One of the world’s greatest natural attractions, the rock (Uluru) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). The entire area is of cultural significance to the traditional owners, the Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara aboriginal peoples (who refer to themselves as Anangu). The Anangu officially own the national park and lease it to Parks Australia and where it is jointly administered (Lonely Planet).
First we went to visit the Kata Tjuta (means many heads), a striking group of domed rocks clustered together to form valleys and gorges. The tallest rock, Mt Olga, is 546m high and 1066m above sea level and about 200m taller than Uluru.
After a bite to eat it was on to Uluru for a champaign reception while watching the sunset. Nothing could prepare us for the great hulk on the horizon, so solitary and prodigious. It’s 3.3km long and 348m high and if that’s not impressive enough, two-thirds of the rock lies beneath the sand. As the sun set it illuminated from ochre-brown to a burnished orange, then a series of deeper and darker reds before it faded to charcoal – simply amazing!
The following morning it was a 4am start in time for breakfast and sunrise. We respected the wishes of the Anangu and completed the base walk (10k) rather than climb to the top. The caves, paintings, sandstone folds and abrasions made for an interesting and leisurely 2.5hr walk. It was 40 degrees for the last hour and the flies were unbearable (hence the self-made fly net at the Olgas), but it was so worth it.