Uluru (Ayers Rock) is 550 million years old and 862 metres high but rises 348 metres above the surrounding terrain. Like many parks in Australia, the location is remote. Uluru is about 450 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs.
Uluru covers an area of 3.3 square kilometres and the distance round the base is 9.4 kilometres. The surface is a red colour which reflects the light of the setting sun. The red colour is due to Iron.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
In 1985 the park was returned to its Aboriginal owners the Pitjantjatjara and Ankunytjatjara people who now manage the park. Uluru
is that great monolith in the centre of Australia and is located within the Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park. For both its cultural and natural values, this area has a World Heritage listing. You can drive yourself, take a bus, go on a guided tour or even fly to an airport just outside the park. Hire cars are available at the airport.
There are special viewing areas to catch the rock change colour at sunset and sunrise. The sun's rays filter through the dust and water spray to give a magical effect photographed millions of times. You can take self-guided walks or ones with a guide. There are many walks in the park from 30 minutes to several hours. Accommodation is just outside the park. Wheelchair access is available. Learn about bush tucker, bush skills and see the wondrous sites at Uluru.
To Climb or Not to Climb
The aborigines do ask visitors to respect their wishes and not climb Uluru but if you want it is allowed. The climb is not an easy one, as parts of the Rock are very steep, but it should not be beyond the capabilities of those in reasonable health and fitness. There is a chain all the way up the side of the Rock, which assists considerably. It also depends on the weather conditions, Uluru will be closed if the wind is too strong, and on other occasions it can be freezing cold or unbearably hot. It is worth noting that many climbers have died trying to climb this monolith.
An alternative to climbing up is to do a complete circuit on the bottom of the Rock which is about 10km in distance. There is still a lot to see at the base, caves, waterholes and rocky overhangs, this walk will take about 2 hours in total.
This 2km walk is a daily occurrence and is lead by a ranger who is often Aboriginal and can tell lots of legendary stories about Dreamtime and Uluru. This 90minute tour leaves from the Mala Walk sign at the base of the rock
Sunrise and Sunset
To capture the true beauty of Uluru is sunset, when a stunning array of colours travel across the huge rock face. At sunrise it is cooler and the colours are muted but there is orchestra of bird calls to entertain you at the earlier hour. There are plenty of tours to take at these special viewing times.
(Kata Tjuta) lie fifty kilometres west although rather overshadowed by the fame and magnificence of the Rock, they too are well worth a visit. There are 36 unusual domed peaks, the highest rising some 200 metres above Ayers Rock.
Sounds of Silence
The Sounds of Silence evening dining and star-gazing in the desert here has become a major attraction and must be booked in advance. This dinner is held nightly and can be booked up three months in advance, so best to make arrangements before you start your trip to the outback. Ayers Rock Resort (1300 139 889)