Tremendous Northern Territory

Back into travelling, and even though Bali is out of the question now (passport expiry problems), I am prepared to make the most of NT, starting with...

You hear about it, you see postcards everywhere, but nobody can prepare to the feeling you will have when you see the Mighty Rock for real, upclose...

First of all, when you take a direct flight from Sydney to Ayers Rock (with Virgin Australia), you know that everybody in the plane is going to be a tourist just like you. So much for the unbeaten track... If you can, try to get a window seat on the left side of the plane, as you will see Uluru and the Olgas just before landing.
When you arrive, buses will take you to one of the hotels of Ayers Rock resort, which has five, from the basic campground to the 5-star hotel & spa. You will also find there a post office and a rip-off IGA.
Beforehand, I had booked a 3-day pass with Uluru Express, that enables you with unlimited travels for 3 days. Conveniently, it's also how long the National Park ticket is valid. So, on my first day there, I took a Uluru Express bus that drove us around the Rock, showing us all the sacred sites that you are not allowed to photograph, then to the Sunset Platform to see the changing of colors around Uluru. And as the mouth of the night is closing in on the western horizon, the shadow of Kata Tjuta are well drawn against the setting sun. Purely magical.

The night sky itself is fantastic. When I was there, the moon was almost full, but when you wake up early for the sunrise, the moon has set and the starry sky offers itself in full bloom. Shortly before the rise of the Sun, the first layer on the eastern horizon starts to match the sand around, becoming as red as the soil. On the morning of the second day, we went to see the sunrise on Kata Tjuta, where, surprisingly, people were more focused on Uluru, while everything was happening on the Olgas.

After the sunrise, we headed to the Valley of the Winds. The name itself brings mystical to another level. And the good thing, with Uluru Express, we were practically the first ones on the track. It is a 8 km long walk, with some difficult spots that left me a little breathless, but the landscape is totally worth it. I mean, Uluru is great, but it's just there, you can only face it, you cannot be surrounded by its majesty. With Kata Tjuta, you can. And I was really surprised how little tourists pay attention to the Olgas, because I personally enjoyed it more than Uluru, that is to say, Uluru is a beautiful sight, but Kata Tjuta is a beautiful experience.
After a quick lunch back at the resort, I went back with Uluru Express to see Walpa Gorge, which is a 1h walk return into a deep gorge which is probably very nice in the Wet. In the Dry, it is still nice, but too big to actually photograph well.
After that walk, we went back to the Sunset on Uluru platform to admire how this Rock goes to sleep.
The next morning was again an early one, as this time, I was set to watch the Sun rise on the other side of Ayers Rock.
you can even see Kata Tjuta on the left
And unfortunately, that was already over! Time to go to...

Contrary to what I thought, I didn't stay long in Darwin, so I didn't see much of it. I didn't go to the Mindil beach sunset market, didn't go to Litchfield, Kakadu, or Kathering Gorge NPs, but I have an excuse, as I would really like to enjoy New Zealand to its fullest... and for that I need money to earn, not to spend...
I did walk to the Esplanade and see the sunset which, like the air itself here, has a very asian feeling, with the very red sun...

And I also enjoyed a "Territory Grill", with Croc, Buffalo, Kangaroo and Barramundi (delicious)

Well, that's disappointingly all I have to say about NT, sorry about that...
See you next time!

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