After Bribie Island and the Australia Zoo, our next stop was Uluru. Getting to Uluru required a couple more flights, first a short 1 1/2 hour flight to Sydney and then about a 3 1/2 hour flight up to Uluru. We filled three days and three nights with tours around the big rock as we observed it in all lights of day and learned about the indigenous people.
Uluru is an impressive site, a giant piece of granite in the middle of the Australian desert. Under the guidance of Southern World Australia, we filled our time in the national park with several tours. Our favorites were the small group tours Southern World arranged for us with SEIT Outback Australia.
We spent our first afternoon on a Patji tour, escorted by our SEIT guide as well as an Aboriginal guide so that we could access and explore protected lands within the park. Our aboriginal guide sited wildlife, told us stories about his family’s past, dug up some fresh witchity grubs for us to sample, and started several small fires for us at various stops along the way to help keep the flies away.
On our second day, we spent our morning learning about dot art, and painting our own dot art stories. In the evening, we watched the sun set over Uluru and then took a night stroll through the Field of Light.
Day three, we were up before sunrise to take a morning tour around the base of Uluru with SEIT Outback Australia. It was on this tour that we learned that Uluru’s color is a result of the rusting iron in the rock. Later that afternoon, we visited Kata Tjuta, the other large rock formation within the park. The stories around Kata Tjuta are much more guarded and protected by the aboriginals and there are many sacred protected areas around the formations. On our walk we learned about how the rocks were formed hundreds of thousands of years ago.
On our final morning, we were again out of our accommodation before the light of day, this time for a sunrise camel ride. Watching the stars be erased by the early morning sunlight, bundled up, sitting on the back of a camel was a perfect, peaceful ending to our time in Uluru. I think we all took a bit of a nap during our return flight to Sydney.
I really liked riding the camels. When they stood up, they first raised their back legs and then their front, so it was a little scary when you aren’t used to it.
On our tour we touched held and ate wichety grubs. They tasted like nutty cheese. I didn’t really like how they tasted and I didn’t like that I was eating a bug.
I liked learning about the Aboriginal stories. My favorite one was about two snakes. One snake was a girl, and the other was a boy. The girl snake had a feeling that she had to come to Uluru, so she made her eggs into a necklace and brought them to Uluru. There she found her nephew wounded by the King Cobra. She fights with the King Cobra and beats him in the end. On Uluru, you can see the snake trail marks going up the side. I liked hearing the story while you could see the signs on the rock that the story was about. One of the rock piles even looked like a snake’s head.
My favorite thing that we did in Uluru was the Camel ride because I love to ride horses. Everyone was telling me how different it was from riding a horse, so I had to try it out. I was expecting it to be fun, and I loved it. I just like being on animals.
I also really liked the 6-hour tour on our first day. The guide was really nice and we got to eat wichety grubs. I liked them, but I was disgusted that I was eating a bug, so I only had one bite.
At the resort we learned about dot art. It was fun to learn what the symbols and different color dots meant. Overall Uluru was really great, but there were too many flies and roaches.
We’ve arranged for most of our family touring in Australia through Southern World. We like exploring new destinations by all methods of travel – cruising, touring, or on our own. The thing we like best about private custom tours is that we can collaborate with and design our experience exactly the way we want, under the expert guidance of a trusted local operator.
With mom in meetings for our time in Melbourne, we don’t have any scheduled tours planned until we arrive in Uluru. Even though we didn’t have anything organized for a few weeks after we arrived, Southern World was kind enough to send an abundance of local touring options we could explore on our own during our first couple of weeks in Australia. The information was all waiting for us when we arrived in Melbourne, especially nice that we didn’t receive it at home and have one more thing to pack.
There are several options for cruising around the perimeter of Australia – Large ship, small ship, expedition. The cruises are a great way to see the sections of the country you may like to return to at a later date. With as long as it takes to get to Australia from the States, we recommend also organizing some pre-or post touring to explore some of the interior of the country as well.
Taking a tour with a small group provides the opportunity to experience the sites of Australia with other like-minded travelers on popular pre-designed itineraries.