The Red Rock – spiritual centre of Australia

WARNING: This a photo heavy post – mainly because words can not explain just how awesome and moving this visit to the red centre of Australia was.img_2799
Although we were here for three days, put simply, you have to go there – it’s not cheap for sure, but overall the experience is worth it to be able to hear and feel the indigenous story of Australia.  Plus it’s also breathtakingly beautiful!

So, what did I not know before heading to Uluru?  Actually, quite a lot! So welcome to my photo essay interspersed with a few tips and tricks for your trip to this amazing place.

In summary:

  • Yulara is a village made up of a number of accommodation options, restaurants and all the people who service the industry live in that village – think of it like a cruise ship, in a remote land based location.
  • Northern Territories is a “dry” region.  There is a liquor shop in Yulara, however you will need to show a room key to be able to purchase.
  • Although you can still “climb” Uluru, this is now discouraged.  The tour companies do a great job of explaining why, and to be fair, there is enough to do and see here without climbing “the rock”.
  • Totally recommend doing a sunrise tour, the sounds of silence dinner under the stars, and the camel tour.
  • It’s not just a rock, oh no she is a beautiful spiritual mass of land that changes in colour as each moment passes – the gazillion photos of Uluru attest to her beauty.
  • I need to go back.  There is more in that area that we did not explore.  Kata Tjuta (formally called The Olga’s) called to me every day that we were there, and we did not get the opportunity to go check it out.  They are just breath-taking.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that time of the season would affect what your experience was like.  We went in the middle of “winter”, so the average day temperature was a temperate 20 – 25 degrees Celsius, and nights were satisfyingly chilly.  Due to the cooler temperatures, we were able to head out and mosey around on Camels in the sun without having to hum A Horse with No Name.

When you arrive at the airport (still called Ayers Rock Airport) it is insane just how red the earth is, and you can see Uluru from pretty much anywhere.  It’s also pretty quiet and very definitely provincial.  As we decided that for this trip we would not hire a car (we did something a bit different from normal and had pre booked tours, with transport included) we took the hotel connections.

This is where we learnt pretty quickly that the town of Yulara is one big resort!  All restaurants, hotels and associated services are connected and you can go pretty much anywhere and charge it back to your room.

On that basis, if we were to go back again, I would look to stay in one of the cabins at the camp site, or lower budget hotels. You get access to all the same tours/trips/swimming pools and restaurants, but you are paying a lower price for  your accommodation.

Middle of no where

Yulara is a self sufficient township that is working on having an ethos of sustainability.  You are literally in the middle of no where, and every thing you drink and eat, and any electricity you use has to come from somewhere.  We learnt that there are two road trains a week that brings everything that Yulara requires to sustain its self, and ships back out any waste that it generates.  There are some pretty interesting things happening in this area, and its refreshing to see how the township is working to try to be in accordance with the land.

Once upon a time, you could camp right up next to Uluru, throw your rubbish where ever you wanted, and you could climb all over the red rock … but that is so 1980’s don’t you think… ?? I like to think we have moved on since then, so it was good to see these billboards around.

Aboriginal history is steeped in this place, and I swear that you can feel it in the earth.  This place is seriously ancient, and for me it felt deeply spiritual – a  place that Australia rightfully could embrace as being the heart of their culture.

Seriously, this is some old stuff right here

We had the amazing opportunity to meet some of the team members that made up the cultural dance group Wakagetti who preformed for us at the Sounds of Silence dinner.  To discuss with these young educated and passionate gentlemen, the similar aspects of New Zealand Maori Culture and Australian Aboriginal Culture, and to hear their message of peace yet the deep requirement for things to change, was just mind-blowing.

Really, I think this made our trip.  Our time in Australia has been phenomenal, but aboriginal culture feels more like something put on for the tourists – to be able to get a little bit further than skin deep, and see the convergence of ancient culture into every day Australian culture, that each and every Australian could be proud of, was just amazing.

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