Wellygogs

Wellington Boots Strike Again
 
 
 
 
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About two years after we began our At-Venture, we received an email from a friend who was pleased that I for one was not in Plymouth. A really simple little job was needed to be done on Council land but couldn’t be completed because no one on duty at the time was trained in the wearing of Wellington boots. My hair stood on end when I read said email. Since that time any similar ‘incidents’ are known as Wellygogs. This is yet another classic story. After our Mala walk we got back in the bus and David took us to see the twenty one million dollar car park........Talinguru Nyakunytjaku.
 
 
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The Australian: Reporter Ross Barnett. 24th of October 2009.

On the dark side of Uluru's sunrise: A NEW viewing area at Uluru, built at a cost almost 10 times that of two sunrise locations on the northeast side of the monolith, has been put in the wrong spot, photographers say, placing the rock in shadow in the mornings during the popular winter season.

The new Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area is 3km from the Rock, on the southeast side of Uluru. From here both the elongated southern flank of Uluru and the distant domes of Kata Tjuta can be seen. Yet veteran landscape photographer Ken Duncan says the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku site is a "second-rate location at best", which only "takes us all further away from the Rock". "To call it a sunrise viewing area is laughable," he suggests. "They (Parks Australia) have only called it that so that they can take away the real sunrise viewing area on the other side of the Rock, which is much better."

The new viewing area, opened by federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett on October 8, could have been set in a different part of the national park at a fraction of the final $21 million project cost. According to a traffic and parking study prepared for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in August 2005 by engineering firm Sinclair Knight Merz, two cost-saving options could have placed a sunrise location on the northeast side of Uluru for just $1.63m and $2.18m respectively. Both options would have been consistent with a park infrastructure master plan completed in January 2000. But Parks Australia chose instead to turn a minor project that was intended to address a safety concern with a sunrise viewing area on the former Uluru ring road into a piece of major infrastructure.

Chris Tangey, an Alice Springs-based cameraman and location manager, shares Duncan's misgivings about the new site. According to Tangey, the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area will be "pretty pathetic" for early morning filming during the middle of the year. Tangey says this is because the sun's first rays will not hit this part of the rock at all, or strike it only very obliquely. Tangey also mentions a viewing area on the northeast side that was used by respected author and photographer Stanley Breeden in the early 1990s. It was from here that Breeden took the dramatic sunrise picture for the cover of his 1994 book, Uluru: Looking After Uluru-Kata Tjuta -- The Anangu Way. The book was produced with the support of the Australian Nature Conservation Agency (the predecessor to Parks Australia) and the park's traditional owners. According to Tangey, this alternate site, where the park master plan had always situated a replacement viewing area, would have "been perfect as a sunrise viewing area, but it (the new site) was never about making visitors happy". But Margot Marshall, the director of public affairs at Parks Australia, denies Talinguru Nyakunytjaku is intended to be solely a sunrise viewing area. It will, she says, "be a major area to see the sunrise and will also provide stunning views at all times of the day". Marshall says the sunrise viewing site used by Breeden has a limited capacity for visitors, with little or no scope to use it as anything else. That site is also deemed to be culturally unacceptable.

Explaining the $21m bill for the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku site, Peter Cochrane, the director of National Parks, said more than half of the money, $12m, was allocated to new roadworks associated with the viewing site. Three kilometres of roadworks were required to link the new site to the Uluru ring road, while a further 8.3km of new road was constructed as an "extension" to the ring road. Mr Cochrane says the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area is not only a "fantastic new area, (but) an excellent investment".

Craig Catchlove, general manager of Tourism Central Australia when the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku site was proposed in 2006 and now a manager for Alice Springs Council, says the new site opens up a "side of the rock that has virtually never been seen by most people before". It is also a "wonderful alternative" as a sunset viewing area for people who are visiting the park on a second day, "because you will see the rock in silhouette and the sun setting behind Kata Tjuta in the distance". But he agrees Talinguru Nyakunytjaku is an "inferior dawn site" and argues that "no one should deny that". "As a sunrise viewing area it is nowhere near as good as the original mooted site but that area was hit on the head for cultural and sacred sites reasons," he says.

 

 

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If a bus park can be called beautiful, then this is stunning.
 
 
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Swinging round, this is the car park.
 
 
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The red sand we have become accustomed in the area was apparently ‘not suitable’ so this sand surrounding the lovely blocks and walkways was imported, finer and posher. Now my hair has gone up and we both looked at each other and mouthed “Wellygogs”. Considering these pictures were taken mid-afternoon during high season................they speak volumes. We would come back for sunrise on the morrow and after parking we would walk for twenty minutes to the viewing platform that had to be built to get the ‘correct’ view’'.

 

 

Talinguru-Nyakunytja

 

The report from the official tourism folks: Talinguru Nyakunytjaku has opened to the public and all tour operators at 12.30 pm today (8th October 2009.) This new $21-million-dollar viewing area offers remarkable views of not only Uluru but the 36 head-shaped domes of Kata Tjuta, also known as the Olgas. As a reminder the turn off is sign posted from the new road and the destination has ample self-regulated parking for coaches (46 coach parking bays), which is separate from the car parking area. A map of Talinguru Nyakunytjaku is attached for your convenience. New road directional signage is excellent and the traffic congestion previously experienced at the old sunrise site area is a thing of the past.

 

 

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And Others:  

Talinguru Nyakunytjaku offers visitors stunning new views of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta from a previously inaccessible area of the park. The area allows visitors to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the wider desert landscape of spinifex covered dunes and swales, dotted with kurkura or desert oaks.

 

Talinguru Nyakunytjaku – views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta This destination captures both Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the same shot and offers a stunning 360-degree view of the surrounding World Heritage landscape. With no photography restrictions and the choice of three wiljtas (shelters), two viewing platforms and a few kilometres of walking track, you will be sure to find a spot that suits your needs.

Mmmm.

 

 

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Nice signage, nice path for the morrow.

 

 

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Back on the bus, the light had changed yet again, definitely not a sunset viewing place.

 

 

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We left the ‘beautiful’ car park and headed back to pick up the rest of the group who had done the full base walk. As we entered this car park a Japanese lady (complete with face mask) who we recognised from the Ghan Train was flapping her wing and pointing. David jumped out and rescued a thorny devil from the risk of becoming squadged. He brought the little chap to show us.

 

 

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David told us the little lump on the back of his head was a water reservoir, later we found out this was not the case, but more later. A handsome little chap.

 

 

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Next, a quick stop for the best view of Kata Tjuta. Then we set off for the sunset viewing place.........

 

 

 

ALL IN ALL A GREAT WELLYGOG TALE

                     SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE, JUST THE COUNTRY