This photo, from above Uluru, gives clear indications of the road and other features; photo courtesy of Andrew Bertuleit with my identifying names overlaid. The viewpoint is from the northwest of the rock looking south eastwards.
The track heading south from Mala to the Mutitjulu waterhole and the Kuniya carpark, on the western side of Uluru, is the Lungkata Walk (Lungkata is the blue –tongued lizard man).
My feet were so sore that I contemplated catching the Hop On Hop Off bus from the Mala carpark back to my hotel and returning another day to complete the last short section on the Lungkata Walk. But I stuck to my plan because I knew the next bus to the Mutitjulu/Kuniya carpark was an hour and a half away and the walk should not take me less an hour even at my slowest. I plodded off, taking last looks at the people climbing on Uluru. Loving the very dramatic rock shapes.
I should note that the walk around Uluru was incredibly easy for people with able bodies who don’t get sore feet. The flat and smooth track was so good that I felt people in wheelchairs could race around Uluru. Nothing to trip on except your own feet if you are that way inclined. Different people had ideas of how long a typical person would take to get around the rock and the times varied from 1.5 hours to 3 hours. The walk took me 3.25 hours not counting my rest at Mala – but including hundreds of photo stops. The walk seemed a smidgin easier when in the shade again and with the greenness of trees around.
One sign indicated the presence of native figs outside a cave where families of aboriginals had rested. One large tree/bush was covered in small native figs; those coloured red indicated they were ripe. Ochre paintings adorned the cave ceiling and walls. Other signage provided information about the family cave, with its entrances on two sides. These caves are still used by Anangu people.
The story of a python woman and poisonous snake man is the basis for this important location in aboriginal history; details on the sign below.Then it was time to stumble back to the carpark and wait for the Hop On Hop Off bus. The beautifully constructed rustic furniture was a boon for sore feet. Under cover, I sat on another wooden ‘couch’ and looked out over the landscape at the southern side of Uluru now in shade, with the sun almost overhead. I had the chance to talk with other visitors, and to begin to get my mind back into being social again.
But overall I mused about the nature of Uluru with all its indentations and ‘scales’. After seeing acres of promotional tourism photos, none have ever displayed the complexity of this rock. I hope you, like me, have been astonished. In addition I hope that, by seeing the differences in the rock and environment in the photos I have presented for the Kuniya, Base and Lungkata Walks that circle the rock, you have a new appreciation of Uluru’s size and power.