Valley of the Winds,
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Distance: 4.5 miles Time: 3 hours Type: Round trip
Kata Tjuta - formerly called the Olgas - is often overlooked for its more famous neighour, Uluru, but it is equally beautiful and well worth a visit when in central Australia. The site actually comprises of a grouping of 36 bornhardt - dome-shaped, steep-sided rocks - rather than a single massive inselberg like Uluru. You can view the rocks from a distance or hike amongst them. Kata Tjuta is also sacred to the local aborigine.
There are mulitple possible walks on the same loop but we completed the full Valley of the Winds circuit. The Karingana lookout is probably the most spectacular spot on the route: about half-way through the hike you climb through a narrow slit between the rocks to a high pass, from where you look down into the valley beyond. Unfortunately, with the high contrast between the near rocks and the sweeping panorama it's difficult to take a good picture of the view, but it really is an epic vista. There are alo beautiful meadows, birdlife and trees.
Unlike the Uluru base walk, there is some shade provided by the rocks and trees and the landscape is somewhat more lush. Of course, you have to ensure you take enough water with you on the hike - there is also a tap about half-way along the trail.
A map of the hike can be found here: