Because the weather was going to be bad we decided to rest a bit in Alice Springs and depart for Uluru when the sun made its comeback. I told you it was going to be 20 degrees right? Well guess what, we spent two days inside our van warming our hands on a nice cup of hot chocolate as it was only 14 degrees and rainy. How funny that one day earlier we were sweating our brains out and trying to catch some sleep with our fan going full speed while now we relocated our sleeping bags to cover ourselves with different layers at night ;) Those nights are the best though, nice and chilly, cosyness all the way with all our blankets! However, and I also warned you for this one: 2 days of bad weather were sufficient. Cuz' it was coold :)
On Monday we took off towards Uluru a.k.a. Ayers Rock, man I actually thought this was in or right next to Alice Springs.. Technically it is, only I forgot that 'right next to' usually means about 400 kilometers here. It was a 430 km drive but finally we made it to the Ayers Rock Resort, a huge complex with a hotel, lodges, shopping centre and a campground, quite pricy at 50 dollars a night but you don't have much choice as they're the only ones who provide camp spots. We decided beforehand to go to the camp spot, go to bed early and wake up at 4.30 to go see the sunrise at one of Uluru's viewing areas.
Not the nicest alarm ever, waking up at 4.30, crazy folks that we are. With sleepy eyes we drove towards the National Park where the smart-asses had built a big entrance, entrance fee: 25 dollars per person. I mean you can see that they've done a really good job in maintaining the park, the roads are very neat and everything is accessible but still after such an expensive camp spot now that many dollars just to get in.. That's just taking advantage of those poor tourists in my opinion, because of course the owners know that no tourist can skip this on their bucket list: section Australia, so yes people pay..
We were glad to have come quite early because we could still position ourselves on a good spot with our camera gear, after that it became a lot busier. And then the waiting game started, waiting for the sun to rise and to reveal Uluru in all its red glory! As an extra feature it started to rain very softly which added a cool rainbow to our frames. I couldn't really get enough of this rock. We had breakfast & tea in the van as it was still very cold this early in the morning and afterwards we went to see the rock up close.
It has some really cool textures and rock paintings and even on one point there's this gigantic rope alongside you can climb the rock! The climb was closed because of too much wind at the summit but I couldn't keep my eyes from this rope, so dangerous (people have died doing the climb), so big and steep, it must be some feeling to be standing there, at the top or even half the rock. I just couldn't grasp that it was actually possible to climb it. (They ask you not to because the rock is sacred land for Aboriginals, however they can't forbid it so I guess crazy folks still do it)
We drove around some more, took some more pictures before we said goodbye to Uluru and drove further to Kings Canyon (what should be the Grand Canyon of Australia). Now was it because we forgot the distances here are never what they seem, because we woke up so early or the mixture of those two but the drive seemed endless. We set up on another very expensive camp spot to go and explore Kings Canyon from there.
It was again 35 degrees so the walking trail we chose seemed to be a bit too demanding (we of course realized this when we were up, probably like 200 meters away from the actual Canyon). I got a
glimpse of it, because I just couldn't leave and start the hike down again without seeing it of course. It was pretty cool and gigantic!
But on the other hand we feel like a lot of gorges, canyons & rocks here are pretty much alike. Not to be impolite towards the country, but to us it all resembles a bit so we're looking forward to seeing something different. I'm tired of the color scheme that returns in every scenic picture :)