The Rock

So off I went to Alice Springs for a few days to visit the centre of Australia and more importantly to go and see the one and only other thing I had on my (not very extensive) ‘must do whilst I’m in Australia’ list – go to Uluru.

Alice Springs was kind of what I expected, a small-ish town/city, with not a lot to do there. Although we did visit the Flying Doctors. As a tourist, any longer than a week and I think you’d struggle for things to do. But I did have a didgeridoo lesson…Rolf Harris is quaking in fear.

Whilst we were there they also held the Henley-On-Todd Regatta – a boat race, without water. In fact it was called off one year because there was too much rain. Apart from running up and down a dry river bed with home made ‘boats’. Amongst the highlights were sand skiing, sand shovelling and a bath tub derby. It all sounds a bit yokel-ish, but it was actually good fun.

We started our 3 day camping tour to the rock, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6am on the Sunday morning and after a few hours drive walked around Kings Canyon. After getting up so called Heart Attack Hill, it was a nice walk with some amazing views.

After a brief stop to collect firewood at the side of the road, we arrived at where we would sleep for the night – it was just in the middle of nowhere, no facilities to speak of. The good thing about that was that I’ve never seen so many stars in my life. Looking up at the sky was like being in a planetarium – (or is a planetarium like being out in the Australian outback?).

Our sleeping facilities for the next 2 nights was inside a swag – basically a big canvas sleeping bag which you put a normal sleeping bag inside. At this time of year it was needed as it got down to about 4 degrees at night. Getting to sleep wasn’t easy though as there were jumping mice running all over the place. Just as I’d start to nod off, one would be running up the side or across the top of the swag.

Next day we went to Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), which was an amazing walk. I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t looked into what The Olgas were but again, some of the views were spectacular

After that we went onto Uluru, done a small walk around the base and then off to aviewing point to watch sunset.

Uluru at sunset

A few beers where had whilst trying to pose for typical tourist pictures. We stayed at a different camp site that night, one with proper toilets and showers (I quite like roughing it, so I was disappointed I could get washed). Another early start the next day to see sunrise meant not a lot of sleep again, but seeing the sunrise come up just to the left of Uluru was fantastic.

My mum passed away 10 years ago and whilst I was at Uluru it was her birthday. So that was kind of weird given it was a big thing for me to be there.  To be there on what would’ve been her birthday was odd.  Even more of a coincidence that it was my friend who picked all the dates we went, without knowing it was significant to me. I’m sure my mum would be proud if she was still alive “look at the state of him at Uluru..Ayers Rock…or whatever you call it…” 🙂

For me, it was quite surreal being there, even now a week later, I’m still looking at the pictures amazed I was there. People keep asking me if it was spiritual experience or anything like that. I don’t know. I didn’t feel anything like that, but like the TV series Lost, I feel like I want to go back, but I’m not sure why!

Uluru at sunrise
Uluru at sunrise

12 thoughts on “The Rock

  1. That lovely red rock looks a bit like a lop-sided cake. Perhaps a birthday cake for your dear Mum. I’m sure she’d be proud you are having an adventure and living your life without (much) fear. Good on you!

  2. Awesome post, this is my first visit to your blog and what an intro! Uluru is spectacular and timeless. I would love to visit too. We had a cardiac hill at uni (Durham, England synonymous with “fecking hilly”), so it made me smile that it has a sister hill in Australia.

  3. Mice jumping all over you while you try to sleep? OMG that gives me shivers. That is like my worst nightmare. I’ll just enjoy the pictures from a far. I just can’t imagine anyone being able to do that. So creepy. Mice and rats are almost a phobia for me. I used to have nighmares about them crawling on my bed and wake up with my arms and legs flipping around as I tried to “get them off me.” LOL

    Great pics though.

  4. S.Le
    I’ve never thought of it looking like a cake before, maybe you have a point!

    Welcome Pippa, glad you like the post. My posting has gone very sporadic, but I’ll still try and blog. I’m sure there are many ‘Hills of Death’ dotted about the planet!

    I think in a confined space, of your house or bedroom it’d be a massive problem. They didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would though (I thought I’d be running around screaming like a girl).

  5. I didn’t expect much when I went to Uluru/Ayers rock (it was just on the way out of the way), but as I approached it/saw it/walked around it/ walked up it/ took pictures of it … it was one of the things I will remember forever. Your post brings back vividly where I was, what I was talking about, and who I was with while waiting for the sunset.
    It’s just a rock, but a pretty damn cool rock!

    note: the Olgas and King Canyon are pretty cool too!

    double note: while driving to Uluru, myself and the other people I was with got faked out by Mount Douglas/Mount Duncan/??? on the drive to Uluru from Alice Springs. (There is a mountain/hill in the distance before you get there) that look similar, if you are an idiot … or in great expectation.

    • planetross
      Definitely one of the things I will remember for the rest of my life too. I doubt I’ll ever be able to describe what it’s like being there (hence the couple of short paragraphs in the post)!.

      The rock that looks like THE rock, but isn’t THE rock is called Mt Conner. I’ve just looked it up as I remember seeing it and yelled out “There IT is!” only to be told, “no it’s not we’re nowhere near it!”. Pesky copy cat rocks

  6. My mum passed away 10 years ago and whilst I was at Uluru it was her birthday. So that was kind of weird given it was a big thing for me to be there. To be there on what would’ve been her birthday was odd.
    My dad has been gone 29 years – I marked off all the anniversaries
    5 years
    10 years
    older than him when he died
    been alive longer without him then with him

    Kind of run out of ones to commiserate myself with – I just stick to dad would have loved this thoughts now…

    On a much happier note the Henley-On-Todd Regatta sounds like a riot

    Where are the pictures????
    The results table???
    The story of how CS almost won the international division of the dry canoe 1500 metres but un-sank when you got dried by a Japanese tourist with an air pistol (totally illegal but allowed by the judges because he claimed he had Aboriginal ancestry and would claim his river back if they didn’t stop infringing his rights….)

    • BlackLOG
      Henley-On-Todd Regatta was ace, but no pictures sorry. Well, I do have pictures, just none to put up on here:p
      You know, we didn’t know that you could enter. It was only the next day that we found out anyone could enter and win $500, gutted. We were just happy sitting there in the sun, oblivous to the fact that we could’ve been $500 richer had we entered and won a race. There’s always next year…

      I know there was an american ‘ship’ there. I’m sure we could’ve sunk it with some misguided fire….

  7. My only real experience of anything camping like, was a weekend stay on the coast. It took me and my buddy almost 2 hours to put up a huge tent in the pouring rain and galeforce winds. You know you see these videos of people where the tent just flaps up and over the top of them ?? – That was us !!! – so I have to say its an experience I’m not overly ready to revisit. Although I do like the idea of sitting round a campfire with a guitar and and a BBQ. ( that’s campfire as in logs and stuff, not like “ooh you bitch” type of fire. Not that fires can be that camp really…..hmmm no idea where this is going, so I’ll stop now )…….I take it you can’t actually get up close and personal with the rock ?? – like to see the drawings and stuff that’s on it ??

    • Maxxy
      I feel your pain with the tent, we went to Glastonbury one year and thought buying a big 8 man tent would be a good idea. It was ‘ok’ apart from the fact it took us about 4 hours to put the thing up in the wind!

      You can get up close and personal to the rock. You can walk around the base of it, some parts of it are sacred to the indigenous people, so the path takes you away from being able to touch it, and there are signs up asking you not to take photos of that part of it. But otherwise, you can walk around it, touch it and sit in some bits of it where it’s hollowed out a little. And yep, you can see all the drawings etc. There’s something strange (in a good way) and peaceful about the place, not sure I’d say it was “spiritual”, but there’s something different about it.

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