Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
A 45 minute drive west of Uluṟu (Ayers Rock) is Kata Tjuṯa (the Olgas), a must see geological marvel and one of the two main features in Uluṟu – Kata Tjuṯa National Park.
Unlike the single stone mass that makes up Uluṟu, Kata Tjuṯa is made up of 36 imposing domed rock formations, aptly named ‘many heads’ in the local Aṉangu language. The alternative name, the Olgas, comes from the tallest peak Mt. Olga which was named after Queen Olga of Württemberg in 1872. This tallest peak stands at a towering 1066 metres above sea level.
The local Aboriginal Aṉangu community have inhabited this land for over 22,000 years. Knowledge, stories and rules of Aṉangu life comes from the Tjukurpa, however many of these stories at Kata Tjuṯa remain sacred and cannot be retold to those outside the community.
The best place to take in the majesty of the 36 domes is from the top of a sand dune lookout for a panoramic view of Kata Tjuṯa with Uluṟu on the horizon. Like Uluṟu, Kata Tjuṯa has perfectly positioned viewing areas and is most impressive at sunrise and sunset.
To experience the grand scale of the towering domes, you can venture between the domes on the Walpa Gorge and Valley of the Winds walks. Only two walks are open to the public to protect the fragile desert environment and to allow the owners of the land to continue carrying out their ancient spiritual ceremonies.
Journey between the two tallest domes at Walpa Gorge along a rocky creek bed. The serene wilderness and scenery that surrounds is simply amazing. Listening out for the gentle whistle of the wind for which this gorge is named after, Walpa meaning whistle in the Aṉangu language.
For those with a good level of fitness the Valley of the Winds is a longer walk that takes you through several domes and delivers breathtaking views. Whichever trail you choose, you’ll be amazed by the plants and animals that have survived the harsh Australian desert and be rewarded with a view of the outback like you’ve never seen before.