20161213

Kata Tjuta, Tuesday, 12/13/16


Kata Tjuta is the other major landmark that forms wondrous Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.  Also known (or should I say, previously known), as The Olgas, it's roughly 20 miles WNW of Uluru.

The RS group took off at 8:45 on a field trip to explore Kata Tjuta (pretend the "j" isn't there, and it's easy to pronounce kata tuta).  They went without me, though I would've loved going, but I'd been plagued with an annoying itchy rash that drives me nuts in hot, sunny weather.  When Jimmy returned, he said I was smart to stay in, because it was flat-out hot ... but I wished ... oh well.  These, then, are Jimmy's photos, and they're beautiful; I know you'll agree.


The colors are beyond wondrous -- they're radiant!


So, 36 ochre-colored domes make up Kata Tjuta.  Kata Tjuta means "many heads" in a local (Pitjantjatjara) language ... the name is certainly apt!  The domes are spread over an area of more than 12 miles (20 km), with Mount Olga the highest point at 3497' (1066m) above sea level.  These are only stats -- imagine yourself facing these awesome sandstone monoliths!

This is an Anangu men's site and is sacred under Tjukurpa (law). Everyone is welcome and encouraged to visit, but as with all areas of the park, they ask you to please stay on the marked tracks.


Their first stop off the coach was a short walk on a (handicap accessible) concrete path to a dune-viewing platform for a photo-op of Kata Tjuta.  Jimmy got a shot of the group making their way on the path.


As water bottles were being filled, some spilled, and it only took a few seconds before Tufted pigeons arrived to help themselves to a drink.  Free water!




I love this picture -- the interplay of colors talks to me.


Calandrine (Portulacaceae)

Just like USA deserts -- after a rain, pretty wildflowers bloom. Apparently Walpa Gorge is a desert refuge for plants and animals.




A short drive later and close to the remarkable domes, the group began the Walpa (windy) Gorge walk -- a modest 1.5 miles, on a rocky track that gently rose to a sometimes-stream, ending at a grove of Spearwood.  When I asked Jimmy about it, he answered, "It was hot and uneventful."  Okay.  In his defense, despite the beauty of the park, we were all kinda worn out by this point, and the heat was pretty overwhelming.






What an experience they must have had walking within the sheer walls and experiencing this amazing landscape.


One important thing our guide shared with us was the silly phrase:  Slip, slop, slap, slurp -- meaning slip into protective clothing, slop on SPF 30+, slap on a broad-brimmed hat, and slurp water often.  Good advice, and a cool way, so to speak, of remembering how to stay safe in hot, sunny weather!


Brian (above) and Jimmy walked together most of the way.


After they returned and we had lunch, it was time to to leave.  Here we are at 3:15pm, ready to board at Ayers Rock Airport. This will be our tenth flight of this trip (yeow!) ... only three more to go and we'll be home. 😉 This plane will take us east, to Cairns, Queensland, Australia, on the Coral Sea, gateway to The Great Barrier Reef.


Even miles away and up in the air, Uluru is an impressive sight!  So long for now!

2 comments:

  1. I have looked at this post and the previous one several times, Nickie, and as you can imagine, I love it. I love the aerial views and the up close views. The geology of the thing is truly amazing, and the magical colors reflect my life time attraction to red sandstones. I am so glad you went there. So sorry that it was hot and that you had to deal with that silly itchy thing. Hopefully your snowy weather in Nevada City has made that problem a thing of the past. Now I have to go back and look again at the maps of Uluru.

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