Woke up a bit before the alarm with my toe bothering me. Took a look and it had gotten infected. I spent some time cleaning it up and putting on antiseptic then got dressed and headed for the tour. Alice was way too tired to get up so she stayed in bed.
There were about 24 on the bus and we headed out into the darkness. We entered the park and there were about four busses there, plus a bunch of cars and campers. We got some tea and then wandered up the lighter path to the viewing area. It was very cold – about 40 – and quite windy. As the sun started to come up Urulu appeared = then started to change color as the sun hit various parts of it. The Olgals in the distance (36 huge boulders that are actually higher than Urulu) were also quite impressive. Ran into the Swiss couple while there.
Then we headed off for a one hour walk on the Kuniya trail at the base of the formation. Lots of local plant life and several ancient caves. One quite spectacular one had cave paintings – at least 300 years old but probably older as there is evidence that the original work was painted over. Then to a water hole – the most reliable in the area. It was at the end of a narrow valley that served as a wind tunnel – even colder (and in shadows as well). According to the guide the hunters would hide at the mouth of the valley and let animals go in to drink. Then as they were leaving they would ambush the last one or two. The idea was to not have them associate going to the water hole with danger.
Then off to the cultural center – which was a display area and three or four shops and cafes. Interesting stuff and some fabulous displays, but by then I was so tired that it was the most I could do to read some of the displays. Finally back to the hotel at about 10:30 and Alice was awake!
We headed out to have lunch at the deli again – she got a toasted cheese and I got a chicken tardoori – then to a couple shops and back to the room. After a bit I went to the town square to try to play the didgeridoo – wasn’t very good at it. Sigh. Then back to the room again and worked on the journal while waiting for the next tour at 2:30.
Went to the local craft market to buy some stuff and dumped most of my Australian change – you get a lot of it! Then met Alice at the hotel for our tour. Bus was quite full – I guess more people are up for a sundown tour. Anyway, off to Kata Tjuta – the other big rock formation.
We got there about 3:15 and walked up Walpa Gorge – between two of the largest structures. This and Urulu are both ancient river deposits from hundreds of millions of years ago – they had been turned on their side by plate movement then exposed through erosion. They are still being exposed as some of the sand around them gets washed away by storms – about once every two or three years.
Alice rushed ahead to the end then we headed back together. Another stop at an overlook of the formation then to Urulu for the sunset – they had snacks (nibbles) and wine for the viewing. A couple of local crested pigeons were scurrying between people’s feet eating dropped crackers – quite tame.
It was quite cool as we waited – Urulu was supposed to change color as the sun set but it was a bit cloudy so no real change until the sun almost set – then it was hit with a splash of color. After a bit of oohing and ahing we got on the bus – but then they stopped it again as the sunset was quite spectacular!
Back at the hotel we dropped off our stuff and headed to a restaurant for dinner – a burger and a Caesar Salad with a Pepsi for $42.00 – it is not cheap here! Now to get on the internet and see what the real world is up to these days.
Tomorrow - Alice Springs!