Our short adventure started with a touchdown in Alice Springs, renting the car and negotiating the shopping aisles and car park of the local Coles super market before starting the drive south west to Uluru.
For all 3 of us it was our first visit to the Northern Territory and our expectations were shaped by the rumour and hearsay of friends, work colleagues and the ever present facebook postings. As I’d left work on Friday to a comment of “you can’t climb the rock” and “make sure you get to the Olga’s!”
So with minimal knowledge, a 1:2,000,000 scale map that lacked the detail that might be needed we were on the road. It wasn’t long before the inevitable 130km/hr road sign was passed and of course Hugh had no reservation in making use of that increased limit. We had the road to ourselves, it was long, straight and we had just over 460km’s to chew through before getting to Uluru. And we had a pressing deadline to meet –the All Blacks v Wallabies Bledisloe Cup game was due to start at 7pm.
Stuart’s Well, Desert Oaks Resort, Mt Ebenezer roadhouse, the Luritja Road turn off and then Curtin Springs road house for a fuel refill – $2.31 per litre! And we were off again, our chances of seeing any of the game eroding as we take opportunities to stop for photo’s and off course we under estimated the expanse of the Northern Territory. It’s quickly dawning on us that to get a mention on the roadside signs a location has to be more than 100km distant and Uluru has yet to get a mention.
There are so many places that we would have loved to stop and investigate further – Mt Connor for one. It’s on private land so permission is required to access it but it’s size and shape on the horizon suggests it could be a rock climber’s dream (later reference to the climbing guide book confirms there is climbing on Mt Connor) .
In the fading light we also spy what looks to be a rather large lake on the northern side of the highway just past the Mt Connor turnoff but our map lacks the detail to provide any further insight – was it really a lake? Maybe a salt lake surface, we will never know because Hugh’s got us firmly focused on arriving in Uluru now – there’s just a shade over 100km left to go.
Just under 4 hours after leaving Alice Springs we are pulling through the entrance way of the Uluru Resort. It’s game on – but not the rugby kind, we are lost in a maze of winding asphalt streets as we search out our accommodation for the night.
Wind forward an hour, we each have a cold beer in hand, the pizza’s have been consumed and we’ve found ourselves seated behind some fervent All Black supporters in the open air bar. It’s 10 minutes before full time, the result is beyond doubt, another win for the All Blacks and we are about to call time as well because we have an early start tomorrow to achieve the sunrise viewing of Uluru.
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Hugh, Bridie & Gavin