Uluṟu (Ayers Rock)
Uluṟu – Kata Tjuṯa National Park is home to the world famous Uluṟu (Ayers Rock), the physical red heart Australia and one of Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks. The monolith stands at a towering 348 metres tall and has a circumference of over 9 kilometres, with the bulk of its mass lying underground.
In 1873, surveyor William Gosse sighted ‘the Rock’ and in honour of the then Chief Secretary of South Australia Sir Henry Ayers, named it Ayers Rock. It wasn’t until 1993 that Uluṟu became the first icon in Australia to be given back its Aboriginal name and making it the first official dual-named feature in the Northern Territory.
The perfect place to view the sunrise at Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa is from the Talinguṟu Nyakunytjaku viewing area. Offering uninterrupted 360° views here you can witness the magnificent glow of the sun bring the surrounding desert landscape to life.
After a day of exploring, you can take in the unforgettable experience of an Uluṟu sunset. Feel the magic of the outback as you sip on a glass of wine and witness the ever changing colours of Uluṟu. Essentially grey, the oxidation of iron on the surface of the rock gives it a striking orange-red hue and is responsible for creating its radiant glow.
Stop by the Uluṟu – Kata Tjuṯa National Park Cultural Centre, the best place to get acquainted with the Aṉangu country. A wander through the “Tjukurpa Tunnel” will introduce you to the culture of the Aṉangu people and Aboriginal law (Tjukurpa). Learn about Aboriginal creation stories, ancestral beings, admire local art and discover the significance of the several walks available around the area.
For safety reasons the local Aṉangu request that visitors do not climb Uluṟu. Although not prohibited, it’s recommended that travellers respect their wishes while on Aṉangu land. There are several other ways to experience the sacred beauty of this ancient monolith such as on the insightful walks around its base or a scenic helicopter flight over the top.
Discover this intriguing World Heritage Listed wonder as you follow in the footsteps of the land’s ancestral beings absorbing the stories sacred to the Aṉangu community. The natural beauty and rich culture of Uluṟu will be revealed as you explore the base by foot on the famed base walk, home to waterholes, unique desert flora, caves and ancient rock paintings.
The Kuniya Base Walk is an insightful track that leads to Muṯitjulu waterhole, home of a wanampi, an ancestral watersnake. You’ll gain a unique insight into the sheer physical and spiritual enormity of Uluṟu and pass ancient cave paintings and other sites significant to the local Aṉangu and the early explorers.
The Mala Walk leads you past several areas of rock art and sacred sites where Aboriginal communities live and prepare for ceremony. It’s believed that as you walk through this area, you’ll be surrounded by the spirit of the Mala Tjukurpa – the hare-wallaby people. The walk will take you to the peaceful Kaṉtju Gorge.
However you choose to explore Uluṟu, you’ll no doubt gain an understanding of the innate spirituality and peacefulness that resounds from this ancient landscape.