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(Australia) –Getting to Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Uluru (Ayers Rock) is one of Australia's most recognizable natural icons. The world-renowned sandstone formation stands 348 m high above sea level with most of its bulk below the ground, and measures 9.4 km in circumference. Uluru appears to change color as the different light strikes it at different times of the day and year.

(Australia) –Getting to  Uluru (Ayers Rock)
(Australia) –Getting to  Uluru (Ayers Rock)
What to see
Uluru is an isolated sandstone rock (not technically a monolith) that stands 346 meters high and more than 8 km (5 miles) around. Roughly triangular in shape, it stretches for over 2 miles in length and nearly 2 miles in width. It has a harder exterior than most other rock formations, which allows for the unusually steep rock faces all the way to ground level.

Uluru is a completely bare rock without the least bit of vegetation, which only adds to its stark and mysterious beauty. By great contrast, however, the base of the rock is nourished by rain runoff from Uluru and is a fertile oasis of water pools, rich greenery and a variety of wildlife. It is thus an ideal ceremonial site for the Aborigines, who camp in the caves and are sustained by the water and available food.

Aside from its imposing size the most impressive feature of Uluru, beloved by Aborigines and visitors alike, is its beautiful range of changing colors throughout the day and year. Sunrise and sunset are particularly remarkable, with the rock glowing a deep rusty red. The rock derives its rust colour from oxidation, and the glowing effect at sunrise and sunset is due to the arkosic sandstone of the rock, which contains reflective minerals and changes color according to the attitude of the sun.

(Australia) –Getting to  Uluru (Ayers Rock)
(Australia) –Getting to  Uluru (Ayers Rock)

 Ayers Rock contains a variety of interesting cracks, canyons, caves and natural formations, all of which the Anangu attribute to the activities of ancestral beings at the creation time. The shallow caves at the base of the rock contain ancient carvings and paintings. But unlike the Lascaux Caves and other cave art sites, the Uluru rock drawings are just not artifacts of some distant culture — they are still being created by the Anangu.

At Uluru, the old cave drawings are simply painted over with new ones, and the paint is made largely of water and is therefore quite delicate. For these reasons, the rock art in these caves is impossible to date with any certainty. The rock art includes figures like boomerangs, human beings, waterholes and abstract symbols.

The base walk around the perimeter of Uluru is 9.4 km long. There is also a Mala Walk (2 km) and Mutitjulu walk (1 km). Guided walking tours are available from park rangers and by the Anangu themselves. These are popular activities and are encouraged by the Anangu. However, the most popular thing to do at Uluru is to climb it (see Making the Climb, below).

About 25 km from Uluru is another sacred rock formation known as Kata Tjuta (“many heads”) or the Olgas (named for Queen Olga of Württemberg in 1872). Special viewing areas with road access and parking have been constructed to give tourists the best views of both sites at dawn and dusk. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park also includes a Cultural Center, where you can learn more about Aboriginal culture and the sacredness of Uluru.

(Australia) –Getting to  Uluru (Ayers Rock)
(Australia) –Getting to  Uluru (Ayers Rock)

 The Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu (pop. approx. 300) is near the western end of Uluru. From Uluru it is 17 km by road to the tourist town of Yulara (pop. 3,000), which is situated just outside of the National Park. Ayers Rock Resort just outside the park has accommodation for a wide range of budgets. The buildings of the tourist resort are colored to blend in with the surrounding desert.

Getting there
The most common journey to Ayers Rock begins at Alice Springs, from which it is 280 miles (450 km) southwest by road to the site. You can drive yourself, take a bus or join a tour from Alice Springs. See map below.

Flights depart daily from most capital cities to Connellan Airport, which is located just outside the Park. Contact a travel agent for further details. Car hire is available from the airport and is best arranged through a travel agent before arrival.

(Australia) –Getting to  Uluru (Ayers Rock)
(Australia) –Getting to  Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Our tour partner Viator offers a variety of tours, walks, transportation options, night shows and workshops that you can book ahead in your own currency

Quick Facts
Site information:
Name:                             Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Location:                         Northern Territory, Australia
Faith:                               Indigenous
Denomination:                  Aboriginal
Categories:                      Sacred Rocks; Rock Art; World Heritage Sites
Size:                                1,100 feet (335 meters) high; 2.2 miles (3.6 km) long; 1.5 miles (2 km) wide
Features:                         Petroglyphs
Status:                             Active
Visitor information:
Address:                         Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, PO Box 119, Yulara NT 0872 Australia
Coordinates:                   25.344722° S, 131.0325° E
Phone:                            Park administration: (+61) 8 - 8956 1100
                                      Cultural Center: (+61) 8 - 8956 1128
Website:                         www.deh.gov.au/parks/uluru/
Email:                             uluru.info@deh.gov.au
Opening hours:               Open during daylight hours, including sunrise and sunset.
Cost:                              Free

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