Day 33 - Lasseter Highway Rest Area to Curtin Springs - 60kms
It was great fun watching the caravans drive around in circles yesterday afternoon. Instead of getting out of their vans to walk and find a good spot, they'd rather drive from tree to tree to tree for 20 minutes. Nice to have some free entertainment.
When the sun set last night I stayed up for a while watching the stars slowly appear. It was such a clear night and I could see so, so many stars with there being no moon. It was great spotting shooting stars zip across the sky.
This morning it was lovely and clear. After breakfast I was riding at around 8.30am. Had a slight tailwind and got to my first stop, 40km later, at about 10.30am.
My first stop was the lookout to Mt.Conner. Mt.Conner is about 3 times the size of Uluru. It's an impressive piece of rock. As I was doing well for time and only had another 20km to go I relaxed at the lookout for about an hour. Whilst I was at the lookout I was chatting to this tour group. They have come down from Alice Springs just for the day to see Uluru. They won't be back in Alice until midnight! My idea of hell.
The next 20km, just like the first 40km, went by quickly. On my left I had a good view of Mt.Conner for most of the way. I got to Curtin Springs at around 12.30pm.
Curtin Springs is a working outback cattle station. It has a large free camping area and you just pay for the showers. Once settled in I got myself some lunch and relaxed in the large shady area. Whilst enjoying lunch I noticed they have a very tame and friendly emu wandering around the grounds.
Tomorrow I'll be heading to Yulara, which is where the nearest campground to Uluru is. This will be my base for the next few days and am hoping to do a few rides out from there.
Day 34 - Curtin Springs to Yulara - 90kms
As usual the weather is great for riding this morning. I was on the road just after 8.00am. My legs were feeling great and I seemed to just want to pedal this morning. So I didn't stop until I got to the first rest stop, 55kms later. Maybe I was excited about my destination which gave me an extra kick!
Whilst resting for 20 minutes I was watching these rra finches fly around. I have seen these birds a fair bit over the last couple of weeks. I like them a lot, as When growing up I used to keep them in an aviary in Britain, so it was nice seeing them out in the wild.
After I was rested, I only had another 25km or so to go. I got my first glimpses of Uluru. I was getting excited knowing that I have gotten to the end of another great trip. I was starting to remember all the great things, places and people I have met along the way.
Before I went to Yulara, which is where the campsite is, I made a detour to the airport. As I wanted to make sure they had a bike box available for me for next week. The lady at the airport said there should be some, but if not will arrange for one to be sent there for me by next week. With that sorted I headed to Yulara.
I arrived at Yulara just after 12pm. So did pretty good on time. Checked into the campsite for 5 nights, as Lynette is not due to arrive until Friday. Campsite is a little expensive, but the park seems well maintained. Whilst setting up a couple of different people who I have met over the last few days came over to say "hi" and "congratulations". Being in the outback you always seem to be never to be far from nice people.
After setting up I rode across to the supermarket. I was surprised to find it to be very well stocked with lots of yummy stuff. So I should be able to cook this week with fresh produce and no freeze-dried meals. Whilst there I was chatting to this motorcyclist who had come from WA via the Great Central Road. Which was interesting as I'm thinking of possible trips in the next couple of years and that was one of them.
I then just relaxed for the afternoon and planned a couple of things to do over the next few days. I'm hoping to ride out to Kata Tjunta (about 50km away) on Tuesday and do the Valley of the Winds walk. Tomorrow I'll just relax a little bit more and might go down and have a look at Uluru.
Day 35 - Riding around Uluru - 65kms
What a crap sleep. The campsite feels more like you are sleeping on a mine site with the noise their generator makes at night. Very disappointed. Will need to get some earplugs so I have a better sleep tonight.
I was going to have a rest day today but changed my mind. As with the rain and clouds around the rock it can look quite different. I rode down to the rock at around 9am and got my entry ticket about 5km down the road.
Stopped at a couple of lookouts along the way and got some pictures of the rock with the cloud sitting on top of it. I then continued to the rock itself. Uluru is about 20km from Yulara, so didn't take long to get there.
When I got to Uluru I first went to the cultural centre. Gives you a great insight into the traditional owners links to the rock, which goes back thousands of years.
I continued down to the base of the rock where people can climb it still, but not today due to the wet weather. You can then ride your bike on the dirt around its base. It's a great way to get around, as the walk takes about 3 hours. As I was riding the sun started to break through the clouds and light up the rock. It looked great. Took me about an hour to cycle 10km, as kept stopping to take photos.
Once I completed my circumnavigation of the base I had my lunch. I then headed out to another lookout before going back to the cultural centre for a little more of a look around. On the way back to Yulara I stopped to watch sunset.
I got to the sunset lookout about 90 minutes before sunset. This gave me plenty of time to find a spot before it got busy. The blue sky had certainly returned so I was hoping for a nice end to the day. I was not disappointed with the sunset. It was fantastic.
After enjoying sunset I headed back to town, which was still 15km away. I didn't get back till about 7pm and ended to get a bit of food for dinner. So a long day, but a really good day. Tomorrow I'm planning to relax.