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Uluru–Pukulpa pitjama Ananguku ngurakutu

7 Jan

Tuesday afternoon

So much has happened already this week – so many thoughts spinning in my head, so much wonder and beauty. We start out with a walk round part of the base to the Kantju Gorge. The rules of Tjurkupa (chook-orr-pa) apply – Tjurkupa is what we often translate as ‘The Dreaming’ and is their belief system, their law, their heritage. Much of their beliefs are grounded in creation stories, where the world was created through the magical behaviour of man, animal, bird and fish. Many places around Uluru are so sacred that they cannot be photographed (one, Mala Puta, which is seen as the birthplace of the people, is so sacred that many white people (including our tour guide) avoid looking at it as they pass). Because of the photographic restrictions, we only ever really see the one view of Uluru – the one in all the photographs, taken from the sunset viewing platform. It’s difficult to work out which view is or isn’t permitted, though… so I’ve taken care to limit the Uluru photographs here, just in case. After the walk, a leisurely trip back to our camp site at Yalara resort (with showers. Running water. Electric light) and preparation for a sunset viewing of Uluru – during the sunset the rock changes colour dramatically, and the official viewing platform (Disney Rock, according to the guides) is jammed with people and occasional ‘rock rage’ over seats and viewing space breaks out. Imagine the fury when a hapless motorist parked in between the platform and the rock…

Anyway, we elect to view from the camp site – 10km further out, but with more space.. in fact I spent a couple of hours just watching the rock before sunset – eventually joined by the rest of the crew. But the sky is overcast, and so the rock stays determinedly the same colour. But what we DO have are glorious views over towards Kata Tjutu and some glorious sunrises in that direction.

Uluru from Yulara (32)Yalara Campsite (2)Sunset from Yulara (55)Sunset from Yulara (59)Sunset from Yulara (60)Uluru from Yulara (21)

We spend the evening memorising each others’ names (not an easy task for the Europeans memorising Chinese names – or, come to think of it, the other way round). We play ‘I can see the moon in the spoon’ which frustrates me intensely until the penny drops.

Back to our swags, and another night under the stars. or it would be, if it wasn’t for those clouds. But around midnight the sky clears and a truly beautiful display lights up the sky. And my thoughts are drawn back to that song.. “You light up the sky to show that you love me”. It’s cold, and the swag is welcome… until I am rudely awakened at 4:30 by Paul, the tour guide. He’s an Aussie, so I really do mean ‘rudely awakened’.

And we’re off to Uluru. The stars are still out, but the sun is rising slowly over the rock.

Uluru Base Walk (34)

So, what did I choose? Well, I realised, actually, that in keeping with the beliefs of the Anangu culture, that this is all a dreaming anyway (more thoughts on THAT to come!) – and nothing has any meaning save the meaning we give it. Which is very much at the heart of my personal beliefs. So I don’t need to climb the rock as any rite of passage or to prove anything – I can just choose to decide what is true for me.  But I do send a part of me soaring skywards to see the top of the rock.

Uluru From View Platform (16)Uluru From View Platform (18)

The question is moot, anyway – the climb is closed due to wind. But somehow it seems important to have answered the question for myself.

So we walk round the base of the rock – it’s massive, and immense, and thought provoking as I walk. Many areas are blocked from photography, although I may have got one or two shots wrong.. in which case, I apologise! At one point I do get to walk on the rock at ground level – but since the vast proportion of Uluru is below ground (it’s an insul berg) then I guess I’m kind of walking on the top, sort of….

Uluru Base Walk (36) The Song LineUluru Base Walk (11) The Climb


It almost takes me to a different space – I feel very close to nature, to my Creator, to my purpose and destiny, to other people.. as if the rock is connecting me in some way to truth, and to the Universe.

And then off. Uluru is a truly special place – and yet no place is more sacred than another – and no place is less sacred than another. So somewhere in all this experience, I’ve encountered myself in a deeper way. Much, truly, to think of…

And back on the bus. I’ve got the job of keeping the driver awake on the long haul run home… and it really is a long haul run. The roads are dead straight, and there are huge 5 or 6 trailer road trains that take around a kilometre to stop. We even see the evidence of what happens when one sheds a tyre… a skid that goes on for a long, long, long time.

Finally back to Annie’s, where the girl on reception is still very amused by me (but in a good way, I am assured) and is very pleased to meet Tigger and Snuff.

Celebration with the crew, beers all round, and time to think, to plan, and to plot how on earth I am getting to Darwin (and whether I need to worry about the East Coast floods)

(oh – that headline? “Welcome to aboriginal land”

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