We decamped from Curtin Springs to the campground at the Yulara Resort, the only resort in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Let me share a few impressions of Uluru and the National Park.
Uluru is the largest rock monolith in the world, the biggest “rock” being Mount Augustus in Western Australia. Uluru is 1.425 Billion tons compared with a measly 5.2 million tons for the Pyramid of Cheops. It is massive, steep-sided all round, and pock-marked with holes, and ripples, and clefts .. and it is simply awesome, particularly in the rising or setting sun. Every time I saw it my heart gave a little leap; it is that imposing (and we ex-rock climbers love our rocks). It was equally impressive to walk around (10.5kms) as you could get a better sense of its massiveness, and the intricate flutings, caves, rock falls, etc.
The Cultural Centre was very interesting, and particularly the video of “The Handback” of the land to the Indigenous people of the region. We found the studio space a confusing mix of Indigenous artists, art for sale displayed quite haphazardly, children running round, etc. But, that’s the way it is! We saw very few Indigenous people out and about in the park, and I guess we expected to see more guides and rangers. There were obviously many Indigenous people employed in the various restaurants, and I understand working behind the scenes of the resort in maintenance and engineering roles.
The Yulara Resort was very “suburban” and the architecture was rather uninspired. It just didn’t feel right for a resort so close to Uluru. As you entered the resort entrance, you were exhorted to “Touch the Silence”, which was fairly vomit-worthy. The campground was quite nice – lots of trees, various lookouts, and good facilities. And, to be fair, we did enjoy the various offerings of the resort: the coffee shop; the Gecko restaurant; and the IGA supermarket. Yes, I know, I know – we were seduced by the “suburban dream”.
In the National Park itself the place is totally “polluted” by gazillions of signs telling you: not to stop here, not to photograph there, not to not be here, etc. Being Australia, it seemed that many of these signs were ignored, and thus a waste of space. Apparently, the park rangers also enforce the “do not walk on the ground” rules – of the marked paths – and can even fine you. I have photos of signs telling you not to, of course!