After watching the sun come up over Uluru, it was time to travel over to Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas. The Olgas are named after the tallest peak in the range, Mount Olga, which was named after Queen Olga of Württemberg. Kata Tjuta and Uluru are actually part of the same rock layer that pokes out through the sand. Their red colour is due to iron in the rock. As we walked through the low lands before climbing up into the rocks themselves, we had an impromptu geology lesson from Jerry:
The lesson was interrupted when we spotted a kangaroo in the distance. I whipped out my trusty 300mm lens and snapped away. Not my best kangaroo photo ever, but the only one of a wild kangaroo so far:
From the low-lying lands we climbed into the rockier valley area of Kata Tjuta. This part was more desert-like than the lower-lying lands, but there was an oasis in the valley, teeming with bird life:
It wasn’t as hot as it looks in the photos. Yes, the sky was big and blue, but it was early and still cool. We all had to dress quite warmly, even though we were hiking.
The most breath-taking part of the walk through Kata Tjuta was the huge valley opening out onto the rest of the park:
We had a little tea-break here, and munched on ANZAC biscuits. Since we’d be parting company soone, it seemed like a good chance for a group photo:
The plan for most of the group was to take the bus back to Alice Springs and then fly on to wherever they needed to go. My very clever travel agent suggested I fly to my next destination (Cairns) from Ayer’s Rock airport. This airport was even smaller than Alice Springs’ airport. After checking in my big bag, I was then searched at security, as usual. The guards then let me know I was free to wander back outside if I wanted a smoke break or just some air. After flying international routes for so long under the oppressive gaze of security paranoia, and all the security theatre it entails, it was hugely refreshing to travel internally in Australia.
It was here that I found the best coffee in the Outback, and some even better company to while away the hours until my flight was scheduled to take me to Cairns. Like me, Barbara was taking some time off from the rat race, but unlike me, she was really going for it, taking the opportunity to work her way around Australia and really let it all soak in. I was reminded just how little time I had left in my grand odyssey, two months really didn’t feel like enough time when compared to the time other people were taking. With these thoughts in mind, I hopped onto my plane and looked down on Uluru and the Outback once more. Would I ever come back here? Would I get another shot at seeing the other parts of the world I hadn’t seen yet?