Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Experience Uluru-Kata Tjuta - The heart of the Red Centre

Set in the heart of the Australian outback, the Red Centre encompasses a vast area in the Northern Territory including the thriving township of Alice Springs, the MacDonnell Ranges, Watarrka National Park (home to Kings Canyon) and the unforgettable monoliths of World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Considered the spiritual heart of Australia, this region’s gem is Uluru (Ayers Rock), but the region offers visitors so much more! Every visitor to Uluru will attest that pictures just don’t do it justice. It’s a region full of majesty and other natural wonders; with Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) neighbouring Uluru and Kings Canyon a few hours’ drive away. 

One of the great natural wonders of the world, Uluru towers above the surrounding landscape. Geologists say its formation began about 550 million years ago. Uluru is not only a spectacular natural formation; it’s a deeply spiritual place. Explore Uluru by taking to the skies in a helicopter, or up close by circumnavigating its 10.6 kilometre base on a guided segway tour, or climb onto the back of a camel to meander through the rich red sand dunes with an awe-inspiring backdrop. Learn more about the local flora, fauna, bush tucker, dot painting and the ‘tjukurpa’ (foundations of life and society) from the local ‘Anangu’ Aboriginal people.

Kata Tjuta is 40km west of Uluru, the 36-weathered ochre-coloured rock domes are an intriguing and mesmerising sight. Meaning 'many heads,' Kata Tjuta is sacred site to the local Anangu men, who have inhabited the area for more than 22,000 years. It forms an important focus of their spiritual life. Kata Tjuta offers two walks that will take you between the majestic domes. The Walpa Gorge Walk is a 1-hour walk along a gentle rocky track that rises gently and passes rare plants and leads to a grove of spearwood. The Valley of the Winds is a 3-hour hike, taking you on a loop through the heart of the domes. Alternatively, capture panoramic views of Kata Tjuta from the dune viewing area where you can sight this ancient wonder glowing and appearing to change colour at sunrise or sunset.

Only 3 hours from Uluru, Kings Canyon is a majestic destination featuring 100m-high sandstone walls, palm-filled crevices and views that stretch across the desert landscape.  The guided Kings Canyon Rim Walk enables marvellous views of Watarrka National Park. You could choose a shorter walk across the boulder strewn canyon creek bed or descend into the green oasis of the ‘Garden of Eden’. Known as Australia’s outback pioneering town, visitors to Alice Springs are surprised to discover its trendy cafĂ© culture, contemporary art scene and historic sites. Framed by the MacDonnell Ranges and the desert landscape, Alice Springs has all the conveniences of a modern township enriched with Aboriginal tradition and European explorer history. See the animals that live in Central Australia's habitats at the wildlife park, wander around Australia's only arid zone botanic garden, view outstanding galleries of Aboriginal art, cycle to Simpsons Gap to see the permanent waterhole and the colony of rock wallabies, or watch kangaroos bound across the spinifex plains from a hot air balloon at dawn.

The East and West MacDonnell Ranges stretch out for hundreds of kilometres on both sides of Alice Springs and are an adventure playground with hiking trails, four-wheel drive tracks, swimming holes, and camping spots.

Don’t wait! Add a little outback to your next Australian adventure.