Monday, February 14, 2011

Kata Tjuta

We woke up at 5 and hurriedly packed everything up! It was a one hour drive left to Watarrka National Park so we zoomed off for a busy day! We stopped by Ayer's Rock Resort to quickly shower for the first time and use real flushing toilets, I felt much more refreshed! Except I woke up with a terrible sunburn and I mean, terrible - but I'll rave on about that later.

Intense inclines

We saw a mob of wild camels by the road munching on some grass, they are so adorable! Then we started our trek up Kata Tjuta (or western name, The Olgas) it was about a 4 hour journey up the rocks and it was yet again, tiring. This time it was even worse as Kata Tjuta is pretty much what you would imagine the face of Mars would be like. Rocky and far from sturdy.

On the way we crushed some ocre stones and mixed it with water (the Aboriginals use animal fat to make the texture more like paint) and revealed how the Aboriginals used to paint on rocks and bodies for ceremonies. If you search hard enough, you can get every colour of the rainbow!


We also ran into some bush cannabis, which was distinctive in the air! And also two dead mice, one chewed off by ants and the other drowned in water. There were many waterholes and creeks due to the unexpected wet season, but it just meant that we could take a rest and dunk our feet in with the tadpoles. Apparently, if you sit still the tadpoles come and nibble dead skin off your toes (ewww) but I was more conscious about the river beetles that bite so I kept splashing my intimidating feet around.

We crawled back down, tired, sweaty and exhausted. Kings Canyon zapped all our energy away so Kata Tjuta was much harder. Each step I took my muscles resisted and my legs were shaky as I forced them to keep moving.

First touch of Ayer's Rock

Afterwards, we drove half an hour away (in the same national park) to the almighty, renowned world's largest rock. Today was just an exposure to the cultural aspect of Aboriginal lifestyles and traditions, but it was very interesting. We were told stories (like the Dreamtime but this tribe doesn't call it that) but due to respect, we were only allowed to hear children stories. We were shown sacred spots in Ayer's Rock that symbolized women, men, food, birth etc.

We saw 8000 year old rock paintings, some surrounding bush tucker, and were told why we would be advised against climbing the Rock. The climb was closed anyway, due to the scorching weather - but many tourists chose to climb the 380m tall rock as its a feat to boast. However, many also chose to respect the culture of the Aboriginal tribes as they work for years to be able to have the privilege to climb Ayer's Rock to prove that they are no longer boys, and for us to just come along and skip the whole hard work of living alone in the wild for 3 years and just climb it. It's disrespectful.
These moehawk pigeons are so cute LOL




I guess its like if I invited you guys over to my place and asked you to take your shoes off, you would right? They're just asking us not to climb it. Apparently, people urinate, poo, leave toilet paper, nappies (who would even take a baby up there?! More than 35 people died trying to climb the Rock, the latest like only 12 weeks ago!) even tampons.. That's just absolutely disgusting.
Ramona, my new German backpacker friend!


Flaus, another German backpacker - who got a letter for Valentine's Day awww!

Some Anangu people selling paintings

We then scooted over to the viewing area to see Ayer's Rock as a whole, to see the colour changing sunset that the Rock reflected. I must say that it was enchanting.

Happy Valentine's Day! Our vehicle was got scribbled on.. Hahaha!

We then popped into our swags and slept at the Ayers Rock Resort campergrounds.