A Little Tour…It's Raining on Uluru

We’re flashing back to Australia today – to Uluru most specifically. Fret not my friends, the stories of Ireland are not over, but there were a handful of neat experiences in Australia that I never got a chance to cover.Hiking through Kata Juta

I’ll preface this entire post by saying that although I was on an organized tour and saw all of the major sites…the fact that it was raining made this one of the biggest (and wettest) of my Australia adventures. It’s not incredibly typical for it to rain for days on end in the outback – in fact it’s blatantly untypical.

So what does it take to start the rain storms in the outback? Me booking onto the “budget” three-day outback tour where you get the awesome pleasure of sleeping in swags (canvas sleeping bags) under the stars. It hadn’t rained in the outback for more than six months…so naturally bucket loads were in store for me.

What’s the appeal of the Australian outback?

The red center of Australia is incredibly flat but there are several huge natural sandstone rocks jutting out of the massive expanse of ruby-red dirt: Uluru and Kata Juta. Uluru (Ayres Rock to tourists) is the giant red rock most often associated with Australia; it’s sacred to the Aboriginals and there are dozens of myths and stories about the rock’s significance.

And I was jazzed to learn about them all…even through the endless, endless, endless, rain – which could have been a bummer if it wasn’t such a ridiculous trip.

Day One: Introductions, Sing-a-longs, and the race for Waterfalls

Waterfalls on the rockAs soon as the raindrops started hitting the windshield of the tour bus, our slightly spastic driver/guide, Jess, decided that caution is a relative term. Instead of slowing down and  continuing with vigilant  diligence toward Uluru, she excitedly gunned the engine babbling about our “great luck” at maybe-possibly-hopefully seeing waterfalls on Uluru.

The 21 of us crammed in the back of the tour bus all murmured excitedly – what luck, right?! Australia’s been in a dry-spell and now it breaks just in time for us to see waterfalls on the rock! Jess blasts “It’s Raining on the Rock” by John Williamson through the speakers of the car and we seem to be seriously trying to complete the last 30 miles in ten minutes flat.

By this point I was not the only one looking for a little bit of excitement after four plus hours of sing-a-longs and introductory games and the “oh-look there’s a camel” game. Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty neat to hear the “Journey-esque” songs from other countries, but there’s only oh-so much you can handle of 20 others (with varying skill levels) singing along at top volume.

Claiming my Bus Seat Between the songs and the games of hangman on the window (thank god for dry-erase markers…how come my parents never took these on car trips?!) we were very willing to instead focus attention on the huge rock looming darkly in the distance.

Our luck was holding because we pulled up to the rock while the rain clouds were still dumping water down the rock, causing natural waterfalls to spring up all over and cascade down the now-grayish tinged “red rock.” With Jess’ excitement fueling us we donned our rain coats and happily escaped the bus, snapping pictures of Uluru’s unique waterfalls – something Jess had only seen once before in the three years she had run tours!

With some rain still pouring down we plopped back into our seats to drive to the sunset spot.

That’s when, for THREE brief minutes,  the sun peaked out from behind the clouds while a rainbow lit up the rock. Instead of pushing through to the sunset spot we poured out of the van and I caught the only sunny picture I would ever take of Uluru…but there’s a rainbow creeping out, so it was pretty amazing actually :-)Sun peaking oout on Uluru

This may be how most people see the rock, but for me those three minutes of sunshine and rainbow are perhaps more special because of the deluge that would strand our bus over the next two days.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Uluru Outback adventure in the rain…day two sees us wading waist deep in the water and trying valiently to keep a smile on our faces!

And this is a little YouTube video of the song “It’s Raining on the Rock” – our theme song for the trip:

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34 Responses to A Little Tour…It's Raining on Uluru

  1. ShannonOD February 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    Thanks for the extra info! Loved my trip to Uluru :-)

  2. mathew8487 February 8, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    Nice video. Thanks for trip. Urulu, Ayers Rock or The Rock is a most discernable icon of australia. Urulu gigantic sandstone rock formation located in core Australia.Ayers Rock Was the name proffered by the European voyagers. The evidence of Dreamtime is perceivable in the rock’s crevices, crags and caverns. For more details refer .

    • ShannonOD February 9, 2010 at 4:09 am #

      Thanks for the extra info! Loved my trip to Uluru :-)

  3. mathew8487 February 8, 2010 at 3:26 am #

    Nice video. Thanks for trip. Urulu, Ayers Rock or The Rock is a most discernable icon of australia. Urulu gigantic sandstone rock formation located in core Australia.Ayers Rock Was the name proffered by the European voyagers. The evidence of Dreamtime is perceivable in the rock’s crevices, crags and caverns. For more details refer .

  4. ShannonOD December 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm #

    I looked up Stompin' Tom on YouTube- a couple of those songs certainly had
    me tappin' my toes and cracking a smile – how fun! :-)

  5. Dave and Deb December 11, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    Wow, lucky you seeing the waterfall. I just love when you stumble upon a unique moment in time. Great photo's too. The slide show youtube video is nice too. I like the song, it reminds me of music from Stompin' Tom here in Canada.

    • ShannonOD December 12, 2009 at 1:32 am #

      I looked up Stompin' Tom on YouTube- a couple of those songs certainly had
      me tappin' my toes and cracking a smile – how fun! :-)

  6. Dave and Deb December 11, 2009 at 8:23 am #

    Wow, lucky you seeing the waterfall. I just love when you stumble upon a unique moment in time. Great photo's too. The slide show youtube video is nice too. I like the song, it reminds me of music from Stompin' Tom here in Canada.

  7. Amy @ The Q Family December 9, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    It won't be such an adventure without a little intervention from mother nature. :)

    What a great view with the rainbow over the Rock!

    I think you have given me a great idea about dry eraser marker. Gotta put that on my kids' busy travel bag for the next trip. :)

    Can't wait to hear more about your adventure in the Aussie land.

    • ShannonOD December 9, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

      I think you should DEF put the markers in the travel bag. We played hangman
      on the windows and doodled for hours. Only tip though is to wipe it off
      before you get out of the car – if it bakes in the heat you have to use a
      bit more elbow grease to get it off! :-)

  8. nancythegnomette December 9, 2009 at 3:43 pm #

    Gorgeous photo. Uluru is now on my radar. Thanks!

    • ShannonOD December 9, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

      It was pretty spectacular – and incredibly different than any other part of
      Oz I visited. Def a place to put on the bucket list! :-)

  9. Chris December 9, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    You were incredibly lucky to see a waterfall, your picture with the rainbow is very rare!

    • ShannonOD December 9, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

      Well that makes me feel good! It was hard to believe our guide while I was
      there because there was such a deluge for three days! :-)

  10. Amy @ The Q Family December 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    It won’t be such an adventure without a little intervention from mother nature. :)

    What a great view with the rainbow over the Rock!

    I think you have given me a great idea about dry eraser marker. Gotta put that on my kids’ busy travel bag for the next trip. :)

    Can’t wait to hear more about your adventure in the Aussie land.

  11. ShannonOD December 9, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    I think you should DEF put the markers in the travel bag. We played hangman
    on the windows and doodled for hours. Only tip though is to wipe it off
    before you get out of the car – if it bakes in the heat you have to use a
    bit more elbow grease to get it off! :-)

  12. ShannonOD December 9, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    It was pretty spectacular – and incredibly different than any other part of
    Oz I visited. Def a place to put on the bucket list! :-)

  13. ShannonOD December 9, 2009 at 10:56 am #

    Well that makes me feel good! It was hard to believe our guide while I was
    there because there was such a deluge for three days! :-)

  14. Amy @ The Q Family December 9, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    It won't be such an adventure without a little intervention from mother nature. :)

    What a great view with the rainbow over the Rock!

    I think you have given me a great idea about dry eraser marker. Gotta put that on my kids' busy travel bag for the next trip. :)

    Can't wait to hear more about your adventure in the Aussie land.

  15. Amy @ The Q Family December 9, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    It won't be such an adventure without a little intervention from mother nature. :)

    What a great view with the rainbow over the Rock!

    I think you have given me a great idea about dry eraser marker. Gotta put that on my kids' busy travel bag for the next trip. :)

    Can't wait to hear more about your adventure in the Aussie land.

  16. nancythegnomette December 9, 2009 at 8:43 am #

    Gorgeous photo. Uluru is now on my radar. Thanks!

  17. Chris December 9, 2009 at 8:32 am #

    You were incredibly lucky to see a waterfall, your picture with the rainbow is very rare!

  18. CandiceW December 9, 2009 at 4:43 am #

    Lucky girl! I love it.

  19. EmmaOconnor December 9, 2009 at 12:11 am #

    My Goodness Shannon, I can't believe it!! Jess was right, you are extremely lucky. I have been to Uluru more than once and not seen waterfalls. Being that rain is rare and intermittent… so are rainbows!! Well done, on your beautiful photos too.

  20. Lindsey December 9, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    At least you got a great photo!!! Even though you had a challenging time, I'm sure the trip was a memorable one. :)

    • ShannonOD December 9, 2009 at 4:41 am #

      You're right! The photo made it all worth it…and the people on our tour
      weren't a bunch a whiners, so that made it all the better too :-)

  21. CandiceW December 8, 2009 at 9:43 pm #

    Lucky girl! I love it.

  22. ShannonOD December 8, 2009 at 9:41 pm #

    You're right! The photo made it all worth it…and the people on our tour
    weren't a bunch a whiners, so that made it all the better too :-)

  23. Lindsey December 8, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    At least you got a great photo!!! Even though you had a challenging time, I'm sure the trip was a memorable one. :)

  24. andrewghayes December 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    Wow – that is one amazing photograph. Sweet!

    • ShannonOD December 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

      Thanks Andy! :-)

  25. ShannonOD December 8, 2009 at 7:34 am #

    Thanks Andy! :-)

    • EmmaOconnor December 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

      My Goodness Shannon, I can't believe it!! Jess was right, you are extremely lucky. I have been to Uluru more than once and not seen waterfalls. Being that rain is rare and intermittent… so are rainbows!! Well done, on your beautiful photos too.

  26. andrewghayes December 8, 2009 at 6:31 am #

    Wow – that is one amazing photograph. Sweet!

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