Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park

by Petra Bucheli

Thrusday 4th until Sunday 7th July, 2019

After everything was packed up again in the car, we continued towards Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park. On the way, about 100 km ahead of our destination, we got a first teaser as Mount Conner appeared, a big red sandstone monolith. Shortly before noon we could marvel at Uluru and Kata Tjuta from far.

I already was here 12 years ago, but as Konrad did not yet see the Uluru we went again. As it was a bit too early to check-in our cabin at the camping site we continued to the visitor centre. We wanted to know if we can cycle around Uluru. But unfortunately the smallest bicycle was still to big for Jann and he was quite instable on it. So Jann and Kiara were rather unhappy as this means that we will walk around Uluru the next day and they did not want to hike.

Luckily I already booked about a year ago because the the camping site is booked out until mid July. Already at the Kings Canyon Resort the informed that it is fulld own here. At the moment there are school holidays in some states and thus many families are on the road. And a mom explained me that it is in Australia rather easy to get children from school to travel. They do it often while the kids still are in primary school. On the road when we crossed a camper van or trailer, they were surely 80% Australian and only few rented ones.

Already an hour before sunset we saved a place with view to Uluru. The sandstone monolith changes the colour depending on the sun. This was a magical spectacle. For a long time the kids could play with the red soil, stones and wood pieces. The last 20 minutes after sunset they were together with Konrad in the car and watched cartoons while I made the last pictures.

On Friday morning we put up the caps as the temperature was at 8 °C and it was very windy. Jann also wanted to wear gloves, but we intervened as it was not that cold. Now we got close to Uluru. We walked the Base Walk which goes all around and is 10.6 km long. Thanks to a few detours there were some additional meters. The kids walked quite good, but for the last 3 km I had to put all my song repertoire, nursery rhymes and mum-child gym rhymes to the table. It was interesting to see Uluru from close, depending on the side it has a different form.

At some points it was not allowed to take pictures as this were sacred sites for the Aborigines. It is also possible to climb the mountain, but as it is also not desired by the Aborigines and finally after trying for years it will now be forbidden by end of October 2019. Since that is know, the more come here to climb it. We do without.

In nearly three weeks Konrad is getting 40 and so I gave him already a present this evening. We flew with a small two-engine aircraft during sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta. To see this environment from the bird perspective was just brilliant. From far we also saw Mt. Conner and Lake Amadeus, a salt lake. The region is not that flat, it is structered with vegetated dunes and at the horizon we saw a few low mountain ranges.

Next morning we let the children sleep in. I was already awake at 6 o'clock and thus walked to one of the many lookouts in the resort. I finally got to the one which is the furthest away, but there was direct sight to Uluru and Kata Tjuta. It quickly got bright, but until the warming sun rises it still took a while. I enjoyed to have two hours just for myself, without the kids. When I came back they all awaited me strongly. I locked the cabin and thought it still can be opened from the inside. But that was wrong and all urgently wanted to go to the toilet.

The morning we passed on the playground of the camping site. The kids tried then to play mini-golf. Except for Larina they quickly understood how that works.

After lunch we drove to Kata Tjuta. This are 36 sandstone domes. After the many kilometers we had walked yesterday we only made two short hikes. The first went to a lookout from which we could see into the valley between two domes and the second one went into a gorge. Kiara did not like it at all and wept most of the time. But she liked the view when we were there.

Before going back we stopped at another lookout to watch the sunset. Also here the stone should get the red colour, but there were too many clouds. So we headed already back before sunset. On the way we saw the the heaven glowing red in the rearview.

The next day started already at 4 o'clock as we wanted to see the sunrise at the Field of Light. That is a light installation with thousands of flares gleaming with Uluru in the background. For the tour we got picked up by bus. In the field there was a track which we walked. After we got hot chocolate and cookies on the viewing site. Jann was a bit complicated as he stated that a real chocolate cannot be made with water. Well, my dear son, then you get nothing. From the viewpoint we could see how Uluru slowly got red by the rising sun. For the kids it was rather cold, but with 8 °C actually not that bad.

After we went back to our cabin for breakfast and to pack up our bags. This time it went faster than in Sydney as we did not have to decide what all we pack and what stays back. A few pieces of cloth found their way into the rubbish bin as they had some holes.

After everything was in the car, we drove to the biggest camel farm in Australia. Here life 70 camels which were caught and tamed. We could not do a tour as the minimal age was 5 years. But Jann and Konrad made a short ride on the camel back. On the farm there were also a few kangaroos, sheep, baby camels, donkeys, goats and a water buffalo. And there were many birds which came because there is water.

The rest of the time we spent in the centre of Yulara. At 1 o'clock we had the bring back the car at the airport and waited for the check-in to open. Close to us sat a family with two kids from Basel-Country. Our kids enjoyed to be able for once to play with Swiss and the time passed fast until we had to board.

The flight was relaxed as we had five seats. In Cairns we got a rental car. First we wanted to stay for five days in Cairns without car, but we changed plan. The car was for five persons, but our big luggage was nearly too much. So it happened that Konrad sat on the passenger seat with one of the big bags between the knees. Tired after the long day we were glad to get to the accommodation.