We resumed our two-day trip, leaving Erldunda about 8: 30 for the 250 kilometer drive to the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park to visit the largest rock formations in the Northern Territories, 450 kilometers southeast of Alice Springs. It was another blistering hot, dry day, mid-summer in the Outback, when the sun bakes the red desert and all creatures who wander about.
After two hours on the road, we stopped for a rest break with a view of another impressive rock formation, Mount Conner, which looked remarkably like Uluru while we were driving towards it.
At the rest stop, we stretched our legs and a few of us cross the highway to hike up a hill of red sand that had the consistency of talcum powder. Waking in the red sand, a fine dusty rose and settled over your clothes, hair, and legs. Hundreds of kilometers of the red desert are covered with this fine, powdery soil.
On the other side of the red desert hill was a dried salt bed, one of many in the Outback. The salt lake bed stretched about two kilometers along the highway.
We resumed our journey to Kata Tjuta, traveling over a desolate highway in the Outback.
About an hour from Kata Tjuta, we could see the red rock domed formation ahead of us. In the distance was Uluru, a smaller mound of red soil emerging from the desert floor. Both rock formations are more than 300 million years old, remnants of an ancient seabed, consisting of granite, basalt, and sandstone with the consistency of cement.
Kata Tjuta formation is 30 kilometers from Uluru, the conglomeration of more than 30 smooth, domed rock formations rising dramatically from the desert floor. But approaching from the east, we could see the four largest domes with a narrow gorge between the two largest.
The largest formation was named Olga for a Russian princess, the Grand Duchess of Russia, Olga Nicholaevna, daughter of Nicholas I of Russia. Over time, the formation became known as the Olgas, a bizarre historical anomaly.
We started our exploration of Kata Tjuta by walking on a rocky trail with wooden platforms over gaps and a few benches to stop for a rest.
Red Boulders and Cliffs
Red boulders strewn along the trail had tumbled down from the walls over time. the walls were sheer red rock with oval cave like openings where birds nest. On our hike, birds flew over the canyon, chirping and shrieking to announce their presence.
After an hour hiking in the dry heat, we returned to our bus to drive to Uluru. Kata Tjuta was an impressive introduction into the wonders of the red desert’s ancient geological wonders.
Ahead was Uluru, Ayers Rock, the most icon symbol of Australia’s Outback.
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As many of you know, I also write mysteries and romantic suspense novels.
I recently published my first international thriller, Thirteen Days in Milan, which is available on Kindle as well as other ereaders, tablets, and smartphones.
I’m back in Europe for the summer to hire a translator and to research my next book which will also be a thriller based in Milan. I’ll be posting along the way from Milan, Stresa, Zurich and other locations.
I have a few posts on another blog, Anatomy of a Thriller, where I write about the process of researching and writing an international thriller. I’ll add more posts there as well.
Please share these links with writers or readers who might be interested.