#GLAadventure In Australia: The Magic Of Uluru And The Allure Of Alice Springs

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Uluru is the Anangu aborigine name for what used to be famous as the Ayer’s Rock – and is the only name you are meant to use now.

In fact the local Anangu people will not object to the colonial name, but they do feel bad when you call this gorgeous natural formation anything but Uluru – a name that’s passed down over generations for not hundreds but thousands of years.After all the Australian aboriginal culture is said to date back 35,000 years. As you drive towards Uluru you keep looking out for the famed rock, and as you see it for the first time, it is truly captivating.

It holds you in its enchantment and promises to leave you speechless. It is here that we learnt of Tjukurpa – a word that is hard to describe. The people of the land – the Anangu – are the custodians of Uluru, and they believe that Tjukurpa is a way of life – a life code, a secret understanding to their way of life and their legends, mythology and ancestors.

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The Tjukurpa is passed down through the generations like scripture – only it’s spoken and never written. What we know of the Tjukurpa is the tip of the iceberg, with most of the knowledge shared only within the community of the Anangu. The rock itself is a sandstone monolith that stands tall, surrounded by flat and mostly barren land.

It’s stark and wondrous – and appears different when viewed from different angles, and at different times of the day. There is something magical about Uluru that cannot be described in words. As you walk or drive around it, it seems to draw you in. The rock is revered by the Anangu, and is a part of many of their legends.

The rock is famous for its ‘changing colours’ as the day progresses – and we stood in awe as the sun went down showering it with a blazing orange hue. The next morning we were up bright and early to catch the sunrise – and Uluru didn’t disappoint, as it woke up a deep crimson.

The morning also brought a goodbye, as Sirish had to leave the trip halfway as he was needed back home. But having soaked in Uluru’s magnificence I was glad I’d insisted he stayed till then. After waving him goodbye, we were back on the road to Alice Springs (population: 29,602), which meant first going back to the Erldunda roadhouse and taking a left on the Stuart Highway again. The Roadhouse was a must-stop for our second driver Gaurav – who has also captured the raw beauty of our Australia leg through his camera.

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You see, he is gluten intolerant and had discovered on the way to Uluru that the Erldunda roadhouse serves a mean gluten free sandwich – and I have to say that no matter how remote the place, we were always surprised by its gluten free options for pizza bases, pastas and other foods).

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The Alice Springs desert park is a 3,200-acre facility that showcases and preserves the unique flora and fauna of the region.

We were lucky to make it just in time to attend the bird show that had kites, owls, eagles, magpies and more flying about in the open sky and displaying their food gathering, hunting and social skills. The town is sleepy and small, but it was the first place we saw aborigines very much assimilated within the town population.

A dinner of the most delicious freshly made Italian pizzas (gluten free pepperoni for Gaurav), and off to the bed. As we had entered Alice Springs we had passed an old train engine and some signage for the Ghan Railway. So on the way out we had planned to check it out, which we did the next morning.

Great place, Great history! This is the Old Ghan Heritage Railway which is located at MacDonnell Siding, 10km south of Alice Springs. Here there is a 1930s-style railway station built from the plans originally intended for Stuart (Alice Springs). Regarded as one of the world's greatest rail journeys, The Ghan railway is known to have provided access to those parts of Australia that no other holiday can ever come close to. #AustralianLife #GreatOverLandAdventure #RoadTrip #Tour #Travel #TravelDiary #Travelling #WorldTour #Travellers #GlobalTour #Mercedes #GLACar #GLAadventure #InstaTravel #Travelling #Travellers #Australia #TravelContest #WorldTrip #AussieLand #Sunrise #WhenInAustralia #TravelDiary #StuntDriving #InstaStunt #LivingInAustraliaBeLike #AustraliaOutback

A photo posted by Great Overland Adventure (@glaadventure) on

The Ghan train runs from Adelaide to Darwin – almost 3,000kms. It was operational in 1929 and initially ran only to Alice Springs – the extension was carried out and completed only in 2004. The name comes from the Afghan camel drivers who were brought to Australia with their stock in the late 19th century to help chart a land route through the region. Mandatory pictures of the GLA and GL against the old locomotive done, we pressed on south back towards Erldunda – where the promise of a good meal and fuel for our cars helped us keep a good driving pace!

There is something magical about Uluru that cannot be described in words. - Siddharth Vinayak Patankar
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