eating an ice-cream while watching a sunset by yourself, you are no good to any relationship that you are in life.

At times I wish I had visited the place a bit later in life to truly enjoy its beauty but sometimes the Universe chooses its classrooms in a bizarre way just so you don’t anticipate what’s about to hit you!

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Sunset over the Uluru-Kata Tujata National Reserve Park.

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Sipping champagne watching the sunset over Uluru on New Year’s Eve – Priceless! Sounds of Silence Dinner, 2008

It was an interesting time to visit, the desert hadn’t received as much rain as it had then in years (which explains why everything in my photos is so green!) and there was even a few rain drops felt at the Sounds of Silence dinner that night! Rain in the desert..of course it had to be..I was visiting! (which according to my mother is always a good omen 🙂 )

Uluru, Australia – 31/12/2008

Experience rain in a desert! – 31/12/2008

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