The impressive red rock, protruding from the flat, desolate landscape is a sight hard to describe as Uluru is such a special place that it leaves you spellbound no matter how many times you see it. This was our second trip to Uluru, Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and Kings Canyon but as the kids were much younger when we visited five years ago, we wanted to experience this unique place once again.
We were lucky to have my parents from country Victoria meet us at Yalara campground (near Uluru) to join us for a few weeks and to celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday. Camping is a great way to share experiences together on the road and for the kids to spend time with their grandparents. Being school holidays, Yalara was overflowing and we were left to find space in the dusty overflow camping area. To go from staying in lovely bush campgrounds to a busy, overcrowded and sandy campground, filled with people moving in and out on a daily basis is not what I camping however with little other options, it was a central base to camp.
I was pleased the kid’s make their decision not to climb Uluru out of cultural respect so Bailey and Cooper jumped on their bikes and Dad, Ashley, Austin and I walked about 11km around the base. Having just missed the rain, the ponds were full of water and there were plenty of wildflowers along the way. It was nice to walk alongside Dad and catch up as we stopped and read the signs and enjoyed the easy walk. Later that night, we took dinner and some chairs with us to sit and watch the sunset and see the many colours of Uluru as it changed during the evening.
Kata Tjuta was formed the same time as Uluru and it’s many heads look like islands protruding from the even landscape. The Valley of The Winds walk is shorter than Uluru but more demanding as you climb around the sedimentary rock structures and over pebbly ground. The wildflowers were spectacular and the lizards were busy darting along the track and the views around Kata Tjuta were well worth the walk. We were happy to pack up camp in the morning, leaving bustling Yalara behind and make our way to Kings Canyon Station and have a quiet day before attempting our third big walk in four days.
The hikes were much more pleasurable with the boy’s walking themselves rather than our last visit when I was carting 18-month-old Bailey on my back and Ash, carrying a much heavier three-year-old, Cooper. Kings Canyon rim walk starts off with a serious set of rock steps and with a defibrillator located at the top of the climb, it certainly gives an indication of why it is nicknamed heart attack hill. This walk was my favourite out if the three as the views are truly spectacular and the drop from the cliff edge is dramatic and deep. The kids were well aware of the dangerous cliffs and kept their distance as a fall from somewhere this high would certainly end in disaster. A walk into the Garden of Eden, with the ferns and fresh water was a welcome rest point and a place where the traditional owners once found food and water. Although only 7km long, this hike was more difficult than Uluru but the views were incredible and definitely well worth doing. The boys enjoyed the hikes and I was impressed how well they did it without any complaints. They were happy to put their boots away for a couple of days and get a well-earned ice-cream at the Kings Canyon Resort before getting in the car and heading for the next campsite.