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Kata Tjuta

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

No journey to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is complete without a visit to Kata Tjuta, a striking group of domed rocks huddled together about 35km west of Uluru. There are 36 boulders shoulder to shoulder, forming deep valleys and steep-sided gorges. Many visitors find them just as captivating as their prominent neighbour.

The tallest rock, Mt Olga (546m; 1066m above sea level) is approximately 200m higher than Uluru. Kata Tjuta means 'many heads' and is of great tjukurpa (relating to Aboriginal law, religion and custom) significance, particularly for men, so stick to the tracks.

The 7.4km Valley of the Winds loop (two to four hours) is one of the most challenging and rewarding bushwalks in the park. It winds through the gorges giving excellent views of the surreal domes and traversing varied terrain. It's not particularly arduous, but wear sturdy shoes and take plenty of water. Starting this walk at first light often rewards you with solitude, enabling you to appreciate the sounds of the wind and bird calls carried up the valley.

The short signposted track beneath towering rock walls into pretty Walpa Gorge (2.6km return, 45 minutes) is especially beautiful in the afternoon, when sunlight floods the gorge.

There's a picnic and sunset-viewing area with toilet facilities just off the access road a few kilometres west of the base of Kata Tjuta. Like Uluru, Kata Tjuta is at its glorious, blood-red best at sunset.