ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Australia's Top Tourism Treasures - Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park & MacDonnell Ranges

Updated on March 25, 2010

The 36 conglomerate domes of Kata Tjuta rise up to 1,791 feet and have been called extraordinary freaks or convulsions of nature. However, the formation has immense spiritual significance to the local people. Much of Kata Tjuta is associated with sacred stories and rituals that are the exclusive knowledge of initiated men. Consequently, no Tjukurpa stories can be passed on to the general public. However, Kata Tjuta's natural wonders are on open display and best viewed on the two walks that depart from the parking lot.

During the warmer months, discerning observers may spot superbly camouflaged earless dragons and perenties, at up to six and a half feet long Australia's largest lizards, on the stony slopes. Bird life is prolific here: seed-eaters such as zebra finches, crested pigeons, and budgerigars flit in and out of the forested valleys; magpies, gray shrike-thrushes, and pied butcherbirds burst into sporadic song; singing and gray-headed honeyeaters forage for insects among the foliage; and kestrels nest in rocky hollows high up on the domes.

In Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, nature has stripped away the fat of the land to reveal the bare and beautiful bones of one of her most spectacular desert environments. Time spent here, no matter how brief, instills a sense of wonder, for the limitless plains, the massive, sometimes surreal formations, the remarkable plants and wildlife, and the rich indigenous culture that binds them all together.

The MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory

Viewed from the quartzite ridge at Counts Point, the MacDonnell Ranges extend from the eastern horizon to the west, their great folds and ridges falling and rising, seemingly without end. A series of parallel ranges rather than a single chain, the mountains stretch out across Australia's arid heart like great stone lizards basking in the sun. The slopes are sparsely covered with cypress pine, spinifex grass, and mulga bush, and their rocky outlines and warm shades of red, gold, and brown stand out boldly in the clear desert air which seems to shimmer in the hot mid day sunshine. To the northwest, the tallest peak in the MacDonnells, Mount Zeil, is clearly visible; even more impressive is its neighbor, Mount Sonder, with its mauve coloring and majestic lines. Between the ranges, dark-green mulga bushes dot broad valleys of red earth, and the white-sand beds of watercourses, fringed by red gum trees, wend their way across the flats. These rivers have not seen a permanent flow of water for thousands of years, but over eons they have cut deep gorges through the iron-stained ranges. In their cool shadows grow ferns and mosses, and palmlike cycads that are relics of a past age when the rain forests of Central Australia spread down to the shores of an ancient sea.

Known to the local Arrernte people as Altjira, the MacDonnell Ranges extend 90 miles on either side of Alice Springs. Tropical and temperate climates mingle over the MacDonnells, producing wide variations in rainfall. Combined with the diverse landforms, this gives the mountains a much greater range of environments than the surrounding desert plains.

Continued in: Australia's Top Tourism Treasures - The MacDonnell Ranges

Back To Start

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)