Walking at Kata Tjuta

It was our last day at Yulara before we head off to Kings Canyon and we’d saved Kata Tjuta until last.

We set off into the National Park once again and this time took a right turn towards Kata Tjuta. Many of you will recall they used to be called The Olgas. Mt Olga is the tallest of the domes at Kata Tjuta and at 1,069m is 206m taller than Uluru.

Our first stop was at the Sand Dune Viewing Point. Here there is a car park and a short walk up the sand dune on a metal boardwalk. The boardwalk is to protect the fragile sand dune environment. From the top of the dune you get a fabulous view across to the red domes of Kata Tjuta. There is a large boardwalk platform on the top of the dune with storyboards full of information about the flora and fauna of the sand dunes.

We continued on and passed the turnoff to Kaltukatjara (Docker River) which is the continuation of the Outback Way (The Longest Shortcut) and takes you all the way to WA.

Our second stop was to the Sunset Viewing Car Park. We were way too early for sunset but this is the only place in Kata Tjuta that has toilets.

Our third stop was at the car park for the Waḻpa Gorge walk. This walk is a Grade 3 – Moderate walk of 2.6km. It is a very rocky walk and not an easy one. You really do have to watch your step on this track. The wind was howling down through the gorge and it made for very chilly walking. I was wishing I’d worn my beanie as my hat blew off a couple of times and the children had to run after it before it blew too far away. Waḻpa means ‘windy’ in the local language.

There is a sign at the beginning of the track that says that Kata Tjuta is an Aṉangu mens site and is sacred under Tjukuṟpa (traditional law). Visitors are asked to stay on the track and to be respectful of the area. particularly those people who wish to make silly rock cairns. There are signs asking people to please not do that to this sacred place.

Once at the end of the walk there is a large platform with seats where you can catch your breath and just sit and listen to the sounds of the gorge. It is a beautiful place. Hundreds of tiny birds, we think they were finches, darted all about. There are rare plants that grow in Waḻpa Gorge that grow nowhere else in the world.

Kata Tjuta differs from Uluru in its composition. Uluru is one great big sandstone rock. The domes of Kata Tjuta are made up of conglomerate rock. Millions of rocks fused together over millenia. They are truly stunning.

We walked back out of Waḻpa Gorge to the car and drove to our next stop, the car park for the Valley of the Winds walk. The Valley of the Winds walk is in three sections. The first part is to Karu Lookout and this section is a Grade 3 – moderate walk of 1.1km. The next section is to Karingana Lookout and is a Grade 4 – Difficult walk of 2.7km. The Full circuit walk is a Grade 4 – difficult walk of 7.4km and takes about 4 hours.

We chose to only do the walk to Karu Lookout and even though this is a moderate walk it was still challenging due to the rocky path. There are lots of loose rocks so you have to mind your step. The view at the end is worth it though. Wow. What an amazing place. It was also very windy

It was a tired group of 5 that headed back to the car and I think we were all relieved to get out of the cold wind. It was lovely to get back in the nice warm car.

Back at camp Katie and I menu planned for the next week and headed off to the IGA to stock up on groceries. We will have 3 days at Kings Canyon then a few nights free camping before we get anywhere near another supermarket.

We were heading back to the car with our trolleys when I looked up and who do I see but someone from our home town of Griffith. Fancy that! They are also staying at the Campground for a few days and were probably in the West MacDonnells when we were. It’s a small world.

Richard and Riley did a dump point run to empty both cassettes before we set off in the morning. I think I’ve already mentioned that the only dump point at Yulara is 5km away from the Campground out near the Water Treatment Plant on the other side of town.

After dinner everyone chipped in to pack up what we could so there is less to do in the morning. We have 305km to travel to get to Kings Canyon Resort where we have powered sites booked for 3 nights.

I think everyone is ready to move on and continue our travels after 6 days spent at Yulara. We have enjoyed it here very much. This is somewhere all Aussies need to visit at least once in their lifetimes and we feel very fortunate to have done this trip together. We are not sure how people only come for two or three days as there is so much to do.


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