No matter how many times I visit Uluru I’m always in awe of it! It really feels like I’m at the heart and centre of this vast continent, and many Aboriginal Songlines intersect here. Uluru is a massive sandstone monolith, 348 metres in height which bears the physical evidence of the feats performed during the creation period by the ancestral beings of Anangu, the traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
It doesn’t get any cooler than sitting at the base of Uluru with Traditional owner, Reggie Uluru. He oozes wisdom and fun and I am mesmerised as I listen to him speak in language interspersed with laughter. He’s got a great, cheeky grin and I’d give anything to know what he’s saying.
Today our Anangu guide, Valerie, is giving us a small insight into the complex creation stories that form part of the Tjukurpa, the all-encompassing law which binds all Anangu to their land. As English is not our guide’s first language, she is accompanied by an interpreter who is also an accredited guide. She tells us the story of the blue tongued lizard man, Lungkata, and points out the marks he left on Uluru including his footprints and broken body, pointing out the petrified body immortalised where it fell.
At Maruku Arts I have a laugh with Christine, who I later watch dot painting in the township’s square. She is showing visitors how to paint as part of an outdoor class that Maruku Arts runs. It reminds me of the time when the Black Tank ladies showed me how to dot paint in Alice Springs. On viewing my attempt at art (I’d painted a bookmark) they threw themselves back in their seats in fits of raucous laughter. I always knew I lacked talent as an artist and this certainly confirmed it. It was however an hilarious experience.
The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular here and although I’m not a morning person, this is one place where I’ll get up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise, and hone my camera skills. Warwick, Brendan and I shot Uluru from every angle and in every light, and still felt like we didn’t capture all of its nuances.
This winds up the first leg of the recce. Find out what goes on behind the scenes whilst we’re taking a break for a few days before we head to Mt Borradaile in Arnhemland… Kristi!