11/10/15 From Erldunda on the Stuart Highway, we turned west and took the Lasseter Highway to Yulara, with a short fuel stop at Mount Ebenezer Roadhouse. We were off to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta, although to me they will always be Ayers Rock and The Olgas. I can’t get my tongue around some of the traditional names. Most geographical features in Australia tend to have both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal names these days so you can refer to them by the name that you’re comfortable with.
Our campground was located at the Ayers Rock Resort which, while it wasn’t the school holidays, was still half full of vans, campers, motorhomes and tents. The motel part of the resort was full to capacity. This place is a tourist magnet at any time of the year and there were lots of tourists about the place. The height of fashion here was a head net to keep the flies off. We’ve seen the occasional head net in use as we’ve travelled around, but they were everywhere here, and not just your standard black ones – the fashion here went to the fluoro oranges, blues and greens and occasional white ones. The flies were a shocker.
The first morning, we joined the free guided Mala Walk around a section of the Rock and led by a ranger, and were so glad that we did as it was very informative. Steve the ranger was very knowledgeable and immersed in the Anangu culture and language. And at one stage in conversation he called me “Tjilpi” which is a reference to a respected elder or uncle.
The flies were so bad at the Olgas we broke out our own fly nets (in basic black, though, not those lairy colours). Man, it was hot; a dry oven heat that dried your skin as it sweated. With temperatures in the high 30’s, we did the sight-seeing in the early morning, and retired back to the air-con van cave by lunchtime, to emerge again late afternoon when it was much cooler and more comfortable.
We took an hour-long helicopter flight over Ayers Rock, The Olgas and Lake Amadeus, a large dry salt lake to the north. Our stay at Yulara finished off nicely with a leisurely lunch at the air-conditioned and fly-free Sails Resort, and a few more drinks with a lovely couple at the next table who were just checking in to the Resort.
“100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in.” – Wayne Gretzky