So one of the most "random" places I have ever been to has got to be Uluru, aka the red desert smack bang in the middle of Australia. In saying that, after being there, I would definitely say it is a must-visit during your lifetime, especially as an Aussie. Although you may think it is just a couple of large rocks, it is pretty different unique and even more of a must-go if you are into hiking.
|Uluru, Ayers Rock|
|The sunset at Uluru|
Return plane tickets from Sydney is approximately $150 to $250 ish, depending on when you go. The weather in Uluru is always hot throughout the year. However in winter, it gets extremely cold at night (4 degrees) while in summer, it gets drastically hold during the day (40 degrees plus). When I went, it had just rained so despite the summer, it only got to about 37 to 40 degrees until the last day of our trip which then sky rocketed beyond 40 degrees.
|WELCOME TO THE GREAT AUSSIE OUTBACK MATE|
When purchasing your plane ticket, a tip is to try and grab a seat on the right on the way there from Sydney and on the way back, try and get a seat on the left. Reason being is you basically score an awesome aerial view of Uluru whilst saving yourself a few hundred bucks instead of getting a helicopter ride of the national park. I assure you that the first thing you will do when you see it from above is, "oh.. is that it?" but just wait till you land and take a drive around.
|Uluru viewing point from Ayers Resort Campground|
After picking up our car rental, stocking up from the local IGA (which is pretty much opened 99% of the year) and checking into our hotel, we took a mini hike near the resort (approx. 30 to 40 mins away) to one of the viewing points. To get around, there is a free shuttle bus which goes around the 5 hotel resorts in the town centre of Uluru and comes every 20 minutes.
The view isn't the best but it is decent enough for being so close to the resort with minimal effort. After watching the sunset, MC and I headed to dinner at Walpa Lobby Bar, located inside at Sails.
|Cold meat platter, including kangaroo meat|
|Good old spaghetti napoli - $15|
After getting some rest, MC and I woke up earlier the next day, fuelled up and drove out to Uluru (20 minutes) to accomplish the base walk.
|Breakfast at Desert Garden hotel|
|Start of the Uluru base walk / Mala walk|
|Base walk accomplished|
The base walk takes approximately 3.5 hours (10 kms) so it is best to start early but definitely no later than 9 am as it gets pretty dam hot. There are also shorter free guided tours which start at 8 AM but since we wanted to do the base walk, we just went on our own.
Make sure you bring PLENTY of water and stay hydrated. I packed houseful of Hydralyte with me to calm my paranoia about my body overheating.
|Chicken fillet burger and fries|
|Meat lovers pizza|
After the base walk, MC and I stuffed our faces with lunch at the Gecko Cafe back at the town centre. The food as a whole, isn't anything mind blowing but given you are in the middle of a desert, it is surprisingly not bad. On average, the food at Gecko Cafe was approximately $15 per main which I thought was fairly cheap, especially as the entire resort / town centre is monopolised and it is a small yet touristy town centre.
|The crew in the red desert|
After lunch, the rest of the crew flew in and together, we took a visit to the other areas of Uluru-Kata National park and hiked the Kuniya trail (1km, 45 mins).
|cheering at the end of the base walk|
The base walk was seriously such an accomplishment! It was one the trail that started getting me into hiking. For those that are into hiking, then I would highly highly recommend this. There are quite a few sections where you can't talk photos or video but you can at least notice the different animal shapes that are formed by the rocks. It was indeed a pretty cool experience.
|Remember to slip, slop slap.. or else this happens.|
Next up, Valley of the winds and Kings Canyon.
From where you would rather be.