Ever since we crossed the International Dateline, we haven’t been ourselves. We go to bed before 10 and rise before 6. That’s just not the way we normally live, but there is so much to see and do, we try to cram in as much as possible. We probably will never be here again and especially at a special spot like Uluru. We rose before dawn to travel to the sun rise viewing platforms to see the new day arrive on the rock. We were on the other side of Uluru from where we saw the sun set and there were far fewer people. For me it was a more satisfying experience. I felt somewhat bleary eyed the rest of the day, but it was worth it to watch those gnarled surfaces light up with the first rays of the sun. The spineflex grass glowed golden on the hillsides and the silhouettes of the trees were black against the pink and yellow sky.
After a great buffet breakfast and many mugs of coffee, we traveled to the Olgas, a formation related to Uluru geologically, but with a dramatically different look. Their Aboriginal name Kata Tjuta, means “many heads,” a very fitting moniker. We hiked into a gorge between two of the heads and came to ponds of water surrounded by trees and grasses, an oasis in the desert. This formation and the Mesa Mt. Connor that we saw yesterday are all composed of sandstone, but the ground beneath them raised or tipped them in different directions. At Mt. Conner the layers remained horizontal, the Olga’s were eroded in rounded forms, and Uluru was tipped sideways, which caused a totally different looking erosion pattern. When I took close up photos of all three rocks, their red color could have placed them in southern Utah. But in Utah, the land is much more mountainous. Here these three rock formations loom out of flat plains.
It would have been nice to stay at the park for another day, but it was time to head to the airport for yet another flight. Cairns (pronounced cans,) is a resort area that reminds us of the Caribbean. It serves as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Our hotel is a collection of individually owned condos and we scored big - another washer/dryer and kitchen with a jacuzzi on our deck. We got here in the dark, so we’ll see the rest of the delights here tomorrow.
latitude = Dha Nang, Viet Name