Well, after 15 years anyhow. This is one of THE walks in Australia to our minds, though admittedly our walking experience is somewhat narrow. Still, when you see our images and videos below, you will hopefully understand what we mean (even if you don’t agree!)
We have done the Rim Walk three times now, and I was thrilled with my fitness this time. I was expecting the first haul up the ridge to be tougher than I found it. It certainly was well within our capabilities last time, in 2009, but I was aware enough of the challenge then to worry a little about how I (and we’d) go six years later. As it was, I found it easier than last time. Must be the yoga! Len too managed it well. Must be all the gardening he’s been doing recently!
The forecast was 26°C and that’s pretty much what it achieved. We were so lucky given that the temperatures here last week – around 13-14°C – were, like most places in Australia, colder than average. That’s warmer than Canberra was, but not quite what we’d have liked for a winter getaway!
Anyhow, back to the Rim. We did the full 7+ kms walk, including the two side trips – one to Cotterill’s Lookout, which we don’t recollect doing before, and the other to the Garden of Eden which we have done. This walk always reminds me of Zion National Park in Utah. Both places have showy geology, a mix of gorgeous greens against stunning reds, and a sense of peace. That said, it was pretty busy up there. We came across many people along the way (including a couple with a toddler, a Norwegian pair, a mother and 50-something daughter, a chatty little boy, and a large AATKings group), but it never felt crowded. In fact, when we entered the Garden of Eden there were just two other pairs there. However, they left soon after we arrived, and we had the place to ourselves until we left. Blissful.
We love that there’s no sign of the nanny state here. There are no railings along the cliff edge – just warning signs – despite the steepness and huge drops. We are treated like adults. We also love that, a day later, neither of us feel any side effects, despite the climb and the couple of steep stair sections. It may seem like we are making a big fuss about this, but many in their 50s and 60s – including some of our very lovely Ghan compatriots whom we ran into back at the resort after our walk – come to the canyon and do not do the walk. You really don’t see the canyon if you don’t do this walk (unless you helicopter it).
Rejigging our trip
Our afternoon was spent rearranging our holiday – cancelling our Top End travels, and booking flights back home to Canberra. That done, we can now enjoy a few days at Uluru, before we head back to help Evan work out how to manage life with one functional arm (for the next few months, anyhow!)
Dining Under the Desert Moon
We enjoyed Uluru’s Sound of Silence desert dinner on our last trip, so this time we decided to do Watarrka’s version, which is quite a different experience. We had discovered that the couple we’d met at the Sunset Viewing had also booked in for the dinner, so, at the appointed hour we four, plus four others, met at the reception point and were walked around to the lovely little outdoor dining area. We were glad, once again, of the day’s warmer temperature (and the cloud cover) because it meant that, with the fire-pit going, we had no need of the jackets we’d all brought along. The desert air can be chilly in winter, once the sun goes down.
Our tables for two were arranged in a circle around the fire-pit. Not only were the couple we’d met before in the group, but also the mother and daughter we’d chatted briefly with on the Rim Walk – along with another couple. We had a lovely time talking to each other across the fire-pit – about travels, where we are from, and so on. We were all Aussies (though some hailed from elsewhere originally). Our friendly but efficient server, Adele, was pleased. Some groups (some couples even!) she said, do not communicate.
The meal was degustation style, and was cooked by a chef in an outdoor kitchen within our view. The dishes included canapés (with gluten-free crackers), an amuse bouche of pickled beetroots, a delicious little barramundi fillet, a pork belly dish, a granita palate cleanser, a beef dish with quandongs, and a deconstructed lemon dessert. A glass of sparkling wine on arrival was included in the price, but other drinks were extra. The whole meal took around 3 hours. At the end, the chef, from New Zealand, spoke to each of us at our tables.
Before we left we made arrangements to dine at Uluru with the “Sunset Viewing” couple, Melita and Brian, so we Can expect more camaraderie before we head home.
The slide show …
Some honeyeaters frolicking near the water pool …
A panorama movie of the canyon from the rim down to the Garden of Eden …
A panorama of the canyon walls …