At the start of the year, I made a tentative bucket list of places I wanted to visit. I was in no rush to reach these locations, they just captivated me enough to find a spot on my list of must-visit spots before I die. One of them was closer to home than the rest. In fact, it was in Australia. In the middle of our big old island continent is the biggest rock in the world, Uluru (Ayers Rock). Not only is it an undeniably remarkable land formation it is also one of the most spiritually sacred sites in Australia for our traditional, indigenous landowners.
Something about Uluru was calling me and I usually obey my intuition throughout my world travels. However, I waited on this one and less than a year later I’m sitting in a car flying along the highway writing a blog post about my first few days in the outback.
I managed to creep onto the radar of the Northern Territory Tourism Board who invited me out for a week of adventures in the Aussie Outback. Our aim is to show younger Aussies and those abroad that Uluru is a great destination not just to visit the awe-inspiring rock but to have some unexpected adventures as well. I have to admit I didn’t know there was so much to do out here in the outback. After only a few action-packed days I can confidently advise you that your adrenaline will be pumping and you might be falling into bed with tired eyes.
On our first night, we arrived into Yulara, the town built around Uluru, in the late afternoon. After throwing our bags into the hotel we headed straight out to a viewpoint in preparation for sunset. I was running off a couple hours sleep due to taking the red-eye from Bali the night before. It wasn’t hard to keep awake while hanging out in this epic scenery. Recent rains had the landscape looking much greener than I had imagined, but the bush feel was undeniable.
We wandered throughout the sand dunes, studying snake tracks and covering our feet in spinifex on our way to the perfect little hill to keep an eye on Uluru as the sunset. Champagne seems to be the mandatory beverage while watching a sunset at Uluru so when in Rome.
Waiting more than an hour in one spot is a little hard for me and I began to get a bit restless, looking around for something to explore. Bush jumping was the activity I went for. The group soon found out I was a bit weird and didn’t know how to sit still for more than a minute.
Camels were brought to Australia in the 1800’s and worked for almost a century before most of the population went rogue. We hopped on a tame bunch and went for a sunrise stroll through the bush looking out over Uluru. Camels are way too weird but I love them, they are just like big dogs who love a pat.
Waking up at 4 am for sunrise was the low-key part of the day. After breakfast, our next job was to head to Skydive Uluru and jump 12,000 ft from a tiny plane from above Uluru. The flight up was pretty epic as we circled Uluru and Kata Tjuta, taking in the vast, flat terrain.
Our final stop for the day was to another Uluru viewpoint to watch the sunset. We weren’t blessed with a great sunset on either night but a bit of color popped up over Kata Tjuta for a few seconds.
Below the viewpoint was ‘The Field of Lights’, an art installation of 50,000 solar lights that change colors in the plains beneath Uluru. You can wander through the field in the dark in what is one of the unique light installations in the world.
I’m with a few talented Aussie photographers on this trip and you can check them out at the links below. They are creating some epic shots for the tourism board and have some really unique styles and approaches to content creation.
Day 1 & 2 were nonstop and we aren’t slowing down. Next up is another 430am start for another sunrise this time up close and personal with Uluru before riding bikes around the base and then a hike at King’s Canyon.