Originally, when I found out about this Fellowship, I was really keen to travel to New Zealand. I’ve been wanting to go there for some time, but after checking out costs and, most importantly, weather I decided that maybe I should save New Zealand for some other time, in the summer. I just didn’t want to risk getting stuck inside by freezing fog and rain.
Winter, however, is the perfect time to travel to the Northern Territory. The day time temperatures are manageable, the evenings are cool but not freezing, and there are no flies. So, I decided that I would go to Uluru (otherwise known as Ayer’s Rock) for 3 days and check out a completely different part of Australia. Uluru is in the middle of nowhere. There is a little resort town that is 20 km away and then the nearest town is another 450 km away. You are in the heart of the dessert and besides the other happy inhabitants of Ayer’s Rock Resort, you are there alone.
It took about all day to get there from Melbourne, but from the moment your plane descends from the clouds you know it is going to be worth it. You see this amazing red dessert below you (that was actually the lushest it has been in decades) and then this giant rock looming at the distance. The sky is so blue, the grass that is there is incredibly green, and the dirt, red. A primary color bonanza, and that’s the middle of the day.
I stayed at the Outback Pioneer Lodge which is the cheapest place in the Resort. It had all the comforts of a nice sleep away camp, but for $35 a night you couldn’t beat it. I actually thought it was perfect for the setting. Plus, you still have access to everything else in the resort. For touring around, I got the 3 day Uluru-Kata Tjuta Explorer pass from Uluru Express (www.uluruexpress.com.au) which gave me unlimited access to all of the major attractions at the park. It’s a steal only for $180 compared to all the bus around and tell you about stuff companies. All the info you need is at the park’s cultural center and the Uluru Express drivers were very friendly and knowledgeable.
The first day, all I had time for was to catch “the rock” at sunset. Another perk of using this smaller company was access to the small car viewing area which is closer and way less crowded than the coach (bus) viewing area. What a great show as the sun sets and paints Uluru in these great red and orange colors. I’d never thought I would take so many pictures of the same thing, but every minute it seemed to look a little different. Below, is the gallery of my best shots from my first sunset.