Australasia | Australia | Northern Territory | Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park – Halloween in the darkness of the Red Center
Today started really early. We had a 4:10 AM pick up at the hotel to make our 6 AM flight out to the Red Center. Quantus is a very pleasant airline; they even fed us breakfast on the plane.
Flying over the Red Center is exactly as it sounds like – Red. And flat. There is no question when the Rock comes into view. It is the big piece of red surrounded by flat red ground.
I will admit, I was worried about our shuttle because I had not been able to call and confirm it the day before. But, no worries mate, it all worked out. At the Ayers Rock Airport there only is two shuttle companies. One goes to Longitude 131, and one goes to the Ayers Rock Resort. The Resort includes the hotels: Sails in the Desert Hotel, Desert Gardens Hotel, Emu Walk Apartments, Lost Camel Hotel, Outback Pioneer Lodge and the Ayers Rock Campground. By staying here you can go to any of the restaurants, swimming pools, stores, grocery store, post office, bank and package store in the complex. They are all served by one continuous shuttle service. The Resort, and Longitude 131, are the ONLY places available to stay out here.
We have an amazing room here. Room 392 in the Desert Gardens Hotel. You can look out the glass wall and see the Rock. It is just an amazing feature. And a huge bathroom; I always find that to be a plus.
In the afternoon, we took a nap to prepare for our evening.
At about 5:30, we were picked up for the Sounds of Silence Dinner. This is an event I would recommend to all traveling the distance to see the Rock. They pick you up in an air conditioned bus and drive you out to the middle of nowhere where you are surrounded by red sands and tree skeletons. In one direction you can see Ayers Rock, properly called Uluru. Ninety degrees in another digestion you can see the Olgas, properly called Kata Tjuta. On the other side of you is a stocked bar with free flowing champagne and tasty appetizers. Salmon and spinach pinwheel canapés, crockadile and macadamia nuts in a pastry shell and vegetable sushi are the choices up here. There is also the ubiquitous didgeridoo player here as well; ours is named Ben. The head chef is Ben. The bartender is Ben. The waiter who got to know my love of salmon is Ben. I have no idea why the Rock attracts men named Ben.
Here you watch the colors of the Rock change, and the sun set behind the Olgas. After it finally goes down, and the canapés run out, they walked us down to the dinner area. Dinner is a buffet that tonight consists of a pumpkin soup starter, absolutely fabulous lamb sausages, kangaroo filets, salad, rolls and barumudi (a fish). Desert is another go around at the buffet with black pudding, fruit mix, unsugarded cream, cheesecake, coffee and port. During desert we were educated with stargazing and told the story of the Seven Sisters. We were also treated with a lightning show in the distance.
While the price for the Sounds of Silence is a little high for “just a dinner”, it is well worth it for the experience of it all! And as we found out later, no food is cheap out here anyways.
When we made it back to our hotel room, we were both plenty tired and ready to sleep well. Now, I don’t know if it was the Rocks, or the stories at dinner, or the blood red shades of the desert, or just the fact it was Haloween, but I dreamed of Aboriginals marching around outside our hotel room all night long.