(My journal entry from our visit in April 1999)
|Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock|
A Desert Oasis
|Thorny Devil Lizard|
Uluru as a Tourist Destination
|Spinifex, typical grass of the Australian desert|
|Sand dune with Uluru in the distance|
Sunrise Walk Around the Rock
|View of Uluru from walk around the base of the rock|
In the course of the walk we were introduced to desert plants, saw lots of birds (including our first sighting of zebra finches in the wild) and heard some of the aboriginal stories associated with the Rock. We had chances to try “bush tucker” (native edible foods) including a tiny red fruit called the bush plum and the so-called bush banana, which is banana shaped but more like eating the inside of a milkweed pod.
Our outing the next day was a hike and sunset barbecue at Kata Tjuta, an equally impressive but less well known rocky outcrop nearby. The Aboriginal name, Kata Tjuta, means stone heads and they do look like giant heads piled on the horizon. As we returned after dark, we saw an owl and a dingo in the headlights of the bus. Overhead, the sky was brilliant with the moon and Southern constellations.
On Sunday morning, after five days in the park, we flew from Ayers Rock to Alice Springs, a distance of about 300 miles.
[We were so inspired by this visit to Uluru that we returned three years later to take more photos and to research my book Uluru: Australia’s Aboriginal Heart (Clarion, 2003.)]
Accommodations at Yulara: On this trip we stayed at the Desert Gardens Hotel. On our subsequent trip, when we researched my book, we stayed at the Emu Walk Apartments.