We woke at 5am and headed 50km down the road to see the sunrise over The Olgas. The night before there had been a huge sandstorm with lightning, some rain and winds that rocked the van and threatened to blow away tents and awnings in the campsite. Chris had run from neighbouring pitch to pitch helping return items blown away and tie down loose canvasses. The sky was dark but the clouds were clearing as we drove to the best sunrise view spot and the road was still scattered with tree damage debris.
The sun just peaked over the horizon at 6am silhouetting Uluru some 40km to the west. Rising out of the sands these enormous domes are called Kata Tjuta which means ‘many heads’ to the local aboriginal people. A little later the first rays were cast on Kata Tjuta turning them first blood red and then softening to a golden ochre.
After a quick kangaroo (yes, leftovers from dinner on a skewer) and coffee breakfast we took on the Valley of the Winds trail, a 7km route that winds its way up and through some of the vast canyons scoured out of this tough conglomerate sandstone. The highest dome is reported to be 200 meters higher than Ulruru. We spotted some Euro Kangaroos and a ring neck parrot on the way down and finished the walk before the heat of the day hit us. We both agreed that although Uluru is a special place, we found the geomorphology and colours of the Olgas more attractive.
Uluru silhouetted against the sunrise
The first rays of the day strike Kata Tjuta turning them blood red
Ready for a coffee
The striking turquoise-green patilpa or Australian ring neck parrot
These guys were chattering away happily as they fed
Striking views in the valley of the winds
A tough approach
Red Jewel Bug
Sun strikes the domes of the Olgas
Meet my Aussie tour guide
A Euro Kangaroo rests in the shade
Kata Tjuta colours during the middle of the day take on more pastel shades
Helpful signage for the foreign drivers!!
A cheeky chap