Kulgera to Erldunda
Up = 129m - Down = 223m - Highest Point = 535m
DAY 13 – KULGERA to ERLDUNDA - 29th August 2017
After the long haul yesterday – we wondered how our bodies would perform today – but the hope was that two points would make the day go well. One was that it was a short ride (in comparison) of 75 kms, the other was that the next day was a Rest Day!!
Our plan was to ride to Erldunda, leave the 2 caravans, our bikes and gear there, and then get into the vehicles and drive out to Yulara so we could watch sunset over Uluru today – and be there in readiness for more Uluru activities tomorrow.
So we set off at a “late” 7:30 am. While the profile looked like it was a primarily downhill day – the gradient wasn’t such that made any significant difference! It seemed to ride more like a slightly undulating road – with us noticing the slight rises much more than we noticed the slight descents! We are also getting a taste of Northern Territory roads, and I hate to say it, but at this early stage I am not too impressed with the surfaces. There is very little “shoulder” and there is no “rumble-strip” on the road. That is actually a good point as they were present right through South Australia. There are frequent “holes”, “breaks” and “ridges” in the seal in the part of the road (as far to the left as possible) that I would normally ride. To get a “nicer” surface we need to ride on the road where worn tyre tracks are.
On older sealed roads the going was good – but on newer sealed roads this has been done with a coarse metal which causes a lot of vibration through the handlebars – and sore hands, wrists and arms. We also copped a head wind – so the “easy” 75 kms wasn’t quite as easy as we thought.
We met a young English Guy travelling in the opposite direction – and I have no idea why I am moaning when I am riding my light road bike and he is on a Surly carrying not only 15 litres of water, but all his equipment – as he has been doing for the last 3 years!! Always super to chat with other cyclists – so that part chirped us up!!
We made it to Erldunda close to midday – met up with Barry, Bette and Des who had set up on the site we had to leave the vans at to return to tomorrow night before we rode off again. A quick shower and off we drove the 260 kms to Yulara. The call had been made to have lunch at Curtin Springs – I didn’t have a clue how far it was to it. We drove and drove and got hungrier and hungrier and by the time we had covered the 165 kms to Curtin Springs it was just before 3:00 pm. The “kitchen” had closed at 2:30 pm – so we had to stop the tummy rumbles by buying over-priced Mrs Mac’s pies and a 300 ml bottle of soft drink that cost $4.80!! Oh well – life in the outback!! Oh – on the way to Curtin Springs I had been warned that we would see a rock formation and may think it is Uluru – but that it is not – it is Mt Connor. Mt Connor is stunning!!!! I don’t know why I have never heard of it – or why I have not seen it advertised as something to see in the outback!! I need to google this more and see more in the future!!
Another 100 kms and we were in Yulara – an “oasis” servicing the tourism that the great rock Uluru brings to the area. There are 3 or 4 hotels of good quality, a nice campground (where we were) a “servo”, a small shopping area, a back-packers and heaps and heaps of tourists. It is all well laid out in a ring-road type arrangement, and buses regularly do the loop dropping off and picking up passengers. Pat and I opted to walk “through the dunes” from the camp to the shopping centre to get our not too badly tourist priced “burger and chip” meal. At least we were able to buy a 1.5 litre bottle of soft drink at the supermarket for $3.60 compared to the outrageous price of our late lunch drinks!
We wandered back via the evening viewing platform but really just missed the sunset over Uluru – but still stood in awe at what we could see.
At 8:35pm we were at the bus stop to go out to the Fields of Light Display that we had all heard of and had been told “not to miss” by several who had been. This is the artwork of UK artist Bruce Munro. We were given a little brochure as we boarded the bus ………………… I am not sure how the photo on that was taken – I have to admit – I couldn’t see it looking like that – it was so dark I couldn’t see Uluru in the background – just the field of lights. Maybe there is an optimum time to view! However, it was fascinating the 50,000 lights covering 49,000 square metres, all intricately wired and the constant changing of colour – and especially good – ALL solar powered!! Glad I went!!
A big day – 75 kms on the bike, 265 kms in the car and my first sight of the mystical, magical Uluru!!