Thursday, March 19, 2009

Australia – Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Amazed what a manmade wonder was done on this barren desert. Various range of hotels are constructed in Yulara Resort, basic facilities are well established. Post office, bank, supermarket, restaurants and free shuttle buses are available, water supply is clean and power supply is stable.

The scorching heat is quite uncomfortable. We were welcomed by millions of flies since landing at the airport. It was disturbing and irritating. The China made head covering “fly net” was the most popular “souvenir”, costs AUD10!

The aerial view from the plane shows an immense arid flat area in the central Australia. The Ayers Rock (Uluru), the world’s largest piece of rock, emerged oddly and its ochre red is eyes catching. Acc’ to Lonely Planet, it’s believed that 2/3 of the rock is beneath the sand.

The main attraction Uluru is a holy place to the aboriginals. Tourists are advised not to remove any rock or sand in this area. The tour guide said lots of tourists sent back their “stolen souvenir” when they deemed being cursed as rumours go.

I joined the 10km Uluru base walk the next morning, circumnavigating the rocks. The guide narrated the mystic stories about Kuniya (a woma python) and Liru (a poisonous snake), the conflicts between tribes. Of course, legends were always exaggerated. We were advised not to photograph any holy places, I didn’t know if camera could capture spirits. In order to compromise the income of community and the curiosity of some tourists, the climb to the holy Uluru is allowed, though discouraged by the Anangu people, the Aboriginal traditional owners of Uluru. Some indigenous paintings could still be seen in the caves.

Adjacent was Kata Tjuta (means many heads), another few pieces of rocks emerged from the plain desert. Not really special indeed.

During my short stay in this outback, I didn’t see any 1.8m tall, weight 80kg kangaroo.