Monday, August 27, 2012


I can't remember what time we had to wake up to meet the bus for the Sun Rise Tour, but I do remember it was really cold, there were a lot of people waiting to get on a succession of coaches for the same tour, and it was pitch black outside. And -1C. We had booked our tour quite late as I couldn't remember if we had booked it previously, whereas I had booked one of the same flights twice. Oops. But no, nothing was booked. We thought the sun rise tour with the walk around the base of the rock sounded nice, with a little bit of morning exercise to explore the area, but there was only one seat left. So we opted for one that included the sun rise viewing across the rock but then shuttled us to Kata Tjuta, which had promising reviews (mum loves and goes by the reviews). There seemed to be a bit of confusion as to which bus we were meant to get on (one tour guide said none of the morning tours go to Kata Tjuta) so we finally got up to the front of the line to where the woman stood with the clipboard, found our name, and pointed us onto a bus. Relieved we hadn't been forgotten about, we chose our favourite bus seats and cuddled in our sweatshirts and wrapped scarves across our legs.

 Bus by bus left as we picked up other passengers in the different hotels amongst the resort and then we were on our way to the viewing area in the national park. Because it is a national park, we had to buy an entrance pass which being on a bus tour (most everything in the area required a bus tour) meant just holding the piece of paper ticket up to the window to some lone soul in a booth two lanes away who waved us through. Very strict and regulated. When we arrived, we were greeted by long folding tables with packets of duo-cookies and hot water for coffee or tea. The hot beverages, the sugary early breakfast, nor the 6 layers I was wearing could possibly warm me up. We followed the crowds up the paths to the different viewing areas and found our spot for the show. However, I was too cold and kept having to move locations - not that the view changed much, we were still a few kilometres away. Mum and I both thought or envisioned the sun rise coming up from behind the rock, but I suppose that doesn't visually make sense.

There were quite a few people there, by which I mean a lot, but we managed to get in some good photos that don't make it seem so overwhelmingly touristy.
The sun was set to rise at 7:20 and we had to be back on the bus by 7:25. To be honest, the colours weren't as fabulous as promised or previously seen on all those postcards. It felt more as though we were waiting for some miraculous sunlight to hit the rock and beam sun rays as the rock changed all sorts of colours and the sky lit up. But that didn't happen. Because we were so cold, it almost felt as though we were waiting for 7:20 to happen so we could scurry back to the warmth of the bus. It was definitely a pleasure to witness, but there was no great spectacle, no life-changing ah-ha moment, no climax. So we scurried back to the warmth of the bus where we found the rest of the group waiting for us. How we were last back, I haven't a clue. Maybe everyone else felt the same about the sunrise rock show.

We thought we were off to Kata Tjuta but there was no such trip. Instead, we went to the base of Uluru where we saw where crazy people can climb up it and risk falling or a fatal heart attack back at the hotel; we saw all the shapes and contours of the rock that tell ancient Aboriginal stories; we drove around the area that is forbidden for photos and videos to be taken as it is sacred, yet the Italian couple in front of us either didn't understand or didn't care and filmed the whole thing; then we got out of the bus and went to a watering hole and saw Aboriginal art painted on the rocks. There was a lot of history and a lot of stories, but it was freezing cold and completely uncomfortable. It would have been nice to see Kata Tjuta for something different, but we learned more about Uluru on this trip. Plus, a walking tour at those arctic-desert temperatures would have been way more disagreeable. 
 It would be cool, I could imagine, and if you were so inclined, to spend a couple days in the area and really get to hike and explore all the rocks and natural formations in the surrounding national parks. But the average trip to Uluru is 1.6 days. I imagine the average tourist is not that fit or so inclined.
mum is so tiny!

teenie tiny!

that silver line? that's the walking path up...

the art work is faded b/c way back when, the cameras were black and white so they would throw water onto the rock just as the camera flashed to capture the images...

underneath a little shelter, still not warm.

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