Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) is included in our 21 day camping outback tour.
Kata Tjuta (or The Olgas) is a group of 36 huge rock domes and part of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Kata Tjuta means “Many Heads” in the traditional Aboriginal language.
Kata Tjuta is not one large rock but a system of gorges and valleys that allows people to walk around and soak in the quiet and spiritual environment. Some of the rocks are bunched very close together and others are spaced well apart. It is of equal significance as Uluru is to the Anangu people but fewer stories about it have been told. Mt Olga (or Wanambi-pidi to the Aboriginal people) is the highest dome at 546 metres above the plain (or 1066 metres above sea level) being 200 metres higher than Uluru.
In 1872 William Giles (better known as Ernest Giles) and William Gosse were the first white explorers in this region. Giles was the first to see Kata Tjuta from Kings Canyon and called it Mount Olga after the then Queen Olga of Wurttemburg. The following year William Gosse was the first to reach Uluru and named it Ayers Rock after his superior, Sir Henry Ayers, the Chief Secretary of South Australia. (There is a story that Ernest Giles actually discovered Uluru as well, but William Gosse beat him to the claim).
Like a lot of other locations, the Aborigines have strong beliefs about this area. They believe Mount Olga is the home of the Rainbow Serpent Wanambi that is brightly coloured with long teeth, a mane and flowing beard that stays curled up in a waterhole on the summit during the rain season. He moves down to the gorge during the dry season. He also uses the caves on Mount Olga. You will see the dark lines on the eastern side of the rock and that is the hairs of his beard. His breath is the wind that blows through the Valley of the Winds or Walpa Gorge (Walpa meaning wind) and when he gets angry the wind becomes a hurricane. On the summit of Uluru is a steep sided rock hole and this too is the home of an enormous Wanambi where he takes on the form of a rainbow.
The dome rocks on the eastern side are identified with ancestors known as the mice women – food prepared for them are two large rocks near the end of Mt Olga.
Rocks in the south west are where the poisonous snake men, the Liru, make their camp before setting out to attack the harmless carpet snakes at Uluru.
On the east are the pointed rocks Malu, a kangaroo man who is dying of wounds inflicted by dingoes. Malu leans on a rock which is his sister, Malumura, a lizard woman who cradles him in her arms.
There are the stone bodies of the Pungaluna giant cannibals as well.
There are two major walks here -
Olga Gorge Walk (Tatintjawiya) which is about a 2km walk into the beautiful gorge to its deadened cliff face and rock pool.
The Valley of the Winds Walk which is about 7km and 3 hours that circles several of the Olgas and leads to several deep gorges.