We made it! Well, most of us did; the dog could not quite get there!
It did seem quite impossible when I planned the trip that we could arrive at the centre with a functional caravan, car and family! But I think you can see from our faces that we are delighted.
We opted for a walk around Uluru, which was surprisingly different from the warnings – we had no risk to heat stroke or dehydration in a light rain, strong wind and cold (perhaps 10 degrees) air, but we kept our pace up to stay warm and made the distance.
It is very hard to give a feel of this strange icon in photos. One of the guide books suggest that the best way was to throw away the camera and use the lens in our heart.
I tried a few shots with the smart phone and a panorama software package (Hugin – open source of course). However, the feeling of this rock towering over you and the different way it was eroding from every size is almost impossible to capture.
Large areas of the rock are not photograph-able, but you can see from the bits in this article, it is a different rock in different places.
Interestingly, the actual rock of Uluru is grey. The outside of the rock has had many of the minerals leached out leaving mostly iron that has rusted. You can see the actual colour of the rock below.
BTW, Ash was with us but did not want to be in any photos.
Poor dog has been finding the rocks and burrs of the Red Centre a bit hard going on his paws. We went to the vet to get advice and walked out with four small vinyl boots. After a bit of getting used to, Dog seems to have really taken to them, scampering around more than we have seen for a couple of years. Also, everyone who seems him in them comes over for a chat, so he is getting more pats too, which he loves.
We have been very lucky with good weather. The last place we were expecting rain though was Yulara, near Uluru (Ayres Rock). It was light, but wet enough to be a nuisance. I tied our clothes line under the awning, and that did the trick.
The road from Glen Helen to Kings Canyon was quite an adventure. It was our first long stretch of unsealed road on the trip. I had driven a kilometre in the Barooga State Forest finding Paradise beach, and about 500 metres to get to Stanton Bend at Rutherglen, and 20 km round trip to get to the Australian Museum of Dinosaurs near Winton, but this was a 120 km rattler. While most of the road was find, the few bad patches were horrible to drive – rattling at 40km/h, bone shaking at 60km/h and deafening at 80km/h. We managed to shake off and shatter one or our driving mirrors and dislocate our toilet flap.
The road was pretty straight, but there were a couple of blind bends when we went through gorges. We found the “politically incorrect” street sign shown in the left. I remember it from last time we drove this road (15 years ago). The tin on the other side had been amended from “Put um back down” to “Take a break”.