Valley of the Winds walk.

Valley of the Winds walk.

We set off early to walk the Valley of the Winds at Kata Tjuta (the Olgas).

It’s a lovely walk that winds between the huge red outcroppings and then down to the flat plain behind the rocks to finally loop back to the starting point. The walk veers between a pretty flat path and stumbling amongst rubble and boulders (not quite, it must be said, what the doctor ordered ten weeks after a major knee operation). Kata Tjuta is surprisingly different to Uluru – the difference lies in the fact that Uluru was in ancient times a sand plain, while Kata Tjuta was gravel. That difference is quite apparent in the heavy conglomerate making up the walls and domes of Kata Tjuta.

We were lucky we had decided to start early because it got hot very quickly. Not only was the day hot, but there’s little shade to be had along the way. I could tell we were getting tired because Cal defaulted to discussing Baysian statistics with Jennifer, something that only happens in the midst of tiring walks. So it was a very sweaty, tired team that straggled back to the carpark; certainly much, much more tired than you might expect from a walk that was only a bit over two hours long.

A couple of hours reading or programming followed by a lovely long swim got us all back on track for the evening’s entertainment – the Sounds of Silence.

The Sounds of Silence is dinner out in the desert; it was pretty good although honestly there wasn’t so much silence going on. Canapes and champagne as we watched the sun set, followed by a three-course meal under the stars didn’t leave much to complain about especially as we again saw the Milky Way and got close up with some planets. The people on our table were nice, and the boys later found a soul-mate in Bradley a 14-year-old Star Trek fan and science enthusiast. And the boys got to eat crocodile which is, I suppose, an experience everyone should have at least once.

Altogether a lovely way to round off our time in Uluru.