Well we didn’t get off to a good start! Forty minutes into our 6am flight the pilot announced there was an ‘issue’ with the air conditioning which in turn would affect the oxygen supply and that for safety reasons the plane would have to turn back to Brisbane. Things were further complicated as due to the plane having ‘maximum fuel on board’ the captain announced we would have to ‘circle around’ to burn off some of the fuel. As we disembarked, the pilot was standing outside of the cockpit. I don’t know if he expected people to be angry at having to turn back but I think most people were just relieved to be back on the ground. We ended up getting going again 5 hours later so when we arrived into Ayers Rock we were very tired having been up since 3:30am. The flight had been around 3 and a half hours long. We had lived in the Northern Territory for a couple of years so were used to the red earth but it was pretty amazing to see the whole area look like we were on a red moon! We stayed at Ayers Rock Resort in a little chalet. It was very basic, like camping but it did have some cooking and washing facilities. We had to use the shower block for showers hence the ‘camping’ feeling but they were very good and surprisingly powerful and hot. We had been forewarned of the flies at Uluru but hadn’t quite realised how bad they would be. We should have bought the fly nets they sold everywhere. Jeff improvised by using his little cooling towel over his face. I just struggled! There’s a shopping centre in the middle of the resort with restaurants, cafes, a supermarket and bottle shop (off licence.) Local prices were obviously quite high. You can do organised trips like ‘Sounds of Silence’ dinner packages. If you like eating the local wildlife this is for you! You can even ride camels in the desert or go with a local guide to explore the history and culture of the area. There was a free resort shuttle bus which covered all the various accommodations. Be sure to visit the Cultural Centre to pick up your visitors guide which explains about the traditional owners of the land. There are picnic areas, barbecues, toilets and a souvenir shop, managed by traditional owners, where you can buy local artworks. Entry to the cultural centre is free. We also visited the Kata Tjuta area, ( also known as The Olga’s,) about 50kms from Uluru. Like Uluru, it was most spectacular at sunset. It cost AU$25 to get into the park per person. We bought the passes online and printed the copies as they are scanned every time you enter the park. We stayed for 2 nights which we felt was enough to see everything. We hired a car from Thrifty Car rental which we picked up and dropped off at the airport. The resort areas are all located around a ten to fifteen minute drive from the airport. You are advised not to climb the rock as it is a sacred place and from October it will be illegal.
Bring or buy a fly net to cover your face.