Andrea’s Adventures in the Land Down Under (2014) – Uluru Sunset and Aussie BBQ

G’day, mates (tee hee)!

It was late afternoon on the 27th of October 2014, when the tour bus picked me at the Sails in the Desert Hotel bound for Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park.  Uluru, also known as Ayer’s Rock, is a sacred site and one of the most iconic sights of Australia.  Everything I had read suggested that viewing the rock at sunset and, if possible, at sunrise, is a show put on my Mother Nature that should not be missed.

The driver/guide announced to the passengers that he was also a photographer so upon arrival at the viewing area, I asked him if he was going to sell us a DVD of photographs.  He said no but that he would be happy to take photos using my camera.  I was forced to admit that I had misplaced my camera.  He suggested that he could take photos using my phone.  I told him my phone was dead and it doesn’t take pictures even when the battery is fully charged.  I am sure he was wondering what sort of person arrives at the most photographed monolith in the world without any means of taking a photo.

At that moment, up stepped a handsome, strapping, young fellow who volunteered to share his photos with me if I gave him my email address.  I have said it before but it is worth repeating – I am the luckiest girl in the world 🙂  I introduced myself and he told me his name was Trigger.  I looked puzzled and asked, “Trigger, like Roy Roger’s horse?”  He laughed and told me it was a rugby nickname that had stuck.  I was relieved to learn that his parents had named him Paul, not Trigger.  Interestingly, he was also in Australia for a friend’s wedding.

Trig and I talked, and took photos; drank, and nibbled on cheese and crackers.  We were joined by a British couple and the four of us chatted and watched as Uluru changed from brown to orange, and finally, to black.  I bid them goodbye and boarded the bus heading to the Aussie Barbecue Dinner under the Stars.

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I ended up sitting with a couple of couples from Canada.  If I hadn’t already had plenty to drink, I might have kept my mouth shut.  Instead, I announced that I had come halfway around the world to sit with them.  I ended up talking so much that I didn’t get any salad – just meat!  I had steak, kangaroo, lamb sausage, chicken skewers, and lots and lots of sparkling wine.

 

 

 

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Andrea’s Adventures in the Land Down Under (2014) – Uluru Bound

On Monday, the 27th of October 2014, at 7:15 AM, I boarded the JetStar flight bound for Ayer’s Rock. To my surprise, there is no town of Ayer’s Rock. It is a resort with an airport (AYQ), three hotels, serviced apartments, and a campground. The resort also has a shopping centre with a bank, a post office, and an IGA grocery store, as well as, restaurants, gift shops, art galleries and a travel agency.

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Free coaches take you from the airport to the resort. A woman with a clipboard asked me where I was staying so she could direct me to the correct coach.  She looked a bit puzzled when I told her I didn’t know yet. I still thought this was a town and trusted that I would be able to find a room/tent/bench for one night.

At the first hotel, I was told that they were fully booked so, I asked the front desk staff to check with the other hotels. She told me there was availability at the Sails in the Desert (the posh one). This is what I get for not having arranged accommodation before I booked my flight. The room was $400 AUD for the night but by signing up to be an ACCOR frequent guest, I got a discount.

If you have just picked yourself up off the floor, bear in mind that I had only paid approximately $100 AUD for accommodation up until this point, so I was averaging $100 AUD a night, and this was not a budget/backpacker’s trip.

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After arranging for my room, I left my suitcase at reception and headed to the shopping centre to book the Sunset Tour & BBQ for that evening, the Sunrise tour for the next morning, and transfer to Alice Springs in the afternoon, then, I had lunch consisting of Caesar salad and a jug of sangria at the Gecko Cafe. In spite of a slightly bumpy start, my long awaited trip to see Uluru was underway.