Thursday, July 05, 2007

Uluru, King's Canyon, Palm Valley

Just a quickie so you all know that I am alive! Just had a marvellous four days.

Sunday morning left Alice Springs before sunrise, with the moon hanging in the sky. Long day's drive to Uluru for sunset with all the other tourists. We had chips and dip on a chilly bin as befits backpackers, while nearby others sipped wine in tall stemmed glasses, with their nibbles on white tablecloths and tables.

Nearly our whole tour group opted for swags under the stars. I was glad to find my sleeping bag with long johns kept me warm enough, though I gather it was colder last week. Oh, and yes, we all slept with hats on too. Quite a sight.

Monday morning we arose early so we were walking around the base of Uluru before sunrise. Amazing what a difference the sun makes to its colour, which is only skin deep I learned. The actual colour of of the rock is grey, but windblown iron from WA, plus rain plus bacteria produces the red colour. At the Uluru cultural centre I watched a demo for a while as some women from the local Aboriginal tribe extracted seeds from some grasses they had collected. What a laborious, time consuming job: really drove home how hard it is to live in this area.

Tuesday morning was the highlight - climbing King's Canyon. I am quite unfit after several months of study munching on chocolate.... so the uphill bit I took very slowly, puffing hard. But the guide stayed behind me and I made it. Well worth it for the exquisite views we had as walked the rim of the canyon before descending on a far more gentle slope.

The rest of that day and then Wednesday were really interesting as we explored various water holes and gorges. Spent the night at Glen Helen and enjoyed some quiet time sitting by the river as the sun set - first quiet time of the trip. Yesterday we 4WD'd it into Palm Valley which has some relic species. The area got drowned 200 million years ago and the sedimentary rock held the water. There were cycads there and also cabbage palms now found in more humid climes. It was amazing walking there.

OK I gotta go. Bit short on detail. More when I get home with the photos.

One more thing that will appeal to maalie. Went to the Desert Park here in Alice this morning. Was watching their "birds of prey" show. Then nature intervened. There were some wedge-tailed eagles in the cliff face high above. One started swooping down. Such speed and elegance in flight. They had to discontinue the show for the safety of their birds!!


  1. Yes, Wedge-tails are magnificent birds! Careful of those swagmen and their billabongs!

    Congratulations on your A+. Of course, I predicted it :-)

  2. Just hit loving this tour. No time really to blog until I get home.
    We had forest being burned in a controlled burn all around our campsite last night and the eagles were circling above watching for little critters that had to leave......
    I can still hardly believe the A+. Am worried I will get an apology from massey for the typo!!!!!

  3. I am SOOO excited tha you are having an amazing experience!