Dear friends, let me take you on a spiritual journey to Kata Tjuta in Australia's red centre. In the heart of Australia. Whenever Australia is advertised, several places are always highlighted, the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock/Uluru. In this blog, I want to share the incredible experience I had in the outback. I lived in Australia for 14 years. I was amazed at how most Australians have never taken a trip to the red centre. I have to admit, it was a trip of a life time. I have always been drawn to places of great significance to the native people. The Aboriginals are the native Australian people and they have a great spiritual connection to Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Uluru, commonly called Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta, also known as Mount Olga. In my blogs, I will always refer to places by their original native names. I strongly believe in respecting different cultures by acknowledging their language. Some wonderful traditions are lost in translation and so I do my best to honour those traditions.
To find me, look for my chihuahua's face
"I strongly believe in respecting different cultures by acknowledging their language."
My journey started in the city I was living in, Brisbane. We flew from Brisbane to Sydney and then onto Yulara airport/Ayers Rock airport. My brother Wayne joined me on this epic trip, you can read his awesome content here: https://hive.blog/@spectrumecons
I was surprised at how complicated it was to get to Uluru, considering how much of an attraction it is. There are very limited flights per week. We went in August, towards the end of the Australian winter. The temperature at this time of the year was absolutely perfect for hiking and exploring. The temperature in the day ranged from 21°C/69.8°F to about 23°C/ 73.4°F. It did get a lot cooler in the evenings and reached a low of about 6°C/42.8°F. I highly discourage you from going in the middle of summer where temperatures often reach 45°C/113°F. In fact, as you can see from one of my photographs below, the hiking trails are closed off once the temperature goes above 36°C/96.8°F as they become unsafe to venture.
As a frequent traveler, I always try my best to get the window seat on a plane. The reason is the amazing viewpoint when landing and taking off. The view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta while coming in to land was breath-taking. It is no surprise that Uluru gained the title as one of the 7 wonders of the natural world.
Flying into Yulara
"It is no surprise that Uluru gained the title as one of the 7 wonders of the natural world."
In Yulara Airport
Once we landed at Yulara airport, we were able to get onto a bus that was sent by Ayers Rock Resort. The bus ride was only about 20 minutes. Ayers Rock Resort is the only accommodation within close proximity to Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The next closest is in Alice Springs, a hefty 4.5 hours away. This gives the resort the power to charge whatever they like. Thankfully, within Ayers Rock Resort itself, there is an array of different accommodation to suit everyone's budget. The resort offers 7 different types of accommodation from campsite to the lavish luxury of sails in the desert. The accommodations are as follows and are listed in ascending order price wise, Ayers Rock Campground, Outback Pioneer Hotel, Outback Pioneer Lodge, The Lost Camel Hotel, Emu Walk Apartments, Desert Gardens Hotel and Sails in the Desert. We opted for Desert Gardens. Having been a flight attendant at the time, I was used to 4-star hotels so I wasn't about to start camping now. This was a once in a life-time trip and I was going to enjoy it. Of course if you enjoy camping, it is wonderful that the option is there for you to do so. Camping on some of the world's most sacred ground would be an experience within itself.
Bus to Ayers Rock Resort
Driving into Ayers Rock Resort
Ayers Rock Resort
"Camping on some of the world's most sacred ground would be an experience within itself."
Our Resort Room
Ayers Rock Resort Restaurant
My brother and I are both vegan, this can sometimes be a challenge for us while travelling. I have made cooking demonstration videos all around the world on my Youtube channel Vegoutt
I had pre-planned to make a cooking demonstration video in the outback of raw, vegan, protein balls. Little did I know, that was actually a life-saver. There were next to no vegan options for us, that was the only disappointing aspect of our trip. We were fine at breakfast with a delicious choice of fresh fruits, however, lunch and dinner were bleak. We lived off of my protein balls and some bread and crisps we found at the resort gift shop. So if you are vegan and planning a trip to the red centre, pack a lot of food. I have included my video of how I made the raw, vegan, protein balls below.
Our Resort Room Patio
Filming a Video on how to make, Raw, Vegan, Protein Balls
Raw Vegan Protein Balls
"I have made cooking demonstration videos all around the world on my Youtube channel Vegoutt."
We stayed at Ayers Rock Resort for 4 nights. You really couldn't experience everything going for less time. I mean it's a trek getting out here so you may as well stay for as long as you can afford. The day we arrived, we explored the grounds of the resort, as you can see from the Ariel view, it is huge. I also made my protein balls on the day we arrived. The second day we went to Uluru, the third to Kata Tjuta and the forth to a Camel ranch. My next blog will be on the famous Uluru, I thought I'd warm you up with Kata Tjuta. To be honest, I had never heard of Kata Tjuta until I arrived at the Ayers Rock Resort and could see its magnificent beauty. The craziest thing about it is, in a way, I found Kata Tjuta to be more remarkable than Uluru.
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park is visited by only 250,000 people a year. That is nothing compared to the likes of Notre-dame de Paris that welcomes 12 million visitors per year. I would say the main reason behind that would be location. I love nature and the natural wonders of the world. In a way, I am grateful that this incredible place isn't over-run with tourists. It allows the land to keep the mystical wonder of its landscape. Kata Tjuta meaning "many heads" is a large collective formation of sandstone domes that is sacred to the Anangu people. The Anangu are a tribe of Aboriginals who have inhabited the area for more than 22,000 years. Kata Tjuta is believed to be about 500 million years old. There are many legends surrounding the site but they are kept secret among the remaining Anangu people. Only some legends being depicted in dreamtime paintings on the walls of caves.
View of Kata Tjuta from Ayers Rock Resort
"Kata Tjuta meaning "many heads" is a large collective formation of sandstone domes that is sacred to the Anangu people."
Uluru to Kata Tjuta distance
Ready to hike Kata Tjuta
Ayers Rock Resort offers a bus that will drop you off at Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The bus takes about 40 minutes. There are guided tours, camel rides and even Segway tours available. We opted to hike around Uluru and through Kata Tjuta ourselves. Not only because this was the most affordable option but for several other reasons as well. Treking it ourselves meant we only had to pay the Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park entrance fee. I often find guided tours are too rushed for my liking. I really enjoy taking in the atmosphere of a place. I even meditated in Kata Tjuta, something a guided tour would not have allowed time for. I was concerned for the welfare of the camels and didn't want to contribute to harming them. The last option of Segway tour really did not appeal to me, I felt there was something wrong about riding a modern invention at such an ancient place. But of course, each to their own. Uluru was wheelchair accessible as it was pretty flat walking around the entire base of the rock. Kata Tjuta however, was not wheelchair accessible at all.
"I really enjoy taking in the atmosphere of a place."
When the bus stopped at kata Tjuta, my brother and I were the only two people who got off the bus. I was so surprised, this is such an incredible place and nobody else was interested in hiking it. I am not a hiker usually as I have very weak lungs. However, when it comes to exploring once in a lifetime destinations, I will absolutely hike. The driver warned us as we got off the bus that "few people attempt the hike and helicopters aren't able to perform rescues here due to the landscape". This did not deter us and we said we would see him later for the last pick up of the day. The longest of all the trails at Kata Tjuta is the "Valley of the Winds Walk". That is the one we opted to do, it is a 7.4km/4.6 mile circuit that takes you between the sandstone domes. It is a moderately difficult trail that gets incredibly steep in places. The views are well worth it, it took my breath away and not just because I have weak lungs.
"The longest of all the trails at Kata Tjuta is the "Valley of the Winds Walk"."
I cannot stress enough how important it is to bring bottles of water with you. We didn't bring enough. We took a 1.5 litre bottle each and we should have brought at least two bottles each. We managed to ration it out though. Also, bring protein balls. 7.4km/4.6 miles isn't very far, I walk further on my daily dog walk around the lake near my house. However, it is very different terrain. The lake near my house is completely flat and paved. The Kata Tjuta trek is constantly up and down on sometimes very unstable ground. You do have to be fairly agile and fit to complete the circuit. Kata Tjuta is made up of 36 steep sandstone domes. The "Valley of the Winds Walk"" takes about 4 hours. Kata Tjuta stands at 564 metres/1850 feet above sea level and was believed to have been one enormous formation millions of years ago.
"Kata Tjuta stands at 564 metres/1850 feet above sea level and was believed to have been one enormous formation millions of years ago."
As you make your way along the trail, you reach several lookout points. These offer unparalleled views of the area. As stressful as the hike was in places, all that stress melts away when you reach the lookouts. The landscape is fascinating and offers some of the most remarkable geology on the planet. This place is so sacred to the Anangu people and this tribe offers a glimpse into the past. They are a part of one of the oldest civilizations on earth, there is so much we can learn from them. Uluru and Kata Tjuta are both sacred sites as they are seen as resting places for ancient spirits. It has stood as an un-wavering symbol of strength and consistency surviving in such barren land for millions of years. The outback is not an easy place to survive in and what may seem like just rock formations to you and I are a symbol of hope to an entire civilization.
" Uluru and Kata Tjuta are both sacred sites as they are seen as a resting place for ancient spirits."
"The outback is not an easy place to survive in and what may seem like just rock formations to you and I are a symbol of hope to an entire civilization."
I feel so incredibly lucky to have been able to hike Kata Tjuta. Many years ago, this would of been an act only done by adolescent boys on their journey to manhood, called a "walkabout". A Walkabout is a rite of passage in Aboriginal society, where a teenage boy journeys alone in the wilderness for about 6 months. This is to make his cultural and spiritual transition from boy to man. The Anangu people of today are happy to share this land with visitors and I am so grateful. All visitors to this area must be respectful to the land and its people. So much has been taken away from the aboriginals over the years, the least we can do today is help preserve their sacred sites. Not just because it is scared to them but because of its natural significance. The Australian red centre is appropriately named because of its red soil. The soil in the outback resembles that on Mars. This is because the same process of Acidic oxidation has occurred. We know today that is why the soil is red. What I found extremely sad was that in Aboriginal culture, many believe that the soil is red due to the blood spilt over the years by westerners killing Aboriginals. I can only hope that we can be kinder to these amazing people than we have been in the past.
"A Walkabout is a rite of passage in Aboriginal society, where a teenage boy journeys alone in the wilderness for about 6 months."
We took longer than 4 hours as we stopped a lot to take in the beauty of the surroundings and to take photographs. We did make it back in time for the last bus and our bus driver was surprised to hear we completed the hardest circuit. When I travel, I am often on the first bus out to explore and the last bus back. I try and spend the maximum amount of time taking in a place. There is so much wonder and beauty in the world to be admired and enjoyed. In my next blog, I will be taking you around Uluru and sharing information about the incredible animals that call the outback home.
"There is so much wonder and beauty in the world to be admired and enjoyed"
I hope you have enjoyed my blog on Kata Tjuta, Australia's red centre, thank you for reading, I look forward to sharing more adventures with you, until next time, Vegoutt Everybody!