5D/4N Backpacking Uluru (Ayers Rock) : Imalung Lookout, Resort Town Square, Magical Sunset & Stargazing at Pioneer Lookout

        Our stay in Uluru (Ayers Rock), Northern Territory, Australia will not be complete without taking a glimpse at the mighty and sacred Uluru (Ayers Rock) itself! Therefore, the first activity Daphne and I did upon checking-in our room at Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge was to walk to Imalung Lookout. From there, we proceeded to the Resort Town Square for Anangu Indigenous cultural experiences, and subsequently headed back for a magical sunset and Southern night sky stargazing at Pioneer Outlook.

A Walk Through the Ochre Red Sand Dunes & Captivating Desert of the Australian Outback

        From our hostel, we crossed the street and made our way through the sea of soft ochre red sand dunes and desert shrubs to reach Imalung Lookout. Along the way, we had many opportunities to observe and admire the fascinating flora and fauna of the Australian desert in the outback.

        The land was predominantly flat, dry and barren. Interesting looking trees and shrubs with needle-like leaves populated the land abundantly. We heard birds and insects noisily calling out in the distance but we did not see them. The air was hot and dry, but the heat was bearable because we travelled in spring where the temperature was relatively low. Also, it is season where there will be less flies flying about to annoy the hell out of us.

        The soft sand dunes were in striking ochre red while the crystal clear sky was in the brightest blue I have ever seen! The high colour contrast created a picturesque, eye-catching background for taking beautiful photos. Everywhere we look, it was picture perfect.

A map of Ayers Rock Resort that includes the accommodation options of Sails in the Desert, Desert Garden Hotel, Emu Walk Apartments, Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge, Resort Coach Campground and Ayers Rock Resort Campground, the Resort Town Square lookouts locations, etc

Walking on the path to Imalung Lookout, through the desert and sand dunes

The ochre red road/path to Imalung Lookout

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - Lao Tzu @ Uluru

Beautiful Australian outback/desert flora

Jumping in joy in the desert of the Australian Outback, Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Picturesque ochre red path of the desert in the Australian Outback, Uluru (Ayers Rock)

A Glimpse of Uluru (Ayers Rock) at Imalung Lookout

        Daphne and I reached Imalung Lookout after a 15-minute scenic walk through the sand dunes and desert landscape. At the lookout, we had a good view of Uluru (Ayers Rock) from a distance. It stood out majestically in comparison to the flat landscape surrounding it.

        Fun facts: Uluru is 3.6 kilometres long and 348 metres at its tallest point. It stands 43 metres higher than Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower, 24 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower and is just 33 metres lower than the Empire State Building. Even from a distance, Uluru (Ayers Rock) looked impressive. For now, I can only imagine the large scale of its colossal size if I were to stand in front of it.

Uluru (Ayers Rock) from Imalung Lookout

The path to Imalung Lookout

Conveniences & Anangu Aboriginal Cultural Experiences at the Resort Town Square

        The Resort Town Square was teaming with life and activities when we got there. There is a post office, supermarket, spa, various restaurants, souvenir shops, tennis court and even a swimming pool and bar at the Resort Town Square! Everything you ever needed or wanted is available at the town square. We bought fresh groceries, pre-packed meals such as sandwiches and chilled drinks there.

        Daphne bought a postcard and mailed it back home while I played around with Australia’s famous cork slouch hat. Before this, I did not know the use of such an odd-looking hat, but now I know! The hanging corks attached to the hat serve a purpose to shoo away pesky flies and insects from one’s face, especially in the outback during summer where flies and insects are almost everywhere.

        Besides providing the necessary conveniences to visitors, the Resort Town Square also offers a wide variety of Anangu and Australian Indigenous culture and traditions experiences where visitors can participate in the free daily activities organised by Ayers Rock Resort’s Indigenous activities team. Among the activities offered were guided or self-guided bushwalks, learn how to throw a spear or boomerang, listen to the enchanting sounds of the didgeridoo, paint an Anangu aboriginal art or enjoy the traditional Indigenous dance and theatre performances.

The Resort Town Square, Uluru (Ayers Rock)

The post office at the Resort Town Square

The supermarket at the Resort Town Square

Trying on the famous Australian cork slouch hat at the Resort Town Square

Wakagetti dancers in action

The dance reflects the habits of a certain bush animal

Guest participation - the children having a good time on stage!

Erika and the Wakagetti cultural dancers

Bush Yarn "Survival Kit" Session - Of Kali (boomerang), Katji (spear), Miru (spear thrower) and Tjutinpa (club)

Bush Yarn "Survival Kit" Session - Of Kali (boomerang), Katji (spear), Miru (spear thrower) and Tjutinpa (club)

According to Anangu custom/tradition, only the men are allowed to play the Yidaki a.k.a didgeridoo (wind instrument)

Taking a nap on the grass at the Resort Town Square, Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Free shuttle bus ride courtesy of Ayers Rock Resort, Uluru (Ayers Rock)

A Magical Sunset & Southern Night Sky Stargazing at Pioneer Lookout

        From the Resort Town Square, Daphne and I decided to hop on the free shuttle bus provided by Ayers Rock Resort to get back to our hostel – Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge. For your information, a free shuttle bus circulates the Resort daily and departs approximately every 20 minutes; picking up and dropping off visitors from various destinations/stops within the Resort.

        At the hostel, we then decided to head out to Pioneer Lookout to watch the sunset. The lookout is located a stone’s throw away from our room and it was an easy walk to reach it. At Pioneer Lookout, we had an even better and closer view of Uluru (Ayers Rock) as compared to the view we enjoyed at Imalung Lookout. This is due to the fact that Pioneer Lookout is located closer to Uluru (Ayers Rock).

        We patiently waited for the sun to set and it was not long before we witnessed one of nature’s spectacular shows. Uluru (Ayers Rock) magnificently changed colours and hues as the sun sets. It was a sight to behold! And, the Southern sky gradually changed colours and hues from bright blue to crimson red, dark orange, dark blue and subsequently, pitch black to unfold a breathtaking sky full of stars! With no artificial lights present from urban dwellings to overpower the natural night light, the sky came alive with billions of mesmerising stars twinkling in delight.

        We could see the constellations of stars clearly in the sky. We saw the beautiful Milky Way and spotted the Southern Cross too! It was by far, the most magical sunset and precious moment I have ever experienced in my entire life! Hands down to it! I will forever remember this magical moment in Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia. You should experience it at least once in your lifetime.

The path to Pioneer Lookout

Pioneer Lookout at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge

From Imalung Lookout to Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge

Uluru (Ayers Rock) as seen from Pioneer Lookout - the closest and best view in the entire area!

Sunset at Imalung Lookout, Uluru (Ayers Rock)

The sky changes colours as the sun sets

A beautiful sunset in Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Waiting for the stars to come out

Dusk at Uluru (Ayers Rock)

What we saw that night: The Milky Way, Southern Constellations and the Southern Cross in the sky - photo taken from the professional camera of our new found friend we met at Imalung Lookout, Uluru (Ayers Rock) :-)

Up next: 3D/2N Uluru – Kings Canyon – Uluru Camping Tour by Emu Run Tours

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