Day 7 – Road to Rainbow Valley

Written by: Brandon

Sunrise at Uluru

After the previous day, we initially set the alarm to wake us at 5:30am so that we could catch the sunrise which was a 45-minute drive to the nearest sunrise viewing platform. But the cold dry morning air woke us up first. Due to passing storms in the area over the night, we woke to a freezing 9 degrees! (The rooms aren’t heated by the way so do pack for cold nights!).

We hurriedly packed into the car and drove out to Talinguru Nyakunytjaku. No, I didn’t suffer an aneurysm. Talinguru Nyakunytjaku, which translates into ‘Place to look from sand dune’ is one of the few designated areas in the national park where you can view sunrises or sunsets. Be sure to go for the right one or you’ll just be seeing a giant silhouette!

If you have the time, Talinguru Nyakunytjaku offers two short walks that gives you insights into how the men and women of Anagu go about their daily lives!

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So together with a few more 4WDs, we rushed to Talinguru Nyakunytjaku. When we got there, the sunrise decks were already crowded with people as expected. Although skies were cloudy and I was only wearing sandals in 9 degree weather, we remained hopeful. After about 25 minutes with the sun being blocked by the clouds, we resigned to fate and walked back to the car and then it happened:

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The clouds cleared enough and Uluru glowed in the colors of the morning sun! Sadly, that was the only sunrise we managed to catch during our time in this national park but better late than never!

We headed back to the hostel for breakfast, checked out and made our way to our last major stop of our trip, Stuarts Roadhouse & Rainbow Valley. This was gonna be the longest ride in between destinations for this trip, 397 kilometers or a estimated 6 hour 30min ride on mostly sealed roads thankfully.

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Of course it’s not a straight dash to the finish line!

En route to Stuarts Well Roadhouse

There were some roadhouses and minor points of interest along the way, the first being Mt Conner lookout!

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We initially overlooked this spot on the way to Uluru. This lookout provides a breathtaking view of Mt Conner in the distance and the nearby salt lakes. The lookout offers toilets if you need one.

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The next stop was Mt Ebenezer Roadhouse where we stopped for some drinks and ice cream. The roadhouse is a small quaint roadhouse which is run by the local indigenous Imanpa community which has some supplies and fuel for sale and accommodation if you need a place to bunk in for the night.

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If you have the time, check out the art gallery as it features artwork from the local as well as other indigenous communities and yes, some of their artworks are for sale if you wanted to bring home a nice souvenir.

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Our last stop before we drove on to Suarts Roadhouse and Rainbow Valley was Erldunda Roadhouse. Situated at the intersection of Stuart and Lasseter Highway, Erldunda roadhouse prides itself as being the “center of the center”. Meaning that once you reach Erldunda Roadhouse, you are literally in the center of Australia!

DSC_8419.jpgDSC_8426.jpgIf you were like us, coming from Lasseter Highway, turning right on Stuart highway will allow you to drive to Adelaide (1300km away) and left will take you back to Alice Springs (200km away) and eventually, Darwin (1500km away). Maybe we’ll be back to try out those options in the future! Heh.

Like all other roadhouses, Erldunda provides, supplies, fuel, food, accommodation and even some reception (4G if I remember correctly on Telstra). Out of all the roadhouses we visited, Erldunda’s was relatively more well stocked and bigger than the rest. (Had a cafe and restaurant and a relatively large general store).

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And last but not least Cluck Norris the rooster who thinks he’s a kangaroo. Yes, not just any Cluck Norris but the one and only Cluck Norris. We only learnt about him after the trip which was a shame. If you do stop by Erldunda, be sure to ask for this celebrity rooster!

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Stay tuned for part 2 of day 7 where we detail about our last major destinations, Stuarts Roadhouse and Rainbow Valley which were roughly about a 150km away!

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