Jim, Lisa and the World
A trip of global proportions
About Us (2)
Costa Rica (2)
New Zealand (11)
* Kings Cross Car Market
* The Red Center
* Cruising and Noodling
* The Great Ocean Road
* Melbourne part II
* Up the Coast
* Capital Good Times
* Missy the Beasty
* The Seperation of Wife and Mate
* Rugby, Navigation and Magellen
* It's a small world after all!
* Free! Free Falling!
* Attack of the Sandflies!
* A Puzzling World Indeed
* Surfing with dolphins!
* The Cook Strait
* Tangariro Crossing
* From Beaches to Caves
May 02, 2005
The Red Center
From the Breakaways we had about 7 hours to drive to that most alluring of Australian landmarks: Uluru (formerly known as Ayer's Rock). This famous site sits almost in the smack center of the continent. We made the drive with ease with the help of our campy book-on-CD that we had checked out at the Melbourne Library (A murder mystery called "Who Killed Bianca").
We had a running joke on the drive that any monolith we saw was the real deal, but we all fooled ourselves when we got nearer Uluru by actually stopping to look at the wrong one. The fact is there are other rock formations in the area - mostly all compacted material from when the area was an ocean 120 million years ago. I had thought that Uluru stands alone in the middle of a vast flatness.
The fact is though: Uluru does stand alone. There may be other rock outcroppings in the desert but nothing can compare to the great one. The funny thing is you almost expect to be disappointed by the rock by the time you get there: It is on virtually every Australian postcard, poster, business etc. Once you see it though it exceeds every expectation, every possible hype it shatters. It stands there as if protecting the land around it - the ultimate symbol of all of Australia. And it is gorgeous, different from every view and every light - as captivating as the largest bonfire in the world; I just couldn't take my eyes off it.
We woke early the day after arriving and went to the park for sunrise. It was a religous experience to watch the giant go from looming shadow to glowing in different shades of red to orange with shadows moving and slicing all over its dynamic sides.
After sunrise we opted to do the perimeter walk around. It helped not only to see the incredible variety of shapes and facades of Uluru but also to get an idea of its size: It rises over 300 meters (1000ft) and at its longest point is over 3km long (2 miles). It took us several hours to get around it stopping to visit several culturally significent sights - including rock paintings going back to the begining of civilization in Australia about 50,000 years ago.
Uluru is the name given to the rock by the local Aboriginal people and the name was officially changed when ownership was transferred back to them in 1987. Tourists are asked not to climb the site as it is a sacred place for the people.
If there is any rock formation that can hold a candle to Uluru it is its neighbor only 50km away and in the same National Park known as Kata Tjutu or the Olgas. instead of one giant monolith these are a series of towering red domes that actually reach higher and spread further than the mighty Uluru.
After two nights sleeping under the protection of these noble giants we felt a tinge of sadness in saying goodbye to them as we departed for Alice Springs.
Posted by Jim & Lisa on May 2, 2005 12:04 AM
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