They say that in the desert, the stars are so big and so bright in the velvety, dark sky that you feel that you could almost reach out and touch them.
This is certainly true of the night skies that surround Uluru, (Ayers Rock), which is located in the centre of Australia. I travelled to Uluru last week with my husband Kenn and friends, Helen and Phil. Luckily for me, I had a window seat for as we approached Uluru, the pilot banked the plane on his approach and I had my first view of the rock. Even from the air, it’s huge: it dominated the landscape.
Settling into our rooms at the very comfortable Desert Gardens Hotel, we spent a couple of hours exploring the resort township of Yulara,
which is just 20 kilometers from the Rock before readying ourselves for our first encounter with the desert, ‘The Sounds of Silence” dinner. This was truly unforgettable. We were picked up by our coach as dusk was approaching and driven out into the desert, There we walked up a sand hill where we were greeted with champagne, a view of the rock and the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo.
A couple of champagnes later and the sun had dipped below the horizon. We were ushered to our dining table under the stars where a wonderful Australian themed dinner awaited us. What’s not to like about wonderful food and wine in an unforgettable setting?
While we dined, we were entertained by a group of young Aboriginal dancers. I really liked their youthful enthusiasm and the way the boys acknowledged their uncles and elders who had shared their dances with them. Then there were the stars: millions of them. We listened as a young astronomer pointed out some of the constellations and planets we could see and invited us to look more closely at them through a telescope. I have waited a long time to see the moons of Jupiter and Saturn’s rings with my own eyes!
When at last the final port had been drunk, the last chocolate consumed and the torches had burned low, we found ourselves walking back through the dark, in the silence, sheltered by the stars, touched by the magic of the desert.