I felt like a love struck 14-year-old. I couldn’t stop staring and didn’t bother wiping away the tiny bead of drool that had formed in the corner of my open mouth. I blinked a few times and looked away, but I couldn’t help myself. I just had to look back.
Fortunately, everyone around me was acting somewhat similarly. I turned to my companions and simply gaped at them and turned back. I was incapable of finding the right words and I knew my feeble ‘wow’ just didn’t cut it. But they were in a similar predicament and we soon grinned at each other helplessly, inebriated by the beauty of it. Even now I can’t think of a word that can fully do Uluru justice.
Also known as Ayers Rock, Uluru is arguably Australia’s biggest tourist draw card, and now I know why. Over the years I’ve accidentally seen parts of Australia (you know, when friends from overseas visit and you travel somewhere with them). And while I’ve loved everywhere I’ve been, whenever I wanted to travel I went as far away as my budget and timeframe allowed me. But Uluru has changed that.
I get it now. I get the ridiculous clinging to the myth of our Outback heritage that Australians perpetrate yet have no experience of. I even get the Crocodile Dundee cliché. It’s because we want it to be true. Hell, I want it to be true, simply because the Australian Outback is so damn incredible and I don’t want to lose the feeling I felt when I stood under an immense sky watching a ginormous rock glow red in such a way that it united every person watching it in giddy reverie.
And it didn’t matter from what angle or at what time of day I was there, the rock hypnotised me. Every crack and crevice, every twisted tree casting a shadow, every mark and artwork that linked immense stretches of time to the now – at every turn this rock’s sacredness was palpable.
And Uluru was just the beginning. Kata Tjuta, Uluru’s neigbour, with its bulbous silhouette and Valley of the Wind walk (where you feel like you’re walking between worlds), is equally as compelling though in an intriguingly distinct way. Even the only accommodation for hundreds of kilometres (catering to every type of tourist) is strangely relaxed and becoming – a true testament to the beatific nature of the area.
Where I once only looked overseas for an adventure into the unknown, I am now looking to the rest of outback Australia with new eyes and a fluttering heart.
If you’re ready to find out what makes this place so special, take a look at our trips to Uluru.
Feature image c/o Wlnam, Flickr.