Every Australian feels the pull of the Red Centre, yet many of us leave it until we retire to visit. There are so many active adventures on offer, it pays to get out there sooner. It pays to go to Kata Tjuta, located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, 460km south-west of Alice Springs, while you’re fighting fit.  For everyone: Kata Tjuta’s 36 domes form the region known for many years by white Australians as the Olgas. Kata Tjuta means “many heads” in the Pitjantjatjara language. While some areas here are out of bounds because it is a sacred site, there are two marked trails open to all visitors.

For fitness freaks: The more difficult 7.4km Valley of the Winds trail is a three-hour hike that takes you up the domes’ steep sides to some beautiful lookout points, then down between the many mounds. It can get unbearably hot here; if the temperature reaches above 36°C, this trail is closed.

For the less mobile: The least difficult of the two walks is the track to Walpa Gorge, a rocky 2.6km return trip from the car park. If the heat is too much, there are also two great viewing spots – for sunrise, stop 26km along the road to Kata Tjuta. The sunset viewing area also has the area’s only public toilets.

Where to stay: If you’re not rich enough to splurge on Longy (see previous page), try Ayers Rock Resort (ayersrockresort.com.au), which has options to suit all budgets. Its website has maps of Uluru and Kata Tjuta’s sunset and sunrise viewing areas.
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