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AUSTRALIA - DAY TWENTY - Adelaide to Uluru

Previous Blogs: Day 1 Portland & Honolulu | Day 2 Oahu | Day 3+4 Melbourne | Day 5 Williamstown | Day 6 Launceston | Day 7 Cradle Mountain | Day 8 Road to Hobart | Day 9 Port Arthur | Day 10 Apollo Beach | Day 11 Port Fairy | Day12+13 Southern Ports | Day 14 Kangaroo Island | Day 15 Kangaroo Island | Day 16 Kangaroo Island | Day 17 Adelaide | Day 18 Adelaide | Day 19 Adelaide Hills | Day 20+21 Uluru | Day 22+23 Alice Springs | Day 24 Darwin | Day 25 Darwin | Day 26+27 Port Douglas | Day 28 Daintree | Day 29+30 Gold Coast | Day 31+32 Brisbane | Day 33 Brisbane | Day 34-36 Hawaii

Click photos for a larger image...


It was time to fly to Uluru. There is no direct flight so we flew on a 737 to Alice Springs, had an hour layover and then flew on to Uluru in a smaller Boeing 717.

Alice Springs has the tiniest airport, but it also has an outdoor smoking section where you can also drink a beer within the security area. Nice!

And it was here that we came across a very common bird in the Outback, a pigeon with a Mohawk!!!

We took the free shuttle to our hotel. Uluru is a National Park and owned by the Aborigines, so everything is tightly controlled and a basic Monopoly. There are 4 hotels and a campground in a single complex. All is run by the exact same company.

There is no towns nearby. This is the Outback, this is all there is for 300 miles, with Alice Springs being  the closest town.

There is one grocery store and a few gift shops. The company provides a free shuttle bus that makes the rounds between all hotels and facilities every 20 minutes.

I will say we LOVED our hotel room, which was basically a one bed apartment.

Not sure why the bed appears to be made up for 3 people - but I am not going there!

When you travel like we do, very light with only enough clothing for a week, seeing a full washer and dryer in your hotel room with free detergent is WONDERFUL!

Nice balcony with table and chairs and a fully equipped kitchen with fridge, stove, microwave and even an electric wok.

This is the only liquor store there is for 300 miles. Owned by the Company, you can ONLY buy beer and wine, no hard liquor and boy do you have to pay for it!!!

Bottle wine, cheapest $25

6 pack of beer $26!!


Surprisingly enough, the grocery store was not outrageous, but the booze certainly was. Good thing I packed in a bottle of scotch from Adelaide!

Here is the walk from our hotel to the liquor store (if you can call it that).

Uluru is NOT supposed to be this green, it has not been this green in 9 years. But they have had a lot of rain that brought all the plants out. In fact they have hired some scientists to determine the types of some of the plants because they have never seen them before.

Normally everything is just red sand with the odd tree and bush.

The rest of the day was spent doing laundry and chillaxing.

Bear in mind the temperatures here are HOT. We arrived to a blistering 112 F. But it is a dry heat so not really as bad as Florida in mid summer to be honest.


We had been booked on both the sunrise and sunset tours of Uluru so it was going to be a LONG day. We got up at 4 am to catch our 5 am shuttle.

Uluru is not a mountain, it is one single rock. The majority of the rock is still underground, traveling almost 2 miles deep into the ground.

And the part that is above the ground is over 1000 feet high, taller than the Eiffel Tower.

It was created 600 million years ago and was originally under an ocean.

Before sunrise

After sunrise when the sun rays hit the rock.

From there we went to see Kata Tjuta which is as old as Uluru but completely different because it is not a single rock but multiple rocks that were welded together by sandstone. And as the years passed the elements wore away the sandstone and softer rock leaving behind the hard rock, hence the different shapes.

After returning to our hotel for breakfast at 10 am, we then took the shuttle to go see a camel farm. camels are a BIG DEAL in Australia. Australia has the largest herd of camels in the world, more than the Middle East put together.  In fact, Australia sells most of their camels to Saudi Arabia.

They had two baby camels

Then it was back to the hotel for another short rest and at 3 pm we departed for our afternoon tour of Uluru base and sunset. The only problem with this tour is that it was WAY too long. The tour guide now told  us all the same stories we heard on the sunrise tour, so it was very boring, but nice seeing Uluru up close and personal right at the base of the rock.

The local Aborigines do not like people climbing the rock. As you can see there is a section with poles and chains to grab only, but it is still dangerous. Currently only 26% of visitors climb the rock, when that drops to below 20% they have agreed to stop climbing completely.

The locals regard Uluru as a very sacred place. The have an ancient culture going back 35,000 years.They DO NOT want their pictures taken and get very offended if you try. There are several areas around the rock you are not allowed to take pictures of. The Kata Tjuta cannot be viewed by their women they are not allowed to even look at it, so the Parks Board built the road to it in such a way that at no stage on the road are you looking directly at the mountain as local women drive this road. Women and men are equal though, there are woman's sacred places men are not allowed to see as well. If you do look punishment is quite severe.

There are many things about their culture they have refused to share with the Europeans.

Then it was time for sunset viewing. Not overly spectacular as the sun went behind a cloud bank in the West.

And finally...

At sunset they provided us with free snacks, free wine... and apparently a photo bomb!!

Camel head...

Camel toe... uh.. no, I am NOT going there!