“Mum, when can we go back to the desert?” asks Miss 5 the other week.
“I’m not sure. Why would you like to go back?” I ask.
“I want to see the flies again”
I had to chuckle, the flies were definitely memorable … here I am trying not to swallow any!!
In late October 2015 we took our three daughters to Uluru. We were preparing to leave Australia to fulfill our dream to live on Waiheke Island, NZ. Although I was very excited about this move my heart was also sad to be leaving ‘my country’. I had been to Uluru almost 20 years earlier so really wanted to my children to have a taste of the Australian outback before we left and so we had a mini-break (4 nights) in the Red Centre.
We stayed in the Emu Walk Apartments which I highly recommend. They were much nicer than expected and it was great to have a kitchen. There is an IGA a few minutes walk away so really easy to get supplies. There are several cafes/restuarants in walking distance too when you need a night off. You have access to all the resort pools which is much needed to refresh after a hot day out and about.
I also recommend hiring a car if traveling with kids. You will appreciate the flexibility of being able to go places when you want and leave when you need to. Take note – if you need car seats book early. There are not many available, we ended up having to bring one on the plane with us.
This mini-trip was one of the most enjoyable family trips we have ever had.
Sunset is magical at Uluru. The late afternoon sun beating down on you as you wait for the moment the light begins to change. As it changes so does the colour of Uluru. Just when you think it cant get any more beautiful, it does.
There is a viewing area for tour buses and cars which is actually lovely. The vibe was very relaxed where we were with our car. Plenty of space for everyone. Many people kicking back with a few beers while they enjoyed the view.
I recommend taking activities for kids to do as they will not appreciate the subtle, gradual changes. I had some colouring books as well as some sketching pads with us. The sketching was a great hit with with my older girls. My 7 year old did an especially beautiful sketch coloured in by rubbing red dirt into the paper.
Sunrise takes commitment with young children but well worth it. It was a 4.30am wake up. We packed breakfast and just rolled them out of bed an into the car. Unlike sunrise there are not separate areas for cars and tour buses and there is a more frantic feeling as you arrive, everyone trying to get to the viewing area and claim a good spot.
We chose not to battle the crush higher up and chose a lovely spot lower down where the kids could move around freely without annoying people.
Uluru changes much more quickly at sunrise. So beautiful watching it come alive from the darkness.
The Base Walk
The Base Walk is 10.6km, and roughly 3.5hours duration, which is a tough ask on young children in the heat. We set off straight after sunrise to try and make a good start before it was too hot. The kids were really amazing. We carried our 3 year old a large part of the way but our 7 & 4 year old walked pretty much the whole way.
This walk was really about my husband and I satisfying some of our travel needs while we were there. The kids would not have chosen such a long walk. However, they really enjoyed it and still talk about but it was definitely the limit of what they could do at that time.
KATA TJUTA (formerly the Olgas)
Kata Tjuta is really beautiful and I wish we had more time to explore that area.
We only had one day available and had hoped to complete the Valley of the Winds walk however we were hampered by extreme heat. Although we set out early the heat was prohibitive for the kids. The track is closed from 11am if temperatures are 36C or more which is was that day.
We walked as far the the second lookout before turning back and returning to the car park. I would love to come back here again one day.
OTHER FAMILY FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES
There are plenty of other activities available in and around the resort which are suitable for children such as: