The Formation Of The Domes Of Kata Tjuta
The sandstone domes of Kata Tjuta are formed approximately 300 million years ago. When the huge slab of rock that is Kata Tjuta was being folded and faulted, fractures cracked through the rock. Water then seeped down the cracks and eroded the rock to form valleys and gorges that spilt the rock slab into blocks.
Through time, weathering and erosion wore away the rocks above the cracks to produce the rounded domes we see today. Hence, the Pitjantjatjara name Kata Tjuta which means “many heads” was given to the unique rock formation.
The Valley Of The Winds
From afar, the domes of Kata Tjuta looked relatively small in size but as we got closer, its massive size is revealed. After crossing the flat and wide open terrain, we came to an opening between two domes known as the Valley of the Winds.
Like its name, the Valley of the Winds is a very windy geological area. We endured constant blow of strong winds as we made our way through the valley. It made walking difficult especially if one is going against the wind’s direction.
The howling of the strong winds passing through the valley echoed throughout our journey. Whether we enjoyed or loathed it, it was indeed an unforgettable experience – uniquely at the Valley of the Winds, Kata Tjuta. I happen to enjoy the strong winds as long as it does not send piles of dust and debris flying straight into my face and eyes or knock me off track.
A Steep Climb To The Top To Reach Karingana Lookout
The most challenging part of the walk I would say is the steep climb to the top of the valley to reach Karingana Lookout. I remember having to keep my balance as I walked carefully across the hundreds of loose rocks on the steep trail, besides battling the strong gusts of wind.
After much effort – huffing and puffing along the way, the group and I made it to the top in one piece. We finally reached the scenic Karingana Lookout in Kata Tjuta! There, we took a 15-minute break to catch our breaths and enjoy the panoramic view.
Rhea, our Emu Run Tours guide distributed a fruit (an apple or orange, I cannot remember) and an energy bar to everyone in the group to munch on. While some were snacking, others were busy taking photographs of the impressive view in front and all around us.
Awe-Inspiring Towering Red Rocks & Outback Plant Life
Standing in front of the towering red rocks of Kata Tjuta, I was made to realise how small we are on this planet, and in the universe. I felt a huge sense of gratitude for being able to experience first-hand the indescribable beauty and wonders of the Australian outback and desert landscape in Kata Tjuta.
After that, we continued our walk downhill and made our way back to the parking lot. Along the way, we passed by interesting-looking desert plants that provide shade for us from the blistering heat. Once again, we walked on a stony, rugged and isolated path littered with loose rocks of all shapes and sizes.
In the end, all of us made it back to the parking lot slightly past noon. We felt tired, but happy to have completed the 5.5 km Karingana Walk in Kata Tjuta, Central Australia. We took nothing but photographs as our souvenirs in an effort to preserve the land for the generations to come. As a Native American quote goes, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”