19 September 2012

A 3,200km Journey! - Part III

Third part of the trip is the highlight! We are off to Ayers Rock! It's about 6 hours drive from Watarrka National Park towards Uluru. The first sight we caught upon nearing Uluru is something that looks like Ayers Rock! We happily alighted our campervan and took pictures with it. It was only after the trip that I realized that the structure wasn't Ayers Rock. It was Mt. Connor. Hahaha! Thanks to the viewers who viewed my Instagram. They are the ones who corrected me. If not, we'll be so embarrassed telling people that is Ayers Rock. Hahaha!

Mt Connor! 

Note the flat top...

Arfann trying to sandwich it

Group shot before continuing ahead!

We then reached a stopover at Curtin Springs before the final stop at Uluru. Going to have lunch here and also to fuel up. It is a really small town and the surrounding is like barren land. Nothing much here...

The only road sign here

Bare, empty all around

Huge pile of cacti!

This is the dog that got all of us guessing. From a distance, the dog looked like a boar. Some of my friends who saw it earlier came back telling us there's a wild boar roaming around here. We were amused when we saw the actual animal. Hahaha!

Continuing on, we finally saw the real Ayers Rock in full view! From afar, it was already very spectacular. As we neared it, it becoming even more breath taking!

Closer and closer...

As we entered the park, we saw on the notice board that Ayers Rock is available for climb today. Hmmm... Sounds quite different from what I researched about. I found that the rock is actually sacred to the Aborigines and no one is allowed on the rock. We even saw on the brochure that came with our ticket that the rock is not recommended for climbing. But since there are chains and railings installed, I reckon we might as well follow what the notice board says and what the rest of the people there are doing.

On closer look, you will see tiny specks of people on the rock

Group shot before the climb up!

See the tiny specks of people? It's very steep!

It is not recommended for climbing... But what the heck! Just do it!

And so, we climbed! Arfann was crazy enough to wear his ski goggles that comes with a fisheye video camera, much like the GoPro. But I am glad he did because he captured some amazing footage with it! Will await his videos! The climb is not easy, especially with some sections particularly steep. I was wearing a pair of old Puma trainers and it was a mistake. The soles were slippery and the foams were all flaky. Nonetheless, I persevered on and climbed! Half way through the visible portion of Ayers Rock, some of my friends couldn't take it and descended. It was a pity they couldn't finish the climb. But I don't blame them because it was a scary climb, looking down how high you have come.

After the climb past what was visible from the bottom, we realized that we are only 1/5 complete! There were dotted white lines on the top for us to follow and from what we gathered from other climbers, this is only the beginning! Hahaha! What have we gotten ourselves into? Since we're already up there, we might as well go for it. We soon found that the rest of the track was a lot of ups and downs. And I mean REALLY A LOT! We climbed, we ran, we laughed and we cursed. Hahaha! What's a tough climb without cursing and swearing! Nonetheless, we made it to the end and celebrated with a silly video and an obscene act by ZQ! See pictures below to understand why...

Arfann and his ski goggles!

Come on Leonard!

Look at how high we came! This is only 1/5 of the climb!

My balls shrunk when I saw Pream standing there. Seems like he's on the edge!

Finally! We have reached the end of the climb!

The plaque that defines VICTORY! 

Have to do a group shot at the top!

Not forgetting to leave slots for our 3 friends who couldn't join us... You are dearly missed...

ZQ has to do something funny... I will leave you to your imagination...

Tried to do a long exposure to capture the Milky Way and also some star trails. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to do manual focusing using the Nex-5N and kit lens. So below were the best shots I have gotten. JK has got better shots... With that, I concluded our adventure of Ayers Rock. More to come in Part IV for the Kata Tjuta (Mt Olgas) adventure!

Attempt to capture the Milky Way with our campervan... 30 sec exposure.

A bit blur, but I'm getting there... I can't seem to set the manual focus to infinity on the Sony Nex-5N

Better shot!

*To be continued in Part IV!

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