After hiking around Uluru, we drove to a parking lot on the west side of the mountain to a picnic area that national park set up for tour buses. We joined a caravan of thirty or forty tour buses, vans, campers, and RVs to watch a Uluru sunset.
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park authorities built picnic areas with tables, barbecue pits, and parking lots to accommodate hundreds of visitors who want one last look at Uluru before returning to Alice Springs or their campground.
The luxury tour buses had set up tables with white table clothes, chilled wine buckets, candles, and flowers. The more economical outlets like Emu had coolers with beer and soft drinks, fruit bowls, and portable barbeques to grill meats, fish, potatoes, corn, and mixed vegetables.
While tour officials prepared dinner and drinks, tourists strolled along the perimeter to special spots with unobstructed view of Uluru and the Outback.
Everyone was in a festive mood, a bit tired from the day’s trekking, but exhilarated about the once-in-a-lifetime experience we were about to share.
We heard German, Swedish, French, German, English, Russian, and Spanish as everyone milled around, looking west as the sun set over Uluru. An interesting cross-section of adventurers — students (some spending their ‘gap year’ traveling), retirees, backpackers, vagabonds, and just plain tourists enjoying a glass of wine or beer, all chatting about their incredible day at Uluru.
A day we’ll all remember for many years.
After a quick dinner, everyone lined up on the perimeter or walked into the desert to watch the last few minutes of fading sunlight on Uluru. Animated conversation stilled and we watched, almost breathless in anticipation as colors changed from bright red to pink, orange, and finally a dull grey.
Red Desert sunset
Uluru was not the only spectacle to enjoy; the desert began showing colors we hadn’t seen in the glaring daylight — yellows, oranges, and bright green.
Saying good-bye to Uluru
Erldunda to Alice Springs
After a long day that started at Erldunda station more than twelve hours before, we got on our bus for the long drive back to Erldunda where we had a rest break. Then another four hours drive to Alice Springs, arriving at Pathdorf around 1 AM.
I sat in a front seat talking to our guide, chatting about our day, living in the Red Center, and the experience of seeing Uluru and Kata Tjuta several times a week. As we drove, kangaroos emerged from the dark to graze on the grass alongside the highway, young ones, a few large males, and females with joeys trailing behind. A thrill to see those marvelous animals hopping across the highway and into the trees.
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Next: Snakes, crocodiles, lizards, and skinks in the Outback
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.