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Uluru/ Ayers Rock

I learned a great deal of fascinating information when I visited the Uluru resort, also known as Ayers Rock, in the Northern Territories, down under in Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the Indigenous peoples of Australia. They are not (contrary to what I envisaged) one group but rather hundreds of groups that have their own distinct set of languages, histories, and cultural traditions.

There were several highlights for me, but the main one was walking part of the way around Uluru itself: a massive red stone.

The Anangu (pronounced arn-ung-oo) people are the traditional landowners of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, which have existed since the beginning of time. Geologists date these red stones back around 300 million years, and both formations are said to be a lot bigger than they appear because we can only visually see the tips of each huge formation. Astonishingly, they continue underground for up to 6 km!

In order to respect the sacred space of Uluru, climbing the rock was finally banned in October 2019. I expected Uluru to be boiling hot and above 30 degrees, but when I arrived at the resort in September 2022, the temperature was about 19 degrees, and it was raining. I did not appreciate the significance of this until I got to the rock and the heavens opened. I was soaked through but didn’t mind in the least because the waterfalls were spectacular, and I felt privileged!

I am one of the 5% of people who will witness waterfalls on the rock which is a rare occurrence. Check out this video clip:

There were some free activities at the resort; listening to the Bush Yarns about Aboriginal history and traditional ways of life was one of these. Dillon, our indigenous guide, was a fabulous storyteller. He told us about traditional weapons including shields and boomerangs.

I went on a guided garden walk at the resort, which was fascinating and highlighted how for tens of thousands of years, the area around Uluru and Kata Tjuta, despite the harsh desert climate, provided the local Anangu people with everything they needed for survival: food, water, shelter, and medicine. Dillon said what looks like a harsh desert landscape is actually a place filled with life and abundant supplies – the equivalent of a modern-day supermarket!

I also saw a wide variety of didgeridoos in different shapes and sizes and listened to the unique sound of music that it produces. These were in an art gallery.

The returning boomerang has only been around a few hundred years and was traditionally used to scare birds into pre-set nets, but nowadays, it is mainly used for sports or entertainment. However, did you know that non-returning boomerangs have been around for thousands of years? The aboriginal hunting boomerang is a prized possession and was used to kill animals, dig with, light a fire, and make music when hit with another one.

Dot painting is one of the most recognised forms of Aboriginal art. You may, like me, think that Aboriginal art is just made up of dots, animals, and fine lines, but it is much more than that. Aboriginal artists use symbols, images, and meticulous rules to create dot paintings that tell stories.

Historically, Aboriginal people of central and Western Australia created ‘paintings’ on the sand, using rocks, flowers, sticks, seeds, and feathers. These paintings were full of sacred symbols, images, and meaning. As elders created the sand paintings, they sang songs and told stories about Aboriginal history, religion, traditions, and beliefs. Sand paintings were temporary, but eventually, they became modern-day dot paintings.

I did a Sunset at Uluru tour. It was beautiful in every sense of the word, a glass of bubbly, BBQ and dinner under the moonlight. Entertainment included, stargazing being serenaded by an aboriginal on the didgeridoo followed by a walk through the spectacular Field of Light!

I'm proud of myself. I tried kangeroo meat and barramundi fish, didn't particularly like either very much but would try them again!

The field of light was spectacular, better seem from afar but impressive to walk through.

I visited a camel farm which was amazing especially as it was a freebie. You only had to pay for a ride or a tour. There was so much to see and learn.

Camels were introduced to help build the railways and the Cameleers were from Afghanistan. The camels have become feral now and in the Northern territories, driven away the kangaroos and koalas!

Camel products

Aussie delicacies

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