In The Middle

The other week, The Boyfriend and I headed way out west – to Central Australia for a quick weekend getaway. Right bang on in the middle of Australia is Ayers Rock, and it was on my bucket list, so I had to grab some cheap plane tickets when they came up on sale. Of course, I committed to those and clicked on “Purchase” before checking out local accommodation prices, which was silly, but it just meant my bargain cheap weekend turned into a rather expensive jaunt, so I just grinned and went with it.

I’m pretty sure Ayers Rock is one of the most recognisable Australian images in the world. I’ve now taken one of those typical shots that everyone’s taken that has been here, ever. Saturday afternoon turned very overcast, so we missed the usual colours as the sun set, but it was still pretty breathtaking all the same!

The Boyfriend was disappointed the walk to the top of the rock was closed. These days, local Aboriginals ask that you not climb the rock out of respect for their sacred sites, however there’s no legal grounds to stop people doing it. Thankfully it was a drizzly day on the Saturday, forcing it to be closed, because there is no WAY you would have gotten me up that rock. It was steep. And scary looking. Can you imagine climbing the steep sides of that thing? Not with my fear of heights!

I was really surprised that the overnight temperature got down so low – down to about 3C (37F). Isn’t this supposed to be the desert? It didn’t matter so much anyway – we spent such little time in our hugely overpriced room after having dinner at one of the restaurants, followed by a few beers watching a band in the pub, then getting up to see sunrise over the rock. I am pretty sure the only reason I agreed to this is because I was actually suffering from such a bad cold that I thought I wouldn’t make it till morning anyway, so I may as well pretend like I’d be thrilled to get up an hour before dawn to drive off into the freezing desert.

After seeing the sun rise, we headed off to see The Olgas, nearby. I was actually much more impressed with The Olgas than Ayers Rock – they are a group of red boulder shapes just sitting in the middle of a flat plain. Part of the same rock foundation that Ayers Rock is made from, I believe.

We went for a bushwalk through The Olgas – a camera just couldn’t capture the stark red rocks against the clear blue sky. Just gorgeous. The walk was called The Valley of the Winds. I could see why – the wind whips through those rock formations surprisingly strongly!

Who knows what part of Australia we’ll see next. The Boyfriend is rather keen on Tasmania. I think that’s just because he knows there are 2 breweries and 1 chocolate factory there that all do tours…

Edited to Add: I would not have chosen to climb, even if the climb was open, and didn’t mean to sound flippant about that – I chose not to climb out of respect for the wishes of the traditional owners of the land. The Boyfriend had made the same choice to NOT climb when he was there a couple of years ago – I was relieved it was closed at the time so he didn’t have an option to reconsider that decision – he said at the time he was disappointed it was closed, but has since said in conversations he wouldn’t have climbed anyway either, for same reasons I had. It DID look scary anyway as I reported. I wasn’t too clear on my own personal reasons however! When you report only snatches of conversations it can give the wrong impression, as that portion of my post has done for some – for that I apologise. No offence intended.


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115 Responses to “In The Middle”

  1. WT Says:

    Nice shots of Uluru.

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      It was lovely – the shots from the Saturday though were all dreadful due to the rain. Guess I’ll have to go back. Oh well, I didn’t get to Kings Canyon anyway so would have had to anyway!

  2. shyler83 Says:

    it’s very beautiful ^^*

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Thanks for visiting. It was lovely – I think I’ll have to go in a less rainy season next time to see it when the colours change at sunset. I wasn’t expecting rain and cold weather in the middle of a huge desert.

  3. Lu2Ar Says:

    Nature is always amazing, don’t you think? It gives you some surprises you have never thought to get.
    It’s awesome! thanks for the tour

  4. Slamdunk Says:

    That must have been an amazing stop. Wonderful images.

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      It was lots to get through in about 24 hours! Yes, it was well worth the trip – I’ll have to go to see more. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Justin C Says:

    I loved my trip there, thought it was awesome!

    • Justin C Says:

      I have some great pictures of it on my facebook page as well if you wanted to check them out

      • 12ontheinside Says:

        Thanks Justin, and thanks for popping by. I can’t FaceBook at work – for some reason the powers that be think it’s a time waster. Hmph. And I must admit I don’t tend to spend any time on the PC when not at work. I’ll have to see if I can go in there to check out your photos though!

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Justin, welcome. It’s hard to convey how awesome it looks in photos. I should admit the only photos I’ve looked at as yet were from the little point and shoot though – I need to see how the photos from the DSLR turned out!

      (And of course, I replied to both your comments, which now looks like I am mental and replying twice. Oh well!)

  6. florb63 Says:

    Beautiful. One day I hope to see those sites.
    Enjoy them.

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Welcome, florb – do go if you get the chance, it is an amazing place. Although I felt there was more ‘presence’ at The Olgas than Ayers Rock. Funnily enough, I found out later that the local indigenous Aboriginals do most of their secret ceremonies etc at The Olgas now as they are more private, which might come some way to explain that.

  7. Raul Says:

    I want to go too!!!

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Hi Raul, thanks for visiting. You totally have to do it – it’s well out of the way of the rest of Australia but just so different.

  8. shelle @ dancingmatilda Says:

    thank’s for some great memories…sorry to hear it’s changed that much…i was there 31 years ago…and we camped a few days and spent some awesome time, on top and around the rock..and a couple of days at the olgas. it is pretty scary, esp coming down when you realize you just have to misplace your footing a little and it’s over.

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      I think it would’ve been much more laid back then. Probably a bit more “real” too.

      The accommodation is now all owned by large resorts, which then have multiple hotels/cabins etc there, and the prices of food and drinks is pretty horrifying – $55 for a take away 6 pack of beer! Eep!

      I wouldn’t have been able to climb even if it had been open – I am far too frightened of heights, they would have had to get a helicopter to come and get me back down!

  9. craig Says:

    some nice pics and i am sure it was a great experince i am about to take my kids and wife to cape york so very excited about travelling.

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Wow, Cape York would be a cool trip. Hard to get there at some times of the year so you must be planning that carefully! Have a blast.

  10. Pablo Says:

    I came here after the picture of Uluru and discovered your blog. I like what you’ve got here and promise to come back frequently.

  11. Rohit Says:

    Good pics.
    Ayers rock is certainly on my list when I visit Australia. I dont know what else is good to visit down under. The other place of visit is certainly the underground homes. I dont recollect the name of the place at this point of time.

  12. jhsketch Says:

    Thanks for your post and great photographs!
    One day………
    Have a great day!

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Thanks Jan – I don’t think we ever get to see all the places we’d really like to!

  13. campingshop Says:

    Hmm, your photos look awesome, Im so keen to go there now. My husband, son and I just came back from a camping trip up north, we went to Cape Tribulation and loved it! We have the camping trailer all set up and Im thinking a holiday to Uluru should be our next destination. thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Ooh, I love the idea of a camping trailer extended holiday. I am not sure I would cope with the reality of it though! I get restless sitting too long in one spot and hate driving!

  14. Val Says:

    I also preferred the Olgas to Uluru. I think it may just be because you’re so familiar with the big rock from seeing it in so many pictures that it’s nice to see something equally amazing, but different, that gets largely ignored!

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Yep, I agree – also I think the Olgas are also much more accessible – there are walks you can go on that feel like you’re “in the midst” of them.

  15. retete30minute Says:

    Very cool post. I love u’re accent:) I was in Australia for about 3 months and I loved it. I didn’t get to see the desert so thanks for sharing:)In Europe we don t get any glorius desert like u do down under:)

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Thanks Retete – there’s many places in Europe on that bucket list for me! I haven’t managed to get there at all yet but am thinking of a trip next year.

  16. liferelinquished Says:

    Oh, lovely! Always wanted to go to Australia, and especially to Uluru!

  17. josepht1987 Says:

    Beautiful pictures, thanks for the post. Australia is a great place.

  18. shyexpert Says:

    love a good trek, and you definitely had one, cheers

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Yep – but next time I’ll go without a cold, I didn’t do as much bushwalking around the area as I would have liked because I felt kind of like death warmed up the whole time!

  19. Colin L Beadon Says:

    Always wanted to go to Tasmania. Since looking at the photos, I know it is my sort of wild place, with its own wild voice, and animals you don’t see anywhere else, and far enough away to keep most people far enough away.

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Colin, couldn’t agree more – doesn’t Cradle Mountain look like a fantastic place to hole up in a cabin by a log fire!

  20. Courtney Says:

    Your pictures are lovely.

    I’m meeting some friends from Perth on the Gold Coast for a week in November, then flying back to Perth with them for a week before heading home to Texas and I’m so excited about it! Have you been to either of these places before? If you have, what would you recommend seeing/doing?

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Courtney, the Gold Coast is mainly theme parks and beaches and bars. Don’t really know what else is around there although I must admit having done a tour of the Carlton United brewery near there before, which was really interesting. Around Perth I’d suggest hiring a car and travelling down around the south east corner. Start by going and spending a day or two in the Margaret River area, lots of wineries and caves nearby, then head down to Cape Leeuin lighthouse, then through Augusta, Wallpole – there’s a great treetop walk near there, Denmark, Albany, then back through the middle (cross country instead of via the coast) to Perth. Stopoffs on the way back could be wave rock, places like that. In my opinion you’d see more interesting things that way than sticking around Perth. Haven’t been that way for years though. I do remember a pretty place near Denmark called Green Spot, or something like that – was one of the prettiest places I’d ever been. Have fun, whatever you choose to do!

  21. Thomas Paine Says:

    Thanks for the shots of The Olgas. I had never heard of them. I’ll be there next year on my trip around the world.


    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Enjoy, Thomas. I recommend hiring a car rather than doing any set tours – we saved lots of money doing it that way, and got to go where we wanted, when we wanted.

  22. Scott K Says:

    Great shots.

    “These days, local Aboriginals ask that you not climb the rock out of respect for their sacred sites, however there’s no legal grounds to stop people doing it.” True… but I think culture has trampled all over native culture’s long enough.

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Scott – I probably wasn’t very clear on that – I wouldn’t have climbed it for that reason as well, not just the scare factor!

  23. thecodger Says:

    I enjoyed seeing the pictures you posted. They remind me of the time I went to Chimney Rock in Nebraska…very striking.

    The Codger

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      I just had a bit of a look at some images of Chimney Rock – looks interesting as well. It’s always those landmarks that stick out suddenly on the landscape that way that seem to draw attention!

  24. atxjoe512 Says:

    Great post I enjoyed it! I loved the photos.

  25. Yaniv Aknin Says:

    I’m not Australian, but my wife and I have just recently been there so I had to click on the link when I saw the picture. One thing we were curious about was the whole “please don’t climb” as a plea rather than a rule. I know it’s difficult to judge these things from the outside, but we couldn’t understand why it seemed that so many Australians who would otherwise probably respect local traditions (say, have no qualms with taking their shoes off if visiting a shrine in Asia, just for example), behave so nonchalantly when it comes to ignoring the requests of the Aboriginal people of the region. Other than that observation (which striked us as a peculiarity more than anything else, God knows these things can be complex, hmm, especially God knows that!), it’s a breath-taking site and region. You live in a beautiful (and welcoming, and fun…) country!

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Thanks for the visit. It’s a pretty complex thing I guess. I personally would have chosen not to climb out of respect even if I wasn’t scared of heights but understand your observation – there are lots that would not have felt that way.

  26. evaroads Says:

    I’ve been to Australia twice, but have never made it out to Ayers Rock; your description and photos make me feel it would be worth the trip next time I’m there.

    Not sure if you’ve made the trek, but I would highly recommend going up to Coral Bay to see Ningaloo Reef. I think it’s Australia’s best kept secret.

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Gee you did well to get as far away as Ningaloo Reef. I just checked out some images – looks fantastic, must add that to the list!

  27. stephenjohnson87 Says:

    I like your post, takes me back to when I was travelling. If only I had thought of blogging my experience and adventures, disappointing upon looking back. Anyway, I visited Tasmania twice: once to site see, once for a boozing weekend. Mount Wellington is a must, added, going to the top is also a must – don’t let your tour operator tell you its too cloudy!

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Thanks for the tip, Stephen – I can see Tassie in the near-ish future, so am starting to note these things down!

  28. Halo Reach Says:

    Uluru is somewhere that I haven’t been able to make it to yet. Thanks for sharing your journey there!

  29. Tara Aarness Says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I’m impressed that you two were able to see so much in such little time; you remind me of me, lol. Perhaps one day soon my hubby and I will be able to check off Ayers Rock from our bucket list. What’s next on yours? πŸ™‚

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      We definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without a hire car. I think Tassie is next on the list – we’ve been talking about Tasmania for about 18 months. Though we’ve also been talking about a trip to Egypt, Turkey and Greece, so who knows! Christmas this year is at Adelaide so next might in reality be a rerun of some wineries around there…

  30. Benjamin Jones Says:

    Superb photos! I would love to go to Australia and do some photoshoots there, especially at Uluru and around Oodnadatta and Coober Pedy. You gotta love all those cool Australian names. Thanks for the post!

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Thanks Ben – gee now I really wish I’d posted the proper photos from the DSLR rather than just the point and shoot because it was easier!

  31. robocooker Says:

    I have been to Australia once 10 years ago and have been wanting to go back ever since. It is a very beautiful country, thanks for the photos.

  32. Caroline Says:

    Those photos are gorgeous! Uluru is on my bucket list as well, and hopefully I’ll be able to see it next time we head Down Under. My mother climbed it in the ’60s, before the Aboriginals asked people not to I believe. She said it was an almost vertical climb while hanging onto a chain rope, no safety harness at all. After I get to visit, I’ll tell people I chose not to climb it because of the Aboriginals’ request, and just not mention at all that I wouldn’t have climbed it anyway, because my mother’s story sounded just too scary! πŸ™‚

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Caroline – yes, the request to not climb wasn’t made until well after your mum visited. I wouldn’t have climbed it either since they have asked now – but looking at it, wouldn’t have anyway! Someone died there just a few weeks ago, so I heard when I was out there – a pretty fit guy in his early 40’s, didn’t drink enough water and got dehydrated, then had some kind of heart problem or something similar. There’s still plenty of rock art and trails that you can access.

  33. Jaisen M. Says:

    Your boyfriend has the right idea. You would love it down here in Tasmania. Aside from the said chocolate factory and breweries, there are also amazing places like Cradle Mountain, Port Arthur and the Salamanca markets. Tassie has lots to show off, including wonderful beaches (a little cold in winter, so plan a summer holiday); or alternatively, if you love the cold, come in winter time and get some bargain accommodation and see the snow in several places. Lots to see and do down here, which is why I moved down here to live. It’s the best place in Australia.

    • 12ontheinside Says:


      Cradle Mountain’s probably the place I’m most looking forward to in Tassie! (Well, the brewery tours still sound fun too of course.) I was thinking about February would be a good time to go. Holed up in a cabin in winter doesn’t sound too bad either though!

  34. noddy Says:

    Nice photos; shame about the ignorance! You and your boyfriend should be ashamed of yourselves for even considering climbing Uluru (it is no longer pc to call it Ayers Rock) regardless of whether it is legal or not) precisely because it is a sacred site for the local aborigines – the Anangu as the or Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal people refer to themselves. How would you feel if I cam in and took a dump on your bed; regardless of whether it was legal or not?

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Hi Noddy, Sorry I wasn’t properly clear in my original post – I honestly had no intention of climbing as I was aware of the request not to do so. I was meaning to comment that I wouldn’t have climbed it anyway, as it looked dangerous for me. Can’t speak for my boyfriend’s intent as I didn’t ask him before the trip, but I do know he was there a few years ago and chose not to climb then. I didn’t remember the names of the local people, though I had read about them when visiting the cultural centre while I was there – thanks for letting me know what they were.

  35. samnangp Says:

    Visited both 12 years ago, and like you, was more impressed with The Olgas. I remember the vivid red rocks, the solid blue sky, and the vibrant green of the foliage. At one point in the Valley of Winds I was so overwhelmed by the oddness that I began to wonder if what I was seeing was real or not. It looked more like Mars than anywhere on Earth!

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      You’re right, it did seem very like what you’d imagine Mars to be like! Reminded me of what Sydney looked like a few months ago when huge dust storms hit. Red dust covered everything – it had blown from right in the middle of the country where the earth is red (and the rocks too!)

  36. beachblogger Says:

    On ya! I’ve always wanted to go and never got round to it …

  37. globaleaders Says:

    Nice Shots Dude…

  38. sas Says:


  39. secret squirrel Says:

    this is you… isn’t it?

    I hope so as I have been keeping an eye out.

    xox secret squirrel xox

  40. secret squirrel Says:

    and wandering around with your eye out is quite painfull and a hinderence when trying to carry out even the simplest day to day tasks.

  41. kaiitiix Says:

    Tasmania… |: It sucks here. I don’t know, I guess I can see the appeal, it is quite pretty. Although living here all of my sixteen years… yeah, not a fan. Well, wherever you choose to travel next, I hope it’s a brilliant experience πŸ™‚

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      I guess it’s always interesting when you see somewhere new – you never feel quite the same way a visitor would about your own home!

    • beachblogger Says:

      kaiitiix! Get a grip! Tassie is gorgeous !!!! I nearly moved there twice. If I’d had a job to go to I would have …

  42. arulchandrana Says:

    wow, thats a great post. and great picts. i wish i can camp there and cook my first natural breakfast in open area.

  43. Marie Therese Says:

    Ooooh, I’ve been to Australia two times, but never got the chance to go and see the rock.

    It’s on my list, for sure! πŸ™‚

    PS: I wouldn’t have climbed that rock either hehe:) Thanks for sharing your story..

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Thanks for visiting πŸ™‚ It’s a long way from the rest of the usual sights so it can be hard to get there!

  44. culturamugellana Says:

    Io sono letteralmente allibito, stupefatto, piacevolmente sorpreso dalla bellezza di questi di Ayers Rock in Australia. Bellissime anche le foto!
    Complimenti all’autore o agli autori.
    Culturamugellana, Florence (Italy)
    (Trad. I am letterally surprised, looking the beauty of this country and these rock mountains in Australia. My compliments to the author of the issue and lovely pictures.
    Cultura Mugellana, Florence (Italy)

  45. Ardaman Singh Says:

    It is nice that you two made it.I always wanted to visit Ayer’s Rock when I visited Australia,but there is soooo much to see in Victoria,I just could not make it. Next time I hope to make it. Nice pics

  46. Zone Blog Says:

    very interesting article..make want to there…
    really good writing for you..nice

  47. Susan Tordella Says:

    It looks like it just kind of landed there. Nice photography.

  48. fondutv Says:

    Beautiful photos and a great adventure! It’s always nice to check something off of your bucket list.

  49. Songbird Says:

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

  50. diegofontana Says:

    ‘the boyfriend”, 12ontheinside?! Why is that so funny?

  51. diegofontana Says:

    Still laughing over “the boyfriend”.

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Not sure why that’s so funny, it’s just a way of referring to him without mentioning any names. I’ll let you in on a little secret – my name’s not actually 12ontheinside either! I know, shocking, right!

      • diegofontana Says:

        I should have explained.

        Some contemporaries of mine refer to their partners as “the wife”, and what that means in these parts is the passion is dead.

        Where I come from the term “boyfriend” means hope and heat is still happening. But when you say “the boyfriend” instead of “my boyfriend” you sound like part of an old married couple. That’s not really funny, but it is amusing to a guy like me on the west coast of life.

        Keep up the good work.

  52. drew Says:

    great landscape… this is really outstanding

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Thanks for visiting Drew – it is a fantastic place – much more impressive in person, too.

  53. carissa Says:

    Great pics! Seriously, beautiful! And I don’t know much about Australia, but Tasmania sounds great with the breweries and the chocolate!

  54. Sashimi Says:

    That pic of Ayers rock makes me think of “The Lonely Mountain” (As in The Hobbit)! Is that too weird an association?

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Hmm. Probably not – it is one of those places that makes you think there is more to it than just a rock!

  55. Pamela Says:

    wow… look at all these comments. My blog is dying (comment wise) … because … because… I’m hardly blogging or visiting blogs.

    I would love to visit these places. What about spiders and snakes?

    • 12ontheinside Says:

      Pamela – by some stroke of luck this post got posted on WordPress’s front page as ‘freshly pressed’ – I imagine it’s now gone back to my regular 3 hits a day and me mumbling to myself πŸ™‚

  56. maryeugene7 Says:

    sooo cool!!! hope i can visit that place..
    i love nature a lot!!!

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