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The cabins
The cabins
The resort
Ayers Rock

Longitude 131

Thursday, August 28, 2003
Catriona is calling this camping; but this is luxurious 5-star cabins with undoubtedly the best view in the world.

Voyages Resorts run the Ayers Rock Resort, covering accommodation options from five-star to camping. It can take 4500 people at full capacity.

Their latest venture is a luxury safari-style camp, Longitude 131°, which is around six kilometres away from their main resort, 10km from Uluru and very close to the border of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Fifteen luxury tents on an isolated sand dune immerse you in the spectacular landscape, ancient culture and mystery of the heart of Australia.

Around 900 million years ago much of central Australia was on or below sea level, forming an arm of the sea known as the Amadeus Basin. Rivers of mud, sand and gravel built up layers of sediment and the eroded remnants of the formations created the spectacular Macdonnell Ranges and Mount Conner.

Five hundred and fifty million years ago the first major folding event buckled and crumpled the older sediments to create a new mountain range. The Petermann Ranges slowly eroded with each rainfall, washing away huge amounts of sediment to form alluvial fans. The remains of at least two are Uluru (once known as Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (formerly the Olgas). Later a shallow sea which was full of life was formed, the fossils of which can still be seen.

Approximately 400 million years ago the sea receded, the rocks folded, fractured and quickly eroded. At this time the entire region was raised above sea level and Uluru's horizontal layers were turned 90° to their present position, while Kata Tjuta's were tilted 15-20º from horizontal. A million years later the layers of rock began an erosion process to eventually form Uluru and Kata Tjuta. It is believed they reach six kilometres underground.

Seventy million years ago an area between Uluru and Kata Tjuta eroded to form a valley. It filled with sediments deposited by streams and marshes and over time, plants accumulated in the wetlands to form layers of peat, which compressed to form coal. Fossil pollens from this period have been discovered trapped in coal in the rainforests, suggesting central Australia once had a much wetter climate. It became dry and barren over the last 500,000 years.

Aborigines were the first people to settle outback Australia and the area hasn't changed much in the estimated 22,000 years of their habitation. Sacred sites are of great importance to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara people.

Longitude 131° guests take the road less travelled to share experiences few others enjoy.

The history of the area is discussed in two morning and two afternoon fully-guided tours. Tours are not regimented or strictly set — they take advantage of the moment. The Botanical Walk is through desert landscapes, dune country, spinifex country, mulga woodlands and desert oak communities. Guests see at first-hand native habitats, flora and fauna, bush food and medicine while smelling, touching and tasting their surroundings.

Songlines sunset tours are an afternoon in the World Heritage Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, learning about worldwide cultural relationships with spirituality, life, land and the relationship to modern life. You then visit the Cultural Centre where Aboriginal people express their law and traditions through story, art, craft, song and interpretive displays. Return to the Dune House to enjoy the desert sunset and spectacular southern night skies while enjoying drinks and canapés.

Gorge Dramatic Sunset tours take place in a quiet gorge at the base of the enormous monolith. There you experience a dramatic view of sunset from "within" Uluru. During sunset everything changes dramatically. The size and scale of the formation is best gauged from close-up.

Cave Hill tours travel 2.5 hours from Ayers Rock Resort in a luxury four-wheel drive, travelling through the Central Australian desert and crossing into South Australia.

To see the rock from above, Dan O'Dwyer runs Professional Helicopter Services. He flies a four-seater Jetranger and takes visitors when the light is at its most illuminative.

Location

Near Uluru in the Northern Territory

Cost

Longitude 131° tents sleep one or two people and cost $1495 a night, with a minimum two-night stay. Transfers, tours, food and beverages are included. They run year round.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Longitude 131° Resort
Ayers Rock Resort
Yulara NT 0872
Ph: 1300 134 044
Fax: (02) 9299 2103
www.voyages.com.au
travel@voyages.com.au

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Box 119, PO
Yulara NT 0872
Ph: (08) 8956 2299
Fax: (08) 8956 2064
www.ea.gov.au/parks/uluru
uluru.informationdesk@ea.gov.au

Professional Helicopter Services
Box 348 PO
Ayers Rock NT 0872
Ph: (08) 8956 2003
Fax: (08) 8956 2788
www.phs.com.au
phsrock@bigpond.com

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