Family holiday to Uluru, Northern Territory
Spending three days at Australia’s most spiritually significant landmark was a gift, and the fact that Chris and I were able to do so along with Meghan, 14, and Ella, 9, made this trip of a lifetime even better.Our excitement reached its peak as we flew over the red sand and Uluru before touching down at Ayers Rock Airport. We, along with everyone else on our Jetstar flight, had our cameras up at the window ready to capture the first sight of Uluru as we flew in.”It looks amazing but I hope we don’t get rock fatigue over the next few days”, Meghan said once it had come into view.Personally, I could have stared at it for hours; it felt surreal after only having seen it in pictures previously.
I felt like I had achieved a lot by just stepping off the plane. Uluru has been on the top of my travel to-do list for as long as I can remember. it is followed by India, San Francisco and the Margaret River region.While I spent hours throughout our trip looking out at the breathtaking landscapes from our base at the newly renovated Sails in the Desert Hotel, my Uluru highlight happened at night when we went on the Family Astro Tour.I don’t think I’ve been happier than when I was lying on a blanket on top of the warm red sand in the middle of the desert watching the night sky come alive above me. It was magical. I’ve never seen so many stars twinkle as brightly, or as many shooting stars jetting across the horizon as I did during this star-gazing tour.Chris and I spent an hour staring up at the night sky as our astrology guide pointed out constellations while Meghan and Ella looked at planets through telescopes.We would have stayed out there all night if the resort’s buffet dinner wasn’t calling our names.The magic continued the following morning when we rose an hour-and-a-half before sunrise to take part in the Voyages Desert Awakenings tour. It was an intimate group made up of just three families including our own.Together we drove along isolated dirt roads to a sunrise breakfast site nestled on the side of a secluded sand dune. Here we shared breakfast rolls, billy tea and damper around a fire as we watched the horizon change from a curtain of stars to the early morning sun. Full, warm and having watched the sunrise over Uluru and the nearby rock formations of Kata Tjuta, we were all feeling relaxed and content.Little did we know that it was just the warm up for the main event which was a morning spent walking around the base of Uluru. Nothing quite prepared us for just how awesome Uluru is and, interestingly, it looks very little like its picture postcard view up close.On the day of our visit the climb was closed, not that we would have climbed it anyway. Aside from being dangerously steep and slippery, Uluru is a sacred site for the local Anangu people and they ask visitors not to climb it out of respect for their culture and traditions.We spent hours visiting key sites around the base including the Mutitjulu waterhole and ancient rock paintings as our guide Eric explained their cultural significance.There’s no denying that there is a sense of magic surrounding Uluru that is closely linked to the cultural beliefs of the local indigenous people. It was woven into everything we did from buying lunch from Gecko Cafe, which is staffed by the students from the National Indigenous Training Academy, the Cultural Dance Workshop where we learned Aboriginal dance moves and at the Maruku Arts Dot Painting Workshop.
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