Everything you wanted to know about Uluru, but were afraid to ask

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We know everything – everything! – about Australia’s most iconic landmark!

Where is it?

It lies in the southwest corner of Australia’s Northern Territory, putting it almost slap-bang in the middle of the country. It’s a 280-mile drive to Alice Springs, the nearest large town.

What are the ways to get there?

There are four options: Join a tour out of Alice Springs. Take a five-hour Greyhound Australia bus ride from Alice Springs which costs around AUS $90. Drive the four-and-a-half hour journey. Fly.

Connellan airport is about three miles from the small town of Yulara, where most people stay when visiting Uluru. Qantas has direct flights from Alice Springs, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney.

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Is it protected?

Yes.

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was established in 1987, ensuring the protection of Ayers Rock and nearby Kata Tjuta rock formation in the process. The park was immediately awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

What is it?

A 348-metre (1,250 foot) high sandstone monolith, with deep crevasses formed from water erosion. Some estimate it’s 600 million years old.

It’s not just high. A circle of its base would be worked out as approximately a six-mile walk. Look out for the two skull-like formations along the way.

Kata Tjuta is formed from the same band of granite, basalt and sandstone conglomerate.

What’s in the name?

The Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia, the Anangu, believe that this part of Australia was created at the beginning of time by ancestral beings.

Uluru is a place name in the local Yankunytjatjara tongue. Despite assertions to contrary, it has no other meaning.

On July 19, 1873, Australian explorer William Gosse became the first non-native to lay eyes on Uluru. He named it Ayers Rock in honour of the Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers.

Today, the official name is Uluru/Ayers Rock.

What’s the spiritual significance of Uluru?

It’s difficult to convey the sanctity with which the Anangu hold Uluru and the surrounding area. To say it’s sacred doesn’t seem sufficient. In their eyes, the ancestors who created this space, and their spirits, still inhabit the land.

According to Tjukurpa, the traditional law that guides Anangu daily life, there are deep relationships between people, plants, animals and the physical features of the land.

Climbing Uluru isn’t prohibited. However, climbing goes against Tjukurpa. The debate surrounding the prohibition of climbing has lasted a long time, and will likely last for many years to come.

What’s the cost of a visit?

Two or three-day visits can be costly, with room rates in Yulara ubiquitously high. Car hire can also add up. Some budget visitors minimise costs by flying in and out in one day or by camping (AUS $20 per night).

When is tourist season?

April through October is tourist season – visitor numbers peak in July and August. The summer months of December and January typically usher in huge discounts on hotel rooms in Yulara.

What’s the best time of day to view Uluru?

Undoubtedly at sunrise or sunset when the rock holds a rich, deep red colour.

What’s the weather like?

It’s hot! Damn hot! Real hot!. The average temperature in January (Summer) is 37.5°C (100°F), while the average temperature in July (Winter) is 20.3°C.

For many the outrageous heat and swarms of flies will make a summer visit prohibitive.

Uluru / Ayers Rock
Uluru is best viewed at sunset or sunrise. Photo: Richard.Fisher
Uluru / Ayers Rock
Bathed in sunset light the rock glows a rich red. Photo: rumpleteaser
Uluru / Ayers Rock
The sandstone monolith is 2.2.miles long and 1.2 miles wide. Photo: Wombok
Uluru / Ayers Rock
Weathering and erosion over several hundred millennia have created deep crevasses. Photo: Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babe blog
Uluru / Ayers Rock
The Outback isn’t all barren – The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park contains over 416 species of native plants. Photo: robertpaulyoung
Uluru / Ayers Rock
This giant skull rock feature is in the side of Uluru. Photo: Percita
Uluru / Ayers Rock
At Uluru’s base there is a cave that looks like the top half of a skull. Photo: Shek Graham
Uluru / Ayers Rock
Nearby town Yulara is a little over 11 miles away. Photo: pinkiwinkitinki
Uluru / Ayers Rock
Given how flat the surrounding area is, Uluru’s gigantic proportions can be lost in perspective. Photo: Klomiz
Uluru / Ayers Rock
Walking tracks are clearly marked and signposted. Photo: amsfrank
Uluru / Ayers Rock
Climbing generally is allowed, but is sometimes prohibited due to adverse conditions. Photo: Paleontour
Uluru / Ayers Rock
A chain runs along the path to the top, providing support for climbers. Photo: jeffowenphotos
Uluru / Ayers Rock
The route to the top is extremely steep in places. Photo: jeffowenphotos
Uluru / Ayers Rock
The road to Uluru. Photo: Jo@net
Uluru / Ayers Rock
Kata Tjuta, also known as the Olgas
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Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

(Featured image: nosha)

Everything you wanted to know about Uluru, but were afraid to ask was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Brett Ackroyd
Author: Brett Ackroyd (631 posts)

Brett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to momondo.com.