After dumping my backpack at the lodge, I drove straight on to Uluru. Somehow you get the feeling here that there is no time to lose, as if The Rock is calling for you. On the way up I stopped at the Cultural Center for an introduction. It has exhibits about the Aboriginal traditions surrounding Uluru. Like in Kakadu NP, I found these stories and what they involve hard to grasp.
Finally I came to the base of the rock. I had a strange sense of arriving at somewhere very remarkable, a WHS with a real Wow!-factor. The attraction is unexplainable however - it might be a combination of its remoteness, the heat and the striking colours (green bushes/red rock/blue sky). This is definitely a WHS that deserves Criterion no. vii: exceptional natural beauty.
I walked around part of the base, having a look at the weathered surface and some of the rock painting. Sacred areas are fenced off and no photos are allowed. Climbing the rock however is still possible and many tourists do it. ICOMOS, like the Aborigine owners, advised to abolish this practice, condemning the "intrusive handrail" and "endless procession of human ants".
Together with some 80 other tourists I waited for the sunset over Uluru. They even have designated sunset-viewing points here, with ample parking as if in a drive-in cinema. Watching sunset or sunrise is one of the most popular things to do here: Uluru is notable for appearing to change colour as the different light strikes it. The colours turn from ochre-brown into orange, red and finally charcoal grey after the sun has set.
The next morning I got up early to see the other rock formation, Kata Tjuta, while it was still relatively cool. Kata Tjuta (meaning: 'many heads', for its 36 domed rocks) lies 35 km west of Uluru. There I started the Valley of the Winds trail, a 7.4 km loop hike. It involves a little climbing and there are lots of loose rocks - not my favourite surface. There are also numerous flies, so you'll loose a lot of energy just swaying them all the time. It was nice to see Kata Tjuta up-and-close though, its domes like bowls of chocolate icecream. For real good hiking in this region, I can recommend the West Macdonnells near Alice Springs.
Emilia Bautista King (U.S.A.): When I visited Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the biggest question among my group of fellow travellers was "Are you going to climb up the rock?". Many indigenous people hold Uluru to be sacred and should therefore not be a place to climb. Others are pleased that Uluru is a tourist spot that brings in money. I decided to walk around the base of Uluru and found that I could take in its textures and colours just as well as if I had climbed it. What an eerie and beautiful place! Date posted: February 2006 Fin (Australia): When I went there, wow! I could'nt believe it. If ever there was a monolith competition it would win.
Date posted: August 2005 Klaus Freisinger (Austria):
The day I was there was cool, rainy, and foggy (and I had thought I was in the desert), but still the mountain exudes a magical charm and is a must-see site. I almost managed to hike around it, but it really was too muddy for that! At least I could understand why people from all over the world make such a fuss about it. Really worth seeing.
Drew Kimmorley (Australia): Hello
my name is Drew Kimmorley, I really like Uluru because it is a great place to visit and a great place to just hang out and relax. If you ever get home form work and you want to relax and have fun. Just head out to uluru for the time of your life.
Have you been to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park? Share your experiences!