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.
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.
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.