18 Jul 2016

Out to the Red Centre

I've just spent three days at Uluru-previously known as Ayers Rock- in the centre of Australia- celebrating my birthday. Uluru is 494 kms west of Alice Springs in the centre of Australia. It is a very remote place.
This was my third visit to Uluru and my first in winter. In summer it is scorching hot 40ºC (104ºF) plus most days but as I found out in winter it can be bitterly cold and I experienced it at its coldest with the nightime temperature down to minus 3ºC and the daytime struggling upto 7ºC with a very strong cold wind.
My first visit was in 1984 and the Ayers Rock resort hotel had only just opened and the airstrip was a short dirt strip so I drove in from Alice Springs. Now there is a fully fledged resort complex with a fully equipped airport with frequent flights to Australian cities. It's just over 3 hours by 737 from Sydney. What really struck me was the number of tourists -local and international visiting the "rock". It maybe a long way from anywhere but it was humming and the Sails in the Desert hotel is world standard which is remarkable given its location.
Uluru itself and the nearby Kata Tjuta (formerly known as the Olgas) are the main attractions. It's not easy to get an original photo of either. They have been done to death photographically-at sunrise and sunset in particular. The sand of the desert  like Uluru is red-hence the Red Centre nomenclature- but due to the unusual amount of rain which has fallen this year the vegetation is surprisingly green and there were actually flowing streams and pools of water around. Very unusual. The fact that there was so much feed out in the desert meant that there were was no wildlife -camels,kangaroos and emus- foraging around the resort.
I took a helicopter flight over Uluru and came back with a couple of competent but hardly original photos of the rock. Here's my Uluru-Kata Tjuta collection.


Frost on flowers in the desert at sunrise.

Uluru from the air

Uluru from a distance.That's what the desert looks like out there.It is mainly devoid of features.

Kata Tjuta

1 comment:

  1. Belated best wishes for your landmark birthday John.