Cooper Pedy - Uluru (Yulara)
16.07.2012 - 17.07.2012 22 °C
About half way between Cooper Pedy and Marla, we come across this old Ford Falcon parked half on the road half off the road and as we get closer we can see somebody standing in the middle of the road waving. Slowing down to investigate we soon realise it is an Aborigional man flagging us down for assistance. It would appear he has had a tyre blown and it is absolutely shredded. Sitting off the road under a shady tree is two aborigional women next to a camp fire! Winding down the window we ask the man if everyone is ok and he greets us by saying "you got a smoke?". After a few exchanges explaining that we don't have any cigarettes, he then asks for food. Having half a loaf of bread in the car we give that to him before making an effort to head off. He keeps asking for a smoke and then says, "PLEASE! I'm desperate, I'll pay you!!", so we ask him if he would like us to call someone and tell him that he is broken down. When we finally get some phone reception further down the road we ring the number he has given us, only to be told by the bloke (aborigional also) on the other end of the line - "Johnny Ulu, yeah i know him. Marla, na dunno where that is". Oh well, we did our best!!
Almost every 20kms or so there is a burnt out shell of a car, a dead give away you are now in the proximity of indigineous people! Stopping further up the road at the Northern Territory Border crossing, we take a break and have some lunch. The amount of camping trailers and caravans is unbelievable! Approximately 95% of all vehicles that we pass are towing something related to travelling. The other 5% is comprised of trucks and non-towing cars. With the rest area full of fellow travellers, all having lunch and getting their picture taken next to the NT sign, it wasn't hard for Mark to get stuck talking to several people! Everyone is keen to have a chat and share their story of where they have been and where they are headed, so it doesn't take much prompting to get a conversation started.
Stopping once again at Curtin Springs for an ice-cream (of which they don't sell!) we came face to face with some of the more "traditional" aborigionals squabbling outside the roadhouse. Mack was very keen to watch what was going on, asking "whats that?"
Pressing on, we finally made it to Ayers Rock! The caravan park here is absolutely chockers, it would appear it is quite the tourist destination! We have been quite impressed with the infastructure and facilities here at the Ayers Rock Resort (although their signage has a bit to be desired). In total there is 10 eating places to choose from, all ranging in price. Even the choice to eat next to Ayers Rock under the stars, for only $260pp! Tempting as it sounds, we decided that some Pad Thai from the Ayers Wok take away would be more within our budget.
The next morning after a lazy sleep-in we got ourselves organise and drove the extra 10kms out to the famous rock. After paying the gate fee of $25pp we were almost there!! Driving around the bend in the road we came right up close and personal - breath taking is the actual size and height of the rock. From afar it would almost appear that it is made up of sand and red dirt rather than rock, but as you get closer you can see that it is definately rock! Amazing how the grooves and caves have formed over time. There is something rather beautiful about such a massive rock. Unfortunately for us Uluru is closed for climbing today After talking to one of the tourist information ladies, it is lucky to be open anymore than 50 days a year! Chatting to a tour guide later in the day, we have since found out that last week a young indigineous boy commited suicide by throwing himself off the rock and everyone was attending the funeral today - hence the closure.
Another chat with a different tour guide, told us that also last week a tourist climbed the rock depsite it been closed for climbing, with the penalty for that misjudgement been $10,000!!!!!!! I don't think we will be risking any climbing today!! We drove around the base, stopping at one of the little walks into a water hole (completely roped off of course). After the excitement of seeing the rock and taking it all in, we headed off to investigate the Olgas, a further 40kms down the road.
Once back at camp we did a re-pack and re-stock (from the surprisingly big supermarket) of food and ute contents. Chucked a load of washing on (I'm still a little scared we might catch something, I don't think those machines have ever seen a cleaning cloth) and then relaxed in the once again beautiful sunny afternoon. Mack has had fun playing on the play equipement and socialising with the kids from next door. After a day of playing in this red dirt, we now have a light redy/brown coloured child! Showers done for the da, we are off to check out the local entertainment at one of the various pubs.
Delle, Mark & Mack