After a nice lunch in Yalara we made our first visit into the national park. The first port of call were the large boulder formations known as Kata Tjuta (Many heads) We were explained that both Uluru and Kata Tjuta were formed from debris from the same eroded mountain range - Kata Tjuta being closer than Uluru to the original range and therefore being made up of larger boulder pieces. It is a pretty awe inspiring sight and we walked right into the Olga canyon to properly investigate!
Along the way we caught glimpses of the largest monolith in the world (Uluru) but that was just a teaser which would have to wait until the next day. This involved waking up around 4am and clambering onto the coach half asleep in order to make it to the Uluru viewing area in time for sunrise. When we arrived the light was starting to spread golden hues across the semi arid landscape and Uluru began to wake up. It is said in order to really appreciate Uluru you must see it several different hours of the day. In the morning light it is almost a dull brown. Fuzzy almost. But what a sight.3.6km long and 348m H this is the single largest monolith in the world. It is the home of many aboriginal legends concerning an ancient tribe called the Mala people. My impression of it was that of an alien spaceship landed here in the heart of the desert!
After the sun had truly decided to stay up we were allowed to walk around it (sadly not up it due to the winds). To complete the 10km circuit takes normally 3-4 hrs but we managed it in just over 2. It was incredible tosee it up close - but by far the most dramatic view is from afar!
Mercifully after that early start and a long walk we had the afternoon to collapse in the hotel - at least until it came time for sunset - when we jumped aboard the coach and headed back to Uluru for a champagne sunset.
In my opinion - this is the time to see Uluru! It becomes almost a golden red and the shadows created by the swindling sun actually define it more. If you had only one chance to see it - I would pick sunset!
Several champagnes later - we called it an evening. The next day we would return to Alice Springs to end our Contiki tour and collect our rental car for the second stage of our journey!