- I was here: from December 23 to 25, 2005.
- Number of days needed to see the most famous spots: 2.
- My score: 4/5.
Thinking about writing about an unusual place where I have spent Christmas, the answer has come immediately to my mind, as far as I do not know what may be more unusual for a Spaniard than spending Christmas eve dining kangaroo barbecue and bathing in a pool at 30ºC at midnight, and Christmas hiking at 45ºC in a desert at the antipodes.
Australian is an atypical desert because when we refer to it, we usually talk about what Australians call Outback; that would be something like “the field out there” and includes both its 10 different sized deserts, as well as what are considered semi-arid zones:
- Deserts as such occupy 35% of the surface of the country, similar to that of Peru.
- Together with the semi-arid ones, they occupy approximately 75% of Australia (surface equippable to the entire Argentina), so roughly twice the land is not desert, but it resembles it.
Some areas intersect with others and because of this, it is one of the most rainy deserts in the globe, which explains the continuous presence of vegetation, although it is low and dispersed. Paradoxically, what the world knows as the highlights of Australian desert are in semi-arid zones:
- You could say that 100% of travelers who venture here do so to visit the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park:
- The Uluru or Ayers Rock is one of the largest rocks in the world that we can observe on surface, although most of it is buried. Its imposing appearance in the middle of a vast plain is one of the most iconic and internationally recognizable images of the country, especially at dusk, when the incidence of the sun gives it a characteristic red color. With sacred connotations for the aborigines for hundreds of years, there are areas with cave paintings and from October 26, 2019 climbing to its top will be officially prohibited.
- The Olgas or Kata Tjuta are rock formations of the same origin, much more numerous and elevated, but not so well known or visually attractive, since none of the 36 is as extensive as the Uluru. In reality, one and the others communicate through the subsoil, forming part of the same large rock.
- Kings Canyon is another popular attraction, as it is located halfway between the Uluru – Kata Tjuta and Alice Springs. The walls of the canyon are barely 100 meters high, but together with the eroded sand mounds and streams, they make a nice area for a walk.
But these are only the most emblematic spots. Although remote and less popular, there are points of interest for all tastes, such as meteorite craters, large reddish dunes (those in Simpson Desert are the largest parallel dunes or “ergs” in the world) and those who like these landscapes in loneliness will enjoy endless roads and isolated hills from where to enjoy the view of the plain.
WHAT TO SEE
- ULURU – KATA TJUTA NATIONAL PARK, KINGS CANYON AND ALICE SPRINGS
- WHEN TO GO
- HOW TO GET TO ALICE SPRINGS AND THE NATIONAL PARK
- GETTING AROUND
- WHERE TO EAT AND SLEEP
- DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES