Ever heard of Uluru? Obviously! Ever heard of Kata Tjuta? Kata who?
Uluru has long been the poster child of Australia. A giant red rock in the middle of nowhere with seemingly nothing around it. Nothing but trees, shrubs and general outback vibes.
Well Kata Tjuta (catta-jew-tah) is the lesser known, but much bigger rock formation just next to Uluru. When I say ‘just next to’ I’m taking in outback terms, it was still a 25 minute drive away!
Made up of 36 domes and covering a whopping 21.6 squared kilometres it is enormous! Like Uluru, Kata Tjuta is a very sacred place to the Aboriginal people of Australia. The mythology surrounding this rock formation annoyingly isn’t disclosed to us ‘outsiders’. Making it even more appealing and mysterious. One thing we did get told is that the site is still used for cultural ceremonies, and Aborigines believe the rocks are home to many spirits.
Do I have you attention?
Then I will begin!
As with the trip to the Field of Light I had zero expectations when visiting Kata Tjuta. Simply because I had no idea it existed.
We were picked up on another coach tour, which to be fair isn’t my usual choice when exploring. However, out in the Red Centre of Australia I think this is the best way to go. The roads are long, with no signposts, and totally monotonous. To get anywhere you have to travel a long, long way and this can involve hours of driving. Boring! Better to let a professional do it for you I reckon.
We arrived at the base of the huge domes and were given pretty clear instructions, stick to the ‘path’ and watch your step. The flooring isn’t paved or man made in anyway, except a few bridges which they have had to put in for safety where there are huge cracks in the ground.
The trail walks you through a natural creek between two of the biggest domes, ‘Walpa Gorge’. It’s pretty mind blowing standing in there and looking up, and up, and up again! It’s hard to do it justice in photo’s but I’ve had a pretty good go for you.
You can see huge holes in the side of the domes where the rocks have fallen out and now lie as boulders on the floor of the gorge. I wouldn’t fancy my chances against one of those falling from the sky.
Geology lesson anyone?
Don’t worry, it’s basic, like me!
These huge domes are believed to be over 550 million years old! While the Aborigines have their beliefs and stories for how the domes were formed, they keep it to themselves. So I can only go off the theories from geologists.
In a very little nutshell, it is believed the mountain ranges to the West of Kata Tjuta used to be much taller than they are now. But rain flowing down them eroded them away and dropped big rocks and sand in shapes on the surrounding land. These grew over time. Time as in 500 million years.
Still with me? Over these 500 million years the area was covered in sea, and this pressure squashed the layers of sand and things down to make them rock solid – literally! When the sea disappeared they were hit by powerful forces in the centre of Australia (not sure how … sorry!) and tilted somehow.
Then weather started to shape them, rain got into cracks and made bigger cracks. They made gorges. Again we are talking of millions of years. And now the 36 domes we see are a result of a whole load of weather and a whole load of time.
The floor and sides look like how I imagine the moon, except with gravity.
Boring bit over with!
Regardless of all this. They look amazing! Walking through the gorge was so peaceful despite being joined by coach loads of other tourists. The wind whips through which can be a bit chilly, which seems crazy when it is over 35 degrees. I was glad I had a jumper in my bag, as soon as I was out of the wind tunnel through the gorge I was boiling again. So it’s something you may want to stick in your bag just in case you get nippy.
After we had explored the gorge within Kata Tjuta we were driven to a beautiful view point, so we could take in the view of all the domes together. It is hard to describe how big they really are, so trust me, they’re the biggest thing I have ever, ever seen!
Have you ever visited the red centre? Let me know what you thought of Kata Tjuta and Uluru!
If you liked this post you might like these next ones about my other adventures in the Red Centre: