Uluru, NT

The Red Centre Road Trip (Part 2)

As we pick up from where we left off in The Red Centre Road Trip (Part 1), Part 2 takes me on an exciting journey towards some of the most iconic landmarks of the region. The itinerary includes a visit to the magnificent Kings Canyon, the breathtaking Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), and of course, the legendary Uluru (Ayers Rock). These sites are considered the crown jewels of the area and are must-see destinations for anyone exploring the Red Centre.

As often is the case, Mother Nature had her own plans in store, forcing me to make some necessary adjustments to the itinerary. Cyclone Ilsa had recently made landfall on the Western Australia coast and was now projected to head towards the Red Centre. This impending natural disaster meant that I had to take precautions and alter my plans accordingly to ensure my safety while still being able to make the most of The Red Centre adventure.

Photographed using

Distance: 6450kms

Start: 08/04/2023

Finish: 21/04/2023

On my Red Centre Road Trip, the next destination on my list was Glen Helen, where I was eager to explore the numerous surrounding sites, including the picturesque Ormiston Gorge. However, upon arrival, I was greeted with some alarming news: Cyclone Ilsa, which had recently struck the Western Australian coast, was now headed towards the Red Centre.

The staff at the Glen Helen Gorge Resort and Campground advised me to stay put and not venture out. Taking their advice, I traded my swag for a comfortable room and prepared to bunker down for the next two days. As it turned out, heavy rains ensued over the next 48 hours, and I realised that staying put at the resort was the best decision I could have made.

When the rain had eased up a bit, I attempted to make a quick visit to Ormiston Gorge, capturing a few snapshots before the downpour resumed. Hastily, I retreated back to the security of my room for shelter.

Following my two-day stay at the drenched Glen Helen, I set out on my journey to Kings Canyon via the Mereenie Loop Road, which had also been heavily impacted by the recent rainfall. The drive turned out to be a thrilling experience as many parts of the road were inundated with water. The numerous water crossings along the way caused my car to transform from white to red.

Upon reaching the Kings Canyon Resort and Campground, where I had reserved a campsite with an ensuite, I took some time to rest. Later that evening, I attended the Light Towers at Night exhibition, savoring the delicious canapes and wine on offer. The Light Towers at Night exhibit is a sound and light installation created by the acclaimed British artist Bruce Munro. Known globally for his renowned Field of Light exhibit at Uluru. It did not blow my mind, but I did enjoy the atmosphere and enjoyed the food and wine.

In the morning, I was off to do the famous rim walk at Kings Canyon. The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is a must-do activity for any traveler exploring the Red Centre of Australia. Located in Watarrka National Park, just a three-hour drive from Uluru, Kings Canyon features towering 300m high sandstone walls, palm-filled crevices, and breathtaking views that stretch across the desert.

The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is a 6km circuit that will take you down into the Garden of Eden, a beautiful rockhole surrounded by rare plants, before ascending to 360° panoramic views over the red sand dunes. The walk is suitable for relatively fit travelers (of which I am not, so I was exhausted after completing the walk), with the first 500 steps being the most challenging.

The Rim Walk takes around 3-4 hours and is best tackled at sunrise before the temperature rises. My advice is this: if you have weak ankles or knees, do not do this walk. My knees were just about shot by the end of this walk, and it is not the distance that gets you, it is the constant pressure on the joints, in particular the knees and ankles. But if you can do it, do it!

To be honest, I find it challenging to capture the grandeur of Kings Canyon, and its immense size is unrepresentable through photographs.

As I continued on my Red Centre Road Trip, I made my way to the next destination: Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Upon arriving, I immediately set my sights on Uluru, which beckoned me to explore its majestic beauty. The first activity on my itinerary was a 10-kilometer bike ride around the colossal rock, which was an absolute thrill that I highly recommend. As I pedaled along, I marveled at the imposing monolith that stood before me, its red sandstone surface gleaming in the bright Australian sun.

After finishing my bike ride, I made my way to the awe-inspiring Kata Tjuta, also known as the Olgas. These 36 domed rocks, believed to be around 500 million years old, are a geological marvel and a sacred site for the Anangu people. I was humbled by the sheer magnitude of the site and the rich cultural significance it held.

As the sun began to dip low in the sky, I made my way back to Uluru for the highly anticipated sunset photos. The changing hues of the rock, from a warm, golden glow to a deep, rich red, were a sight to behold. It was truly a mesmerizing experience that left me with a deep appreciation for the natural beauty and cultural significance of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

Kata Tjuta is located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Uluru, making it a popular destination for visitors to the area who want to explore the unique and stunning landscapes of the Red Centre. Kata Tjuta, also known as the Olgas, is a geological wonder comprised of 36 massive domed rocks. Kata Tjuta is a sacred site for the Anangu people and holds great cultural significance.

The appearance of Kata Tjuta varies greatly depending on the viewing location. Observing Kata Tjuta from the official viewing platform located roughly halfway to the site provides a markedly different perspective than what many people envision in their minds.

Due to a malfunctioning solar panel and the discomfort of not having my typical rooftop tent to sleep in, I made the decision to cut my trip short and head back home earlier than planned. However, this setback has only fueled my excitement for my next adventure in June: exploring The Kimberley on another epic road trip.

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