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Family tour, honeymoon or weekend getaway – no trip to Australia is unabridged without time spend at the ‘heart of the continent’. Uluru, the homogenous monolith standing 348 metres high and 2.5 times the height of Sydney Harbour Bridge, lies smack dab in the middle of the Australian Outback that is scorching during the day and chilly at night. The colour changing characteristics of this iconic sandstone structure is another story altogether!
Ayers Rock, the alternative name given to what local Anangu refer to as ‘Uluru’, was titled so in 1873 in honour of Sir Henry Ayers, the then Chief Secretary of South Australia. The inselberg that Wiki lists as ‘an isolated rock hill that rises abruptly from a virtually level surrounding plain’ owes its red-brown colour to the oxidized iron-carrying minerals, or in layman terms, rust.
Uluru tourism peaks from May to September with the weather being cooler and less humid. As the low tourist season from November to March can be a bit too hot, with temperatures often reaching over 40°, it’s best to book your trips to Uluru during the shoulder months of Apr-May or Sept-Oct! This way you’ll skip the peak-season rates and the friendly weather allows you to see and do all the Uluru activities at a leisurely pace.
Though Uluru steals the spotlight, another nearby geological site worth visiting is Kata Tjuta. These 36 domed rock formations or bornhardts were formed over millions of years of erosion by natural forces. When it comes to sacred ceremonies, Kata-Tjuta holds greater spiritual significance to the Aborigines than Uluru, and a visit here will definitely add more value to your Uluru experience.
Though it gives the impression of being a faraway destination, you can easily reach Uluru via flights to Ayers Rock Airport, from where you can drive to Uluru. With a resort of its own and the quintessential town of Alice Springs situated nearby, you’ll never be lacking accommodation options of any budget near Uluru!
There’s a reason why sunset & sunrise tours have hold sway the list of top things to do in Uluru for the longest time! With an amazing canvas of shades illuminating the whole landscape, Uluru magnificently changes colours during the sunrise and sunset making the experience more astounding than ever!
Uluru, alongside Kata Tjuta, is also a World Heritage Listed site and a well-conserved National Park! The park opens at 5am every day for the Uluru Base Walk, a 10.6 kilometres walk around the whole base of the rock, spanning up to 4 hours. Bike ride is a great alternative to the walks, taking over 2 hours and promises to be the best holiday workout you’ll ever have!
For the lazy bums quailing from exercise, a great alternative is to choose a camel ride. Taking only half the time as that on foot, you’ll also get wider views of the desert scenery with this one! Your fourth option is to participate in a free ranger-guided Mala walk. Enjoy your tête-à-tête with traditional Anangu culture, rock art and more, as a ranger takes you along the foot of the rock. Also, stop in between to hear the story of the 'mala' or the hare-wallaby people.
Does your adventurous streak push you to climb Uluru? Yes, it is legal, but you will have to do it against the will of the traditional owners who request you not to as it holds a spiritual value for them.
Now that you know a lot, if not all Uluru facts, book your tour now and spend a holiday that will be worthy of many tales!