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More amazing than Uluru

Added: March 25, 2010

Tags: Australia RTW photos
While being in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park we could not miss the 2nd attraction about 30km from Uluru - Kata Tjuta. From photos we found on Internet we decided to spend more time at Kata Tjuta than Uluru and I think we made a good decision.

We made two hikes at/around Kata Tjuta and we watched sunrise there too.

Walpa Gorge

The first evening we went to Walpa Gorge. On our way we stopped at sand dune used as viewing site for whole panorama of Kata Tjuta as well as for sunrises. It was only short stop to take a few photos and to test effectiveness of our mosquito head nets. Some people did not have them and I am sure they did not repeat their mistake next day.




About 15 minutes later we made the 2nd stop. It is possible this one was not planned. Our driver just spotted 3 camels sitting in shade of nearby trees. Orange rocks behind them.

Finally we stopped at parking lot for Walpa Gorge. It was about 40°C outside and we were told to drink at least 1 litre of water per hour. Driver asked if everybody has enough, because he brought some.

The whole hike is about 1 hour, it is straight path in between two huge rocks and it would not be big deal if it was not so hot. Immediately we fallen behind others as I could not stop taking pictures. I knew we should hurry, because I did not want to be in such hot place for long time, but it was not so easy, seeing huge red-orange domes for the first time.

When we got to the platform at the end, we made 1-2 photos, turned and headed back. Somehow we managed to get to bus well ahead of others. I was completely wet and immediately drunk another litre of water. Air conditioning in bus was fantastic.



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On our way to see sunset at Uluru we stopped shortly at Kata Tjuta sunset viewing area to use toilet, but Uluru Express does not do sunsets at Kata Tjuta.

Look again on the sky at these photos. Nothing suggests that about 30km from here and less than hour later we will not be able to see proper Uluru sunset (with sun).

Sunrise at Kata Tjuta

Next day we got up early, because we needed to be at Kata Tjuta sunrise viewing area before sunrise. When we arrived the place was full of other buses, many of them providing breakfast for their customers.

It was still dark, most of my photos were noisy and blurry. Kata Tjuta in distance was pale and I hoped it will get better when sun gets out. Midgets were not in service yet, but their shift slowly begun. In the beginning I used head net, but it did not allow me to judge sharpness of photos well, so decided to tolerate midgets for few important minutes and I pulled it off.

Sun was slowly raising and rocks started to get expected red hue. We were far away, but Kata Tjuta is so wide from this point of view, that it took several photos to get them all into one panorama.



By clicking here you can see whole panorama. It was too wide to show it directly.

Valley of the Winds

After getting warmed with first rays of sun we went to other hike at Kata Tjuta - Valley of the Winds. It is further away along west side of rocks. While it is possible to visit Walpa Gorge at any time of day Valley of the Winds is opened only in the morning (in the summer). It is too hot, too long and too far from help so they close track at 11:00 at the first view point. So it is possible to see the beginning of it, but it is only 1/3 of whole track. It is better to get up early and walk it completely.

It is circular route, but our driver (same as yesterday) told us he likes it more when he turns right after the 1st viewpoint instead of left. We got 3 hours to walk it, it should be sufficient time, but we were not sure. It was colder, we had 4.5l of water per person and so I would not be forced to take photos quickly (as if I could be forced to do that...).

We arrived to western side and it was still in shade. Sun was slowly raising, gaining its reign over these massive domes, but nice curved shadows did not want to leave their positions quickly.


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While Uluru is made from sandstone, Kata Tjuta is a conglomerate.

Scary face above the 2nd viewpoint

We reached the 2nd viewpoint and from that moment we were walking in direct sun. It was shortly after 8am and we could already feel the strength of local sun. After some time I realized we are only in half and we might not be able to arrive at time. So eventually I decided not to shoot everything. Only new things. But, well, everything was new here :-)


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Eastern part of Kata Tjuta from near the 2nd viewpoint. Domes are smaller there than we had here.


When we arrived to the 1st viewpoint again we met large group of people. It was after nine and I guess they had it much harder to complete whole hike than we had.

We made it on time and worse, we still had to wait for bus. But we were tired and we were glad we can go to resort to have some rest until afternoon trip to Uluru. And we should try the pool at the hotel! What could be better relax than being in nice blue pool surrounded by scent of eucalyptus trees.