Kata-Tjuta – Walpa Gorge Walk

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Yesterday, I gave you a little bit of an idea of all of your options when visiting the Red Centre of Australia, particularly Uluru.

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Some advised us to do-it-ourselves, renting a car and visiting the area as we pleased. We aren’t ones to rent cars while we are abroad, if only because we want to come back to The States together. 😉

We also decided we wanted a guided tour and skipped the Uluru Express, the shuttle that can take you from the resort to Uluru for viewing, which is $70AUS anyway. Yes, that’s $70 to take a bus one time and do it all on your own.

In order to get the most out of our short stay, we decided on a combination of tours, which we found through Viator.com. We also got a better deal by booking through them. This is the same site where I booked our Penguin Parade Experience.

Our AAT Kings tour package included:

  • Afternoon Walpa Gorge Trail walk at Kata Tjuta
  • Sunset Viewing of Uluru with wine/champagne and nibbles
  • BBQ Dinner with Uluru as the backdrop, followed by stargazing
  • Sunrise Viewing of Uluru with coffee/tea
  • Breakfast and Visit at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Center
  • Campfire Stories from an Indigenous Guide
  • Interpretive Walk around the Base of Uluru with an Indigenous Guide
  • 3-Day Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park pass

Yeah, all that. To give you an idea, we paid $300US per person for all of those tours when we bought them as a package through Viator. My thought was that this included meals that would be (as we were told) outrageously expensive at the resort anyway. When booking on Viator, you don’t know what the name of the tour company is until after your purchase. Looking at the AAT Kings website now, the combination of these tours would have cost us well over $425pp.

I loved these tours and wouldn’t have had it any other way.

~

The first leg of our tour was our afternoon walk through the Walpa Gorge at Kata Tjuta:

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Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) through our coach bus window

Kata Tjuta means “many heads” in the Pitjantjatjara language. There are a total of 36 domes that spread over 20 kilometers. As you can see, we had an absolutely gorgeous day for a walk!

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Our walk was through the Walpa Gorge, per the blue line on the map below. It is about 2.6 kilometers out and back. If you want something longer (7.4km) and more challenging in terms of terrain, you can also try the Valley of the Winds walk. Kata Tjuta is a sacred site for men in the Anangu culture. You must respect it.

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It iss important to stay on the path.

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And just like in the Blue Mountains, we were told that this was a “gentle stroll.” Upon arrival, we had about 45 minutes to walk at our own pace before returning to the coach.

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Only it wasn’t exactly gentle. I found myself looking at the ground all the while I was walking so I wouldn’t trip!

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Instead, while Rob went full speed ahead, I took my time and stopped now and again to get a closer look at the rock formations.

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Although the skies were clear, it was still a hot. Not as hot as it gets in the summer, but hot enough that the guide requires everyone to have a water bottle, which they are happy to refill at the bus at any time.

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One of the best tips {although probably the silliest and most obvious ever} was not to wait until you are thirsty and guzzle a bunch of water because that would make you need to go to the bathroom in a hurry! We were warned that there would be no toilets for a while. Instead, we were advised to take a couple of sips of water about every few minutes.

This worked like a charm and is now something I use to this day.

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I love the color and texture of the rock. You can read about the geology on the National Park website.

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While water is scarce, you can see where rain has marked the rocks in the past.

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As the gorge narrowed, our trail ended.

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After one last look, we turned around and headed back.

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It was time to make our way to the viewing area to see Uluru at sunset… Although, some say that Kata Tjuta is even more beautiful at sunset.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve hiked?

Other posts on our trip to Australia:

Cheers~
Carrie

 

 

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