Like most Aussies, I had the amazing Uluru (once known as Ayres Rock) as a place on my bucket list. But realise too, that few have had the opportunity to visit. And it is in the middle of our really big country, that’s sometimes a bit tricky, expensive and time consuming to navigate.
When the opportunity arose for me to attend a conference in the amazing spiritual heart of Australia (and hosted by the amazing Business Chicks) I jumped at the chance to go. For I knew both the content and the location could only be brilliant.
Our first glimpse of both Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Uluru was granted on the plane ride in to Uluru airport, and it’s pretty special. I’m not sure the size was ever really quite abundantly clear to me, until I saw it rising up from vast flat lands dotted with mulga. And it’s actually the Olgas site that holds a deeper spiritual significance for the traditional owners, the Anangu people.
For some idea of scale, it’s twice the height of the Eiffel Tower and three times that of the Statue of Liberty – that’s 348 metres high!. It’s 9.6 kilometres around to walk the base. Yes, it is a really big rock!
My stay was at the Accor run, Sails in the Desert resort and it’s not far to any of the viewing areas available for sunrise and sunset picture opportunities. The resort is great for singles, couples or families and has a pool onsite, along with a restaurant, bar and conference facilities.
Some said they felt Uluru to be a truly spiritual area and being there affected them deeply. I was awed by these majestic mounds of sandstone that make up both landmarks, oxidising before our eyes. Incredibly, both extend for kilometres further underground.
It’s hard to tear your eyes away, and long after we swapped our cameras for champagne glasses, we were dragging them out again as the light and colours constantly changed before our eyes.
A few of us treated ourselves to a sunrise tour with Ayres Rock Helicopters, and it was worth every cent. Our wonderful Venetian pilot Julio was a fabulous tour guide and took us on a 36 minute extended tour for fabulous photo opportunities and filled us in on fun facts throughout the flight.
Funnily enough, Aboriginal art also made a whole lot more sense from above. I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of the traditional dots and stripes style of art, but from above, it’s clear that this is exactly what you see. The dunes of a former inland sea snaked across the landscape and shrubs and bushes literally dotted the remaining space.
On our return from our flight, we headed to the watering hole area at the base of the rock that is a holding pond for water that pours down the sides of the rock during the rains and gathers at its base. Depending on the heat and the seasons, it can quickly dry out. Further up exists another collection hole that we couldn’t see, but is said to be up to 10 metres deep.
There’s a painting cave to visit, and a few signs along the clearly marked paths around the base of this amazing landmark. Getting up close and personal was a fabulous experience that will leave a lasting memory. It was only when standing at its base and staring up that it’s sheer amazing height and presence was truly felt.
If you ever get the chance to head out please do, or if not, make the opportunity happen. It shouldn’t be left to just the hordes of European and Asian tourists to make the effort to visit this amazing natural treasure and take home the pics. You owe it to yourself to see first hand just how spectacular this place really is.