Newest Review: ... all oranges and browns and stained by acidic streaks. To get out to the rock (known as Uluru to the locals) its planes, trains, automobi... more
Australia's Stone Henge.
Uluru (Ayers Rock) (Australia)
Member Name: thedevilinme
Uluru (Ayers Rock) (Australia)
Date: 28/10/12, updated on 30/10/12 (97 review reads)
Advantages: Beautiful lands
Disadvantages: Tiring jounreys
Writer Will Self said of Ayres Rock that....' in it's extraordinary majesty and baron location it sits like a giant counter in a game played by the Gods, clunked around this scorched earth to decide how the world would be...'
Australia's Red Centre really is that emotive and stunning a place and the actual beginning of creation if Darwin was right, the aboriginal tribes the first true human people of the Earth, the meaning of the world aboriginal. Just off the coast of Perth as the warmer Indian Ocean flops tiredly on to the brilliant white sand the country also nurtures some of the very first bio life, clinging to the rocks there, believed to have supplied some of the primary ingredients for life on Earth. Sadly, the Aboriginal tribes are still one of the most backward peoples after losing the battle with the 'grog' and the British imperial invaders that bought that booze culture to keep their original lifestyle. On arrival at the rock you are warned not to buy the locals booze and you may be libel to an on the spot fine if you do. Its pretty clear aboriginal people are not that keen on living a western lifestyle, road kill, a rusty old tin shed with a likewise windmill to lift the water from the sacred tribal ground more there thing. They really do eat Kangaroo like they would chicken.
It's hard to believe but the Rock was first officially mapped by a white man as late as 1973. Incredibly, 90% of Australia remains geologically unmapped, only mining companies interested with what's out there, the scorched land like the inside of a kiln, all oranges and browns and stained by acidic streaks.
To get out to the rock (known as Uluru to the locals) its planes, trains, automobiles, and Holden's, Aussies favorite car for backpackers, dire suspensions. The trains only go from Darwin to Alice Springs and so from the other major cities it has to be bus or plane to Alice Springs, Alice about 450 kms from the rock. I took Bus Australia from Adelaide and a grueling trip too, well over 24 hours after two breakdowns. One was in the middle of the night when we smashed a kangaroo to pieces and yours truly and some other male backpackers tasked to help 'pick the bits' out of the axel to change the tire. Our other stop meant we had to wait for a new bus and played a three hour game or cricket against the Aussies and the rest of the world passengers with the garage forecourt wall the stumps and a piece of wood for a bat and a ball made of paper and masking tape, the Ashes all over again. We lost badly although I cut a lovely four of a Bolivian school teacher.
The views are stunning out of the coach window and you have to spend a day on an Aussie bus at least one day of your life to experience the real Australia. Alas, long distance bus etiquette dictates that women get the best seats and if a Shelia objects to your presence you are moved (or manhandled) to sit next to the drunk for the duration of the Gibson Desert, as was I. Best not to hit on girls on the bus. It isn't like that old Wrigley's Spearmint gum advert guys! Aussie girls are as corse as an ABo's skin.
After leaving a red vapor trail of dust across the desert you arrive at the neat and intimate Yuluru resort to find your accommodation, the small town of inns, cafes and a backpackers just far enough away from the rock not to spoil the wilderness views, some 15k I recall. Be warned it's a monopoly out there and the backpackers hostel extortionate for what it is and as hot as the devils bottom after a curry. My dorm had 28 beds in it for $28 a night! Treat yourself to a double room if you are on a budget as you will need the shuteye. The hotels seem fine but most tourists are there for just a couple of nights and so a busy place, Ayres Rock to Australia very much what the Grand Canyon is to America and Stonehenge to the Brit's, a must see, got the T-Shirt tourist monolith.
You don't have to pay to see the Rock but the trips sort of cover the cost of the Uluru National Park by overcharging on the day trip. Remember you are there all day and so you have to get up at an unholy hour so you get the full benefit of Ayres Rock, famous not only for its uniqueness in its surroundings but its ability to change colors as the various angles and intensity of sunlight hit it. It does indeed change color but not enough to get excited about if you have just got off the bus the day before after a 24 hour slog and then you have to get up at 4am the next day and so it may ell be worth just doing the half day trip for the sunset only. The very early start is not only to see the sunrise at the Rock but the option to climb it, which has to be done before the sun really gets going, especially in the summer months. It is hot out there and midday can reach 40 degrees with no trouble. If you don't like the heat then go in their winter months between May and August as it pleasant in the day times and cool at nights. It actually snowed for the first recorded time there in 1997. The flies are horrendous though, human sweat a sweet delicacy out there and you will need to drink a lot of liquids to stay healthy, which, you guessed it, are very expensive in Yuluru. The climb is not easy and not for older people, one stage very steep and involving pulling yourself up a 45 degree angle with the help of an iron cable, this part of the accent that has claimed 35 lives over the decades, some blown off the top by the hot winds whipped up by powerful convection currents from the punishing high sun, others having heart attacks.
It is quite beautiful though and up close looks like it has been cut and molded from rich red clay and then set as it has various scrapes and spatula like waves to it as well as secret caves and shaded alcoves. One legend has it that children in the Dreamtime' did indeed build it this way. The Aboriginals seem to revere it as it is so unexpected compared to its surrounding badlands although there are other monoliths and formations in the region, like Kata Tjuta, a smaller Ayres Rock. Some areas of the park you are not allowed to photograph for tribal and spiritual reasons. If you take a piece of it as a souvenir you maybe cursed, tales of tourists sending back their samples to rid them of the bad luck that followed. I took a chunk, as I did from the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef. If you are adventurous and ant to see the whole are a then you can hire a Harley Davidson, the only ay to see the real beauty and power of the solitude of the desert...
Summary: The real Australia
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