Uluru Base tour.
Up early to be picked up (8.40am) for this tour around the base of Ayres Rock (Uluru). When we arrived at the climb station the climb had just been closed for the day and there were a few people coming down the last stage. Heather (our guide) explained that a few years ago, a Japanese tourist, as he was descending, saw what he thought was his bus leaving. He started to run down the rock, tripped and fell for so far at such speed that he was dead on arrival. What a way to go. We toured on foot and saw lots of aboriginal art work, where the locals had held their schooling lessons for the younger generations. The artwork being the lessons to be learnt….. visual aids. Some was reported to be over 300 years old. We were also taken to a watering hole where the water comes off the rock and fills a pool about the size of a tennis court. Here we had an explanation about the local legend of Kuniya, a snake who’s image can be found on the rock. Also the heart shape depression where she coiled herself to contemplate the fate of her nephew who had been killed as part of “Man’s business”.
A lot of the vegetation around here showed signs of being burnt and apparently a few local children set fire to the area back in 2003 (or thereabouts). They got into a lot of trouble and the fire service could not get too close as the heat generated by the gum trees was so intense. However the fire has triggered a lot of seed germination and it is now a greener place than it has been for many years. Heather told us that the annual rainfall is between 75 and 180mm of water per year. Over the past few months they have had 750mm. The sounds of Silence dinner on the 21st Jan was cut short by a thunderstorm. An aboriginal told her that he has not seen the area look so green in 45 years. Tomorrow we get up even earlier (4am) for the sunrise viewing. So more photos then, but we will not post again until we are in Cairns. Photos here.