Uluru: An Enchanting Outback Landmark
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is located 462 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs near the town of Yulara, and encompasses both Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the great rock domes of Kata Tjuta (The Olgas).
Vibrant in colour, rich in texture and steeped in history, Uluru - also known as Ayers Rock - is the world's largest monolith and an icon of Australia. Uluru is 348 metres high, 9.4 kilometres in circumference and thought to extend 6 kilometres below the ground's surface. It's an 'island mountain', a geologic remnant left after an original mountain range eroded away. Like an iceberg, most of its bulk is below the surface.
Uluru is one of Australia's most recognisable natural icons. The world-renowned sandstone formation stands 348 m high with most of its bulk below the ground, and measures 9.4 km in circumference.
Kata Tjuta, also called Mount Olga or The Olgas, is another rock formation about 25 km west of Uluru. Kata Tjuta is a group of more than 36 rounded red domes rising from the desert floor, with the tallest around 546 metres high. Special viewing areas with road access and parking have been constructed to give tourists the best views of both sites at dawn and dusk. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where Uluru is located, is globally acclaimed as a UNESCO World Heritage Area, listed for its natural and cultural values, its spectacular geological formations, its rare plants and animals, its exceptional natural beauty and in particular for its continuing Aboriginal traditions and beliefs.
Uluru is notable for appearing to change colour as the different light strikes it at different times of the day and year, with sunset a particularly remarkable sight when it briefly glows red. Although rainfall is uncommon in this semiarid area, during wet periods the rock acquires a silvery-grey colour, with streaks of black algae forming on the areas that serve as channels for water flow.
The National Park in which Uluru is located, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, has a remarkable geological history. Five hundred million years ago, the entire area was covered by an inland sea. Uluru is now an isolated remnant of an original mountain range that has eroded during millions of years.
There are plenty of challenging and interesting activities to enjoy at Uluru, including a visit to the park's award-winning Cultural Centre, exploring the base of the rock, observing the many colours of Uluru at sunrise and sunset, a guided walk with traditional owners while learning about bush skills and foods, or a visit to some of Uluru's many rock art sites.
No one misses the sun rising or setting on the rock. At different times of the day the colours shift constantly, from pink to blood red to mauve. Each time you turn around there's a different hue. You can also learn about Tjukurpa, the traditional law at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre and discover sacred sites by walking around the base with an Aboriginal guide.
Uluru embodies the heart and soul of Australia and it's an Australian icon.