Valley of the Winds

July 2, 2019

The Valley of the Winds day hike is considered by many visitors to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park a must-do, allowing walkers to wander among Kata Tjuta’s mighty domes and to experience a uniquely Australian landscape.

Formerly known as the Olgas, Kata Tjuta is a group of ancient rock formations found 30 kilometres from Uluru. Made up of 36 domes over an area of 20 kilometres, the rocks are believed to be about 500 million years old and the highest dome, Mount Olga, is 1066 metres above sea level and 198 metres higher than Uluru. The multi-domed formation in its entirety is believed to originate from a single monolith much like Uluru, and similarly has significant cultural and spiritual meaning for the local Anangu people.

Kata Tjuta is a Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal word meaning “many heads.” There are many Pitjantjatjara legends associated with Kata Tjuta. One tells the story of the great snake king Wanambi, who is said to live on Mount Olga and only comes down from the mountain during the dry season. His breath is said to be able to transform a breeze into a hurricane in order to punish those who did evil deeds.

Kata Tjuta is a sacred site for men in the Anangu Aboriginal culture, and many of the legends surrounding the site remain kept as exclusive knowledge for the Anangu men and are not shared with Anangu women or with westerners. 

The Valley of the Winds walk is a seven-kilometre, three-hour circuit that is classified as easy to moderate, but it is essential to start out early in the morning to avoid the heat of the Australian midday sun. When the weather is forecast to reach 36°C, trail access is closed, and this usually occurs by 11am. At first light, walkers appreciate the sounds of the wind and some 178 species of bird calls that are carried up through the valley, a spectacular natural amphitheatre. And like Uluru, these rock formations are most spectacular at sunrise and sunset when the changing light gives them a magical red glow.

Winding through gorges, creeks and canyons, the full loop encompasses two spectacular viewpoints. At Karu Lookout, hikers gaze out across the impressive rock formations and ancient scenery. Further along, after walking through the middle of two large boulders, Karingana Lookout reveals a breathtaking valley with a surprisingly green landscape in the middle of the dry Australian outback.

The Valley of the Winds is a very culturally sensitive area and is still used today for indigenous cultural ceremonies. Anangu ask that walkers don’t take any video or photographs of this walk for commercial purposes. By respecting Anangu’s wishes, visitors ensure the continuation of Anangu cultural beliefs and the protection of their spirituality.

A stay at Longitude 131° is inclusive of the Walpa Gorge walk at Kata Tjuta, a guided 2.6km hike that offers an insight into the geology of the majestic domes followed by a visit to the Uluru Cultural Centre. For guests who would like to truly immerse themselves within Kata Tjuta, the Valley of the Winds hike is offered as an additional bespoke experience and may be undertaken instead of the Walpa Gorge walk, with or without a Longitude 131° guide.

If you would like to find out more about undertaking the Valley of the Winds walk whilst staying at Longitude 131°, please contact the reservations team.