I have called Australia home for over seven years now, and have travelled around here quite a bit. I have seen a lot of the country, but am also aware that there is a lot more that I haven’t yet seen.
Australia is made up of six states and two major mainland territories, namely Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, and Northern Territory.
The only one of these that I haven’t set foot in at all is Northern Territory, and there is a lot to see there!
There are also a few other lesser territories that are under the administration of the federal government, more details at Wikipedia.
Australia has a couple of well known icons, the two most familiar being, I imagine, the Sydney Opera House, and Ayers Rock, or Uluru as it tends to be known as now, having been officially given the dual name of “Ayers Rock/Uluru” in 1993. This was changed to “Uluru/Ayers Rock” in November 2002 following a request from the Regional Tourism Association in Alice Springs.
So when I discovered that friends Pam and Ces were heading up from Adelaide to Uluru then beyond to the west, it seemed like an ideal time to go and see the iconic rock.
I flew from Perth direct to Ayers Rock airport, and had booked a spot at the Ayers Rock Resort campground. I was lucky enought to get a window seat at the front of the plane, and had a great view of the rock as we came in to land.
Pam and Ces picked me up at the airport, and once set up at the campground we headed out into the sand dunes and I got a closer look at the rock than I had from the plane. Even at a distance of around 10 kilometres it is impressively large.
Later we went to see the rock as the sun set behind us, which was very atmospheric.
The next morning Ces and I were up early and drove into the national park itself to see sunrise. We joined busloads of other sightseerers at the sunrise viewing area, and as it got lighter, I started to get an impression of just how incredibly big the rock is when viewed close-up.
I have wondered for quite a while about whether I should climb the rock or not, as the traditional Aboriginal owners ask people not to, as it is a sacred site. Many people now choose not to climb, but quite a lot still do, and eventually I decided that I would try to do the climb. Although I would wish to respect tradition, I still feel that everyone should have the freedom to enjoy nature as they choose, as long as it is in a non-destructive way.
However, it turned out that I had no choice in the matter, as it was too windy on th rock, and the climb was closed.
That afternoon we walked around the base of the rock, which is a fantastic 10 kilometre walk, offering some stunning views of this incredibly atmospheric and beautiful place.