Photog, foodie, travel enthusiast and curious observer living in Sydney.
Published April 8th 2015
Visit the Rock with the Rock Tours
For those intrepid travellers who have a desire to explore Central Australia but aren't sure where to begin or are a bit intimidated by the vast red landscape of the bush, The Rock Tour may be the tour for you.
The Rock Tour are a locally owned company who run tours out of Alice Springs. They offer a range of tour packages and the additional convenience of incorporating accommodation and other sight seeing opportunities into your itinerary. The tour aims to provide a safe, fun and authentic experience in the bush. The staff are friendly and aim to help you see all of the wonder that the outback has to offer; all the while sharing their wealth of knowledge with you on tour. I went on the three day/ two night tour from Uluru to Alice Springs. The experience is one that is to be encouraged!
Uluru from the viewing area (Photo: Michelle Lake Photography)
The first day was spent visiting the cultural centre, to learn some of the history and dream time stories of the Anangu people. Reading the stories, hearing the music and seeing the beautiful imagery was a great start to the day. From here we walked the base of Uluru. A couple of things to be mindful of: first when the weather hits 36 degrees a lot of the walks are closed or shortened. The reason for this is that there is no real protection from the elements, so this is a safety precaution to visitors health and wellbeing. Second, it is discouraged to walk on Uluru. The reason for this is that it is a sacred site and one of great importance and significance to the local indigenous people. Also, the walk is dangerous and does cause damage to natural ecosystem of the Rock. I will say that Uluru is no less majestic and breath taking from the ground! I certainly was not disappointed!
Sunset at Uluru from the viewing area (Photo: Michelle Lake Photography)
In the evening the tour took us to the viewing area to watch the sun set over Uluru. It's a popular location but when you stand there and watch the colours of the landscape change, you understand why. After dinner, camp was set up at camp grounds nearby which had clean and functioning facilities. Camp were simple swags with a first class view of the outback sky and it was breathtaking to watch as the sky revealed thousands of twinkling stars.
Our swags for the two nights (Photo: Michelle Lake)
Day two was an early start to the other side of Uluru to watch the sun rise over breakfast. From here, the tour took us to Kata Tjuta (aka The Olgas). An early start meant that we could do the 7km walk through The Valley of the Winds before the weather heated up. The valley walk is a must do! It would be considered a medium fitness level and good walking/hiking shoes are a must! After the walk, the Tour took us to the viewing platform, so that we could see Kata Tjuta in its enormity.
Heading in to the Valley of the Winds, Kata Tjuta (Photo: Michelle Lake Photography)
Day Two evening was spent at Kings Creek Station Camp Site. Another location that had clean and functioning facilities. Sitting around the camp fire, the group ate dinner and shared stories before falling asleep in their swags.
Around the campfire at Kings Creek Station (Photo: Michelle Lake Photography)
The final morning was also an early one as the group headed to Kings Canyon to do the Rim walk or the Creek Walk - both are spectacular and beautiful. One is over the canyon, whilst the other is through. From here, we only had the long trip back to Alice Springs to look forward to. However, on the way we did stop at Stuart Wells where those who wanted to ride a camel could!
The beginning of the Rim Walk, Kings Canyon (Photo: Michelle Lake Photography)
Ride a Camel at Stuart Wells Roadhouse (Photo: Michelle Lake Photography)
The Rock Tour provides a friendly and fun tour experience. It was a great way to meet new people from around the world and hear about their own travelling experiences. Now having done it, I would definitely recommend it.
The key things to remember when out in Central Australia: 1. Safety is paramount 2. Carrying 3 litres of water with you at all times is necessary
3. Good walking shoes is a must
4. Respect for the local area, wildlife and nature is important
5. In summer flies are EVERYWHERE, so come prepared.
6. A healthy sense of adventure is crucial!