Day 46 – Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

Firstly, apologies, there is going to be a lot of photos today, really fell in love with Kata Tjuta.

20130628_RCH_7039 20130628_Olga SunriseCouldn’t sleep, same anticipation (excitement) to see what the weather gods have brought us this morning. Good news, I could see stars! (I’ll ignore the clouds that were also in the sky, stars is a big improvement!). We got out of bed at 6AM, raced to the national park entry (opens at 6:30), drove out to the Kata Tjuta Sunrise Viewing area by about 7AM. It was freezing! (didn’t help I was in shorts). We were the second car that had arrived, but there were several coaches also in the car park – it was going to be a jostle for prime photographic position. There must have been 30 other tourists on the small sunrise viewing platform, but most of them were more interested in seeing the sun rise behind Uluru, so I found a nice clear vantage point for The Olgas and waited patiently. The sunrise ended up being a little of a dud, but within a few minutes of the sun popping out over the clouds, the tour buses left us with silence. The temperature also felt like it dropped a few degrees…

20130628_RCH_7049This was our first glimpse of Kata Tjuta, and I was blown away. Uluru is iconic, but to me, aesthetically it’s a little simple. The Olgas though, so much going on. It was going to be a good day.

So, after a quick breakfast in the car park (and a bit of time in the sun to defrost) we drove to the Valley of the Winds (sounds a little bit like the Ghibli movie: Naussica of the Valley of the Wind – which the giant rocks seemed oddly reminiscent of the Oomu in the movie…). There are several walks available, but we chose the full 7.4km ‘difficult’ circuit that takes in all of the lookout points.

20130628_RCH_7054 20130628_RCH_7058 20130628_Kata Tjuta Karu LookoutThe first lookout, Karu Lookout explained why it was called Valley of the Winds. There was a constant (cold) strong wind blowing. But, it was also our first view of the many heads of Kata Tjuta.

20130628_RCH_7073I was also surprised by what it was made from. From a distance it looks very similar to Uluru, but up close the aggregate in the rock is obvious.

20130628_RCH_7071The circuit wound down towards a small waterhole that was full of bird life – Risa was entranced with the little green and yellow budgies (I have to admit they are pretty cute).

20130628_RCH_7080From here it ascends through two valleys until it reaches the highlight of the walk (in my opinion, though to be honest, there wasn’t many non-scenic parts of the walk) – Karingana Lookout. The view out of this valley towards the domes beyond was unreal – I’ve never seen such a sight. Even though it was cold in the shade, I was in awe just looking out on the vista beyond.

20130628_RCH_7092 20130628_RCH_7116 20130628_RCH_7119 20130628_RCH_712620130628_RCH_710520130628_RCH_7133 20130628_RCH_7134The trail then follows a plain behind the main domes. So many different views, and with the light constantly changing (thank you, clouds. You jerks) the colours and shapes of the domes was fluid.

20130628_Walpa Gorge 20130628_RCH_7146We also did a quick walk into Walpa Gorge, just because we had time to kill before sunset. Even after seeing Uluru yesterday, walking into this gorge we were both struck with the enormity of it. To me (and Risa agreed) it looked like the biggest cruise ship that I had ever seen. In fact, it gave me the impression of being the biggest ever ‘thing’ that I had seen (I’m sure it’s not actually, but it really felt like it at the time). Inside the gorge the plant life that was growing was the most intense green that I have ever seen. I don’t know if it was the plants, or the lighting, but it was so green that it was almost purple (does that even make sense?).

20130628_RCH_7147This photo tries to give a sense of scale (Risa is down at the bottom).

20130628_RCH_7155 20130628_RCH_7201 20130628_RCH_7575The sky was getting darker with heavy clouds, so I was debating about even staying to see the sunset. But, with nothing better to do, we just sat around in Deli-chan and waited to see what would happen. Eventually the sun broke through the clouds and began to light up The Olgas. As the sun set, The Olgas completely changed colour, from orange, to red, to purple/brown. The clouds were thick, and the sun would only last for 30 seconds or less before it would disappear again.

Left the national park feeling tired, but thoroughly blown away by what we’d seen (and experienced) today. We both agreed that Kata Tjuta was one of the most beautiful places we’d been to so far on our trip. I think it is far superior to Uluru and is something that every one able to should see.

Oh, and we got lucky again tonight with the camping. Powered sites in town (Yulara) are $46! But, just out of curiosity, we asked about unpowered sites, and they had dusty section that was only $15! Cheaper than the fuel we’d have to use to drive out of town to be able to park on the side of the road!

Oh, and double bonus, the skies are the clearest we’ve seen them since the Plenty Highway – fingers are crossed for a stellar morning tomorrow!

46日目 6月28日(金) カタジュタ(英語名 マウント オルガ)

今朝は、まだ暗いあさ6時に起きて、キャンプ場から50kmほど離れた、公園内のもう一つの見所、Kata Tjyuta(カタジュタ)を目指します。

公園のゲートが開く6:30ちょうど位に着き、チケットを見せ車で入場(あまりにも広いので徒歩の人はいないけど)  まだ暗い中をデリちゃんは、オルガ(こっちの方がタイピングが楽なのでオルガと呼びます。)へ向けて走ります。

オルガの日の出観覧スポットに着いたのが、だいたい7時位。駐車場に着いた頃は、まだ人気も少なかったものの、一気に観光バスが次々と到着し一杯になりました。 風がかなり冷たく、厳しかったですがユニクロヒートテック2枚とパーカー、レインジャケットを着込こみ、寝袋とキャンプチェアを持っていざ参戦。もあいにくの曇り空で、期待していたより真っ赤に燃えるようなオルガは見れませんでした。 遠くにみえるウルルもそこまで色の変化は見受けられませんでした。

駐車場で朝ご飯を食べ、いざオルガ散策。 オルガのアボリジニ名 カタジュカとは、アボリジニ後でたくさんの頭という意味で、たしかに頭の様な、ドーム上の巨大な岩がゴロゴロと山のように平らな大地に並んでいます。 一番高いもので450m ウルルーより背が高いです。
ウルルー50kmほどしか離れていないし、同じ巨岩なので、同じような岩なのかと思いきや、オルガは、小石がギュッと詰まっているでこぼこした表面です。

くわしい情報は、こちらウィキ様にて。 http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%AB%E3%82%BF%E3%83%BB%E3%82%B8%E3%83%A5%E3%82%BF

私たちは、上級コースの Valley of Winds (風の谷)11km周遊コースへ挑戦することに。

このコースの名前を聞いて ん??ジブリ? と思った方。この巨大な岩の一つ一つは、あのジブリの 風の谷のナウシカにでてくるオウムのモデルになったらしい。というウワサがあるけど、(他の場所と同じく、彼らは否定してるけど) どうみても岩の形や、ごつごつした表面、処々に空いた丸い洞窟のような穴、オウムだわー。 あの映画私は不気味すぎて音楽だけでもぞっとしてちゃんと見た事ないけど、ロス曰くどう見てもオウム。

なには、ともかく、この場所、自然の景色の中で、人生で一番感動したかもと言い切れる程、本当に感動しました。

大きな岩と岩の間の崖には、大きな陰ができ、岩をつたって流れて来た雨が小川になり、池になり、そこには、木々が茂り、小鳥が巣を作り(野生の黄と緑のセキセイインコがいました! 丸井さんの地下やペットショップにいるのと同じだけど、野生だと感動する♥)
美しい花が咲き、後ろを振り返るとまた違ったアングルからオルガの巨大な岩々を眺める事ができる。

風の谷ウォークの他にもWalpa(風)渓のウォーク片道2.5km も一休みのあとに挑戦。 ここの岩は、横にも縦にも巨大で、超巨大クルーズ船もしくは、前に見た2012という映画の超巨大な巨大現代版ノアの箱船を思わせます。

5歩歩くごとに違う景色を楽しめ、じっくり景色を堪能しながら歩くも、最後はここを後にするのが離れがたくなる程、とても気に入ってしまいました。
ウルルーはオーストラリアで1番人気の観光名所で、ウルルーから50kmしか離れていないのに多くのツアーは、オルガには行かないそうです。 個人的には、(ロスも)オルガの方がウルルーよりずっと感動的で見飽きない、すばらしい場所だと思いました。

もしオーストラリアに旅行に行く際は、ぜったいに訪れるべき場所です!

あー今日も最高の1日でした!  オルガーサイコー!!!

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