Guest Blogger Brooke Fryer invites you to join her as she revisits unforgettable moments in the Australian Outback
The plane went through turbulence and angry winds as it made a rough touch down in the center of the Australian outback. Surrounded was red sand, vibrant and full of colour. I had pictured it before, but never pictured it the way it actually was. I was told a lot about the red sand, but seeing it with my own eyes was just as fulfilling as taking the journey to the outback itself.
Ayers Rock, or also famously known as Uluru, stands in the heart of the ‘red center’ and is the largest rock in the world. The rock is visible from just about everywhere in the Ayers Rock Resort, which is made up of several hotels, a town center and a restaurant.
All through schooling, we had learned that Ayers Rock is the spiritual heart of Australia, and they weren’t wrong in teaching us this. In and around the resort, driving the 15 kilometers to get to the rock from the resort and through the faces of the indigenous people that worked and lived in Ayers Rock, I could feel the connection to the land. Indigenous Australian’s are connected to the land, not only is it their way of life, but it is a key part of their religion and spiritual beliefs. They believe their ancestors live through what makes up the land, this being water, rocks, trees and even hills and rivers. Therefore, the health of the land is essential to their spiritual connection and growth.
On my visit to Uluru, there was a few essential things that I needed to do. One, was watch the sunrise over Uluru and the second was watch the sunset. The rock, each day, goes through a time-lapse of colour. A deep brown to a vibrant orange, and by night totally unseeable in the pitch blackness of the Australian outback, a place where no city lights are able to light up the night sky. Back a few decades ago, people went to Uluru without understanding the importance of the rock, and climbed upon it. Now, people steer clear of climbing the rock as it is seen as disrespectful and, well, extremely dangerous.
Now, seeing the rock in its glory is what people come for. They come for the same reason I was so desperate to go, to feel the spiritual connection, which filled my heart and I had never been prouder for being an Australian.
After I watched the sunrise, and was amazed by the colours of the rock, I took my rental car and drove down to the foot of the rock. Here, each morning, a free guided walking tour leaves at 8am, known as the Mala Walk. This walk gave me the knowledge I needed to understand the importance of the rock. An indigenous Australian took me and several others around the bottom, only several kilometers or so. Through this, we learnt about some dream time stories, why people don’t climb it and why in some parts of the perimeter of the rock photos are forbidden – even though he couldn’t tell us exactly why, we understood it was because it was a sacred place.
Dream time stories are essentially stories passed through generations that explain how the ancestors came to create the land and everything on it. There are several dream time stories that tell how Uluru came into creation, however, the Aboriginal people keep this story between them. So, I am still unaware of how the rock came to be.
Three days in Uluru was more than enough. Besides walking around the rock, watching the sunrise and sunset over the rock and driving the 30 minutes out to Kata Tjuta, and again, doing the walks as well as a sunrise and sunset viewing, there really isn’t much else to do. I quickly discovered, after about 11am many of the walks were closed due to extreme heat, making my three days there full of 4:30am wake up calls so I was able to complete the 3-hour walks in time. That’s why I found that many others after visiting Uluru, took the almost 6-hour drive to Alice Springs, to extend their trip.
After 11am, the resort pools are filled with tourists and the restaurants, well the one, in the town square quickly ran out of tables with people wanting to escape the 42-degree Celsius dry heat. I thought I was crazy to book a trip to Uluru in December, turns out I wasn’t the only one wanting to jump on those cheap plane fares.
I could hear life-long traditions singing through the whistles of the wind that swept around Ayers Rock and the resort. I could see it through the dot paintings that were set up in the town square for tourists to participate in and I could see it through the Culture Centre that helped tell the story of how Uluru was given back to the Aboriginals from the Australian Government. Uluru was a place that I will forever hold close to my heart, and I will continue to feel connected, even though I am back home miles away.
Brooke is an avid traveler and writer who was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. Her passion lies in the exploration of different cultures as she seeks to understand people across the world. Brooke is also dedicated to learning about the history and past of each and every place she visits.
Read more about Brooke’s travels on her blog http://exploringwanderland.com
And check out her pictures on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brookefryerr/