October 29th, 2009
The mysterious rock formation of Uluru in the Northern Territory is worth a visit when you're on a holiday in Australia.
We decided to fly to Ayers Rock from Perth after touring the west coast from Broome to Albany. In Ayers Rock you land at the Yulara airport which is located at about a 15 min shuttle drive to the Voyagers Ayers Rock Resort.
The Voyagers Ayers Rock resort is the only hotel operator in Yulara and operates several hotels and a camping ground. We choose not to camp at Uluru so the only option was to check in one of Ayers Rock way overpriced hotels. For us The Lost Camel Hotel, which was truly amazing, was the best pick.
Not only did we compare prices on the internet and checked all the travelers pictures but we also tried to look at which accomodation would give us the best value for money. Each hotel room will charge you around 400 AUD per night (!) but at least you can count on some decent service. The camping ground might cost you a little less but you'll be not as close to the shopping mall, super market and restaurants as the hotels are. You'll also have to do without the service obviously. Then again, camping at Uluru isn't cheap either so my advice is to definitely go to Ayers Rock as you'll see nothing like it in the rest of Australia but don't count on a bargain while you're there!
At The Lost Camel we had an amazing time. They had a great, clean and spacious pool which for a change we actually used several times. The hotel is the closest accomodation to the shopping centre, not even a 2 min walk, and has friendly staff and great service. The hotel room was very modern and nicely decorated. Great bed, stereo, fridge, nice bathroom and a little sitting area with a tv.
During our stay in Ayers Rock the first thing we had to see was Uluru, the rock that made the place so famous. We went to visit Uluru, or Ayers Rock, on our second day. We decided to buy a three day pass which included a 25 AUD entree fee for the national park, an Uluru sunrise, climb and base tour, a Kata Tjuta (The Olga's) sunset tour and a Kings Canyon day trip. The first two tours, Uluru sunrise in the morning (4.00 am-11.30 pm) and the Kata Tjuta sunset tour (14.30 pm- 7.30 pm) we did on our second day of stay. The third day we spent at the Kings Canyon.
Visiting Uluru is quite impressive as it will probably be one of the biggest rocks in an open area that you've ever seen. The base tour around the rock will take you up for a 9-11 km walk!
Not only does the tour operator, we travelled with AAT Kings, gives you the opportunity to walk around Uluru but you can also climb the rock. After reading about the climb we had to do it!
The climb was pretty hard as some parts of Uluru can be really steep and you're warned before going up there. If you want to climb Uluru you have to have some decent hiking shoes and enough water to get you through the 1.3 km up and 1.3 km down. That might seem nothing but don't forget its Uluru! Walks are unpredictive, steep and you'll have to look out where you walk.
Once up there at the peek, the view is amazing! Take you're time taking photo's as the way down goes a lot easier. Just at the very end back the hill gets steep again but there will be some iron chains to hold on to.
We climbed Ayers Rock early in the morning before the sun was getting too hot and so the climb was open to the public. When we got down again we saw a sign put at the entrance of the climb with a warning not to climb Uluru anymore because of the heat. As the temperature rises between 30 and 40 degrees rangers advice, or even prohibit, you to undertake the climb.
Rangers are not the only ones who can ask you not to climb. The local Aboriginal Community asks turists not to climb Uluru out of respect for its sacret value. At the same time hundreds of people climb the rock every day ( Ayers Rock has 400.000 turists a year, about 1000 a day!) and people have different reasons for it. Some of them think Uluru made them pay enough during their stay not to climb it, others believe the rock was there long before the Aborigines ( archeological finds prove their presence in the NT up till 32.000 years ago) and others like us really appreciated the rock way more from the top.
When you're walking around Uluru you might be impressed by its size but only when you climb the rock you understand the yourney of the Aborigines over that rock, or what the first white explorers might have feld or even how it could happen that a school boy fell off the rock while climbing it. All events that talk history and tell about the rock. Maybe us climbing it keeps the rock alive:)
Did you enjoy Climbing Uluru in Ayers Rock and have you been on a holiday in Ayers Rock, Australia?
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