Rock around the clock

That sums up our time at the Ayers Rock resort, built around the two iconic rock formations of Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the arid Red Centre of Australia’s Northern Territory.

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We first saw Uluru from the sky, already getting an idea of its looming singularity amid the barren desert landscape.

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We watched the sun rise behind it next morning, creating a mystical glow.

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We were surprised to find Ned Kelly there too, thankfully armed with nothing more potent than a Panasonic Lumix…

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… useful for snapping the noontime moon above the rock as a Qantas A380 flew over.

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We were led into the nooks and crannies of the iconic monolith, a sacred location for the Pitjantjatjara Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. The photo shows the spot where food is prepared, the ancient sandstone worn smooth from centuries of grinding seeds to make flour.

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The painting is probably a map of local waterholes.

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This huge natural feature on the rock wall, an apparent cross-section of a human head, features in one of the many Anangu creation myths.

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A goanna lizard popped out of the bush to check us out, then vanished just as fast.

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We enjoyed a gourmet sunset dinner, accompanied by a didgeridoo player who assured us that despite appearances, he is indeed an Aborigine.

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Kata Tjuta, which lies 35km across the desert bush terrain from Uluru, is quite unlike it in appearance. Though both are millions of years old, their geological formation processes were quite different. (If you want more than that, Google is the chap to ask.)

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Mike struck out to explore Kata Tjuta’s hidden mysteries.

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It was cause for reflection.

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As the sun set, gorgeous colours appeared behind Kata Tjuta.

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British artist Bruce Munro’s massive Field of Light installation was, we fear, no match for that natural beauty. Sorry, Bruce.

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As we flew away from this magical place, we saw the huge salt lakes spread out below, reminders that 500 million years ago, this arid place was a vast inland sea.

Sydney here we come!

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