Live Your List - Planets Align for Trip to Uluru
For a long time, Macquarie Hills resident Nicole Stanton had felt a calling to visit Uluru. So when Nicole’s daughter was invited to be a guest runner in the Australian Outback Marathon, it was like all the planets had aligned to deliver her wish. “Uluru was on my bucket list. Though I never imagined the Red Centre would end up being my favourite tick and leave an everlasting impression,” Nicole said.
Her daughter Tanisha as an aspiring Olympic Indigenous athlete was invited by Rob de Castella to run with the Indigenous Marathon Project. Knowing her mum’s yearning to see the rock, Tanisha invited Nicole to accompany her.
“I always thought I would do it someday and when the trip came up, I was amazed. I had wanted to go for so long, and the feeling had been getting stronger. It was like Uluru was calling me, I needed to be there, and I was going.”
Nicole was in awe from her first glimpse of the massive red sandstone monolith rising out of the desert.
“From the plane, I saw the big rock, and it gave me goosebumps. I thought “wow” and then imagined how big it is underground.”
Uluru was created over 600 million years ago; it originally sat at the bottom of a sea as an island mountain. It stands 348 metres above ground and reaches the height of 863m above sea level. Oval in shape, it measures 3.6kilometres long and 2.4km wide, with a circumference of 9.4 km. It is believed the bulk extends an estimated 2.5km underground.
When Nicole arrived at her accommodation, a viewing platform caught her eye, and she decided it was going to be her first place to experience the majesty of the UNESCO site.
“Being so near Uluru was incredible I could feel its energy – it was magical. It felt calming; I was at home.”
So captivated by its power and beauty, Nicole decided to watch every sunrise and sunset while there, but it was Uluru’s famous sunsets that most captivated her.
“The colours of pinks, blues, yellows, oranges and pastel tones were spectacular. Though the reddish hue outshone it all, it has its own glorious glow.”
A part of Nicole’s fascination with Uluru is her indigenous connection to the sacred site. For the past 10,000 years, the Anangu people have been in the Uluru area. To them, the rock is a place of a great power that includes being the universe’s centre and the home of the Earth Mother.
“As an Indigenous athlete, Tanisha ran with the Indigenous kids in the marathon, then after we went to the mission. We were very lucky to meet elders and be blessed by a welcoming ceremony.”
“During the walk around Uluru, I spent some time on my own and was struck by the serenity. It was just me, the birds and the rock’s energy. I was grateful to be there, alone and accept the gift of being part of this beautiful country, Mother Earth and her creations.”
Being up close and personal, Nicole put her hands on Uluru and realised at that moment its power, magnificence and beauty.
“From a distance, it seemed so smooth. Then up close it is so different with its dents and bumps. There are many changing faces - it is alive with its own personality.”
Nicole is planning to go back with her immediate family – husband, daughters and parents – to spend more time and visit neighbouring Kata Tjuta, another item on her ever-growing list!
“I actually have a bucket list, and I try and tick off one activity each year. However, as I cross off one, I seem to add another. So, it stays about the same size, and there still seems so much to do.”