In August, Olivia – part of our Marketing team in Australia – experienced the heart of Australia on our Globus ‘Gems of the Red Centre’ tour.
I was fortunate to join the 6-day Globus ‘Gems of the Red Centre’ tour which began in Alice Springs and travelled down to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park via Kings Canyon.
When you first arrive in Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park you soon realise, a photo does not depict a thousand words because photos just don’t do this natural beauty justice! You really must see it for yourself.
Our first experience of Uluru was driving around the rock and stopping at key sacred Aboriginal sites, including Mutitjulu Water Hole and Cave. Our knowledgeable driver, John, explained the history, the stories behind the rock paintings and the ceremonies that still to this day take place at Uluru. This was followed by sunset drinks as we toasted to our first day in this magical part of Australia.
I cannot express enough how special it was to visit the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre. Home to Anangu history, artefacts and – my favourite – the art studio and gallery which is 100% owned by the Anangu people. We were lucky enough to see artists dot painting and purchase a few paintings. This visit gave me a better understanding of the sacred land we were on, the Anangu people, and the flora and fauna of Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park. If you time it right, you may see a cultural demonstration, too (handy tip: you cannot take photos inside the Cultural Centre).
If you find you have free time, or you decide to extend you trip, I would highly recommend hiring a bike to ride around the base of Uluru. We took our time pedalling the full loop of the rock, marvelling at the ever-changing rock with every turn. The terrain is completely flat and fine for all abilities and took us 2.5 hours with many photo stops along the way. It was a great activity, even if you prefer to only do part of the track. Another option is to walk around the base. The park offers a free guided tour in the morning most days (another handy tip: you can buy a bike hire pass that includes the hop on/off bus).
A highlight included on our tour was a visit to The Field of Lights, an immersive art installation aptly named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’. As we weaved our way through the thousands of colourful solo-powered lights, we were in awe that such a beautiful sight could be located in the desert.
Visiting Kata Tjuta was my top highlight! We firstly explored the Walpa Gorge walk, a short rocky track nestled between two of the unique domes that form Kata Tjuta. On this track you fully take in the enormous scale of domes and the birdlife that lives within them. We decided to extend for another two nights which allowed us to hire a car and drive out to Kata Tjuta to hike the Valley of the Winds trail. As the name suggests, it was a windy, challenging-in-parts walk although worth every step once you reach the platform with breath-taking views straight down the valley (wind swept picture above). If you are a bird-lover or photographer, this is the walk for you!
We opted for the camel ride excursion which saw us trek through the Outback for 30 minutes on our trusty ride, Beeja. With Uluru as our backdrop, our guides shared their knowledge about these gentle giants and history of cameleers enduring long treks through the Outback. This was a VERY entertaining (albeit dusty) experience with a lot of laughs!
Last, but not least, the Sounds of Silence dinner was the perfect way to round off a fantastic tour with a great group of people. Our dinner began with sunset drinks overlooking Kata Tuja that proceeded to an outdoor dining experience like no other. In the middle of the dessert, we were treated to a bush tucker inspired 3-course meal, followed by a star-gazing talk. We had a cloudy night with no stars in sight, however the talk was interesting and concluded with a moment’s silence to listen to the sounds of the desert.
Experience the heart of Australia on the 6-day Globus ‘Gems of the Red Centre’ tour today.