Kata Tjuta – Valley of the Winds – Across the Open Plain

Breathing in the space…

Kata Tjuta Valley of the Winds

The expansive space of the Australian Outback…

Kata Tjuta

The last time I felt my chest breathing in the wonderful wide open expansiveness of the Australian outback, this deeply, was when working on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert.

When you watch the video below… breath…

Can you smell it?

(If you can’t see the video below, click here)

There don’t seem to be too many places in this world (unless you go on overnight hikes) where you can really feel you’re in the middle of no where. But this section – out on the open plains of the Valley of the Winds walk – gives you a true outback experience and… you don’t even need to carry a compass 🙂

Kata Tjuta

Walking Kata Tjuta’s Valley of the Winds in an anti-clockwise direction we’d left Karu Lookout (1.1km/0.7mile from the car park) and clambered up and over the lower reaches of some of the 36 domes that make up this UNESCO world heritage site until we’d ventured into what felt like a secret labyrinth where we were immersed… engulfed… on all sides by Kata Tjuta’s towering rusty red immensity.

Kata Tjuta

Leaving this amphitheater of ‘many heads’ behind us (Kata Tjuta means ‘many heads’ in Pitjantjatjara) we descended the rugged path that led down from Karingana Lookout (2.7km/1.7miles from the car park) out on to an ever opening plain.

Kata Tjuta

From being encapsulated by its warm embrace, the red rock faces widened – And we were set free into the broad landscape below.

Kata Tjuta Open Plain

Underfoot was the sound of scrunching gravel as my hiking boots came down on the stony surface.

Kata Tjuta

While the breeze brushed past my ears and whistled across the plain skimming the tops of the abundant wildflowers swaying them to dance.

Wildflowers Kata Tjuta

This central desert atmosphere is dry, oh so dry – even during the winter months when we were here, and the sun wasn’t that scorching hot, I had to drink nearly 2 litres of water to keep hydrated as the air around me managed to somehow extract and evaporate the moisture from the inside out! And how do these plants survive in their arid rocky home?

Kata Tjtuta

The all enveloping crystal clear blue sky leaves these flowering blooms exposed to the sun’s pounding rays all day, and then at night allows the day’s warmth to escape out to the distant icy reaches of space.

Kata Tjuta Valley of the Winds

Breathing in the desert air at Kata Tjuta

In the earlier part of the walk we’d seen Zebra finches hugging a precious pool of water; here on the open plain we encountered a Spinifex Pigeon

Spinifex Pigeon

Who wooed us

(If you can’t see the video click here)

  If you want to experience the power of the outback, without getting lost – The Valley of the Winds walk will blow you away!

Kata Tjuta sunset

The Valley of the Winds walk at Kata Tjuta in one word is …


Map Kata Tjuta

Highlighting my holiday adventures

To read the first part of the Kata Tjuta Valley of the Winds walk as far a Karingana Lookout click here

To learn how to story map like this click here for my series – How to Travel Journal Like a Mapmaker

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10 thoughts on “Kata Tjuta – Valley of the Winds – Across the Open Plain

  1. That is just a magic place and what beautiful photos. The colours are stunning and the bird has the cutest face. Thanks for sharing this. I am in South East Queensland and love it but I will get to these wild regions one day.

    • It took a visit from an international friend to finally get me there!
      When you live in Oz its too easy to say… One day –
      But Uluru – Kata Tjuta are out on a limb even when driving up through the Centre so I’m beginning to think a week’s trip (and hiring a car) in this Central region just ‘to do’ Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon would be money well spent 🙂

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  4. It is the most magical place. Dry as Hades, but fascinating that it supports such life and spirit despite the lack of rain and water. Your photos really highlight the red of the outback, the freedom and the expansiveness.

    • I adore Kata Tjuta 🙂
      And this walk is superb as you can truly experience, as you said, the vast expansiveness of the Australian outback, but with the relative security (as long as you are carrying plenty of water!) that you are on a marked trail that will lead you back from the bush to civilization!
      I recommend everyone do this walk if they are going to the Centre – But leave before light to ensure you miss the heat of the day – which even in winter can get uncomfortable 🙂

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