Ayers Rock – Ever Heard of This Sacred Sandstone Monolith?
Smack dab in the centre of the continent of Australia and surrounded by the Red Centre’s fascinating and spiritual wilderness, lies one of the world’s most phenomenal and iconic rock formations: the famous “Uluru” or Ayers Rock. Since Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was designated as being a World Heritage Site, annual tourist numbers rose to more than four hundred thousand visitors by the millennium. The surge in tourism brings both regional and national economic benefits, and the Anangu owners of the park land work in conjunction with Parks Australia to balance the conservation of the park and it’s cultural values with visitor’s needs while touring this popular monolith.
What’s so special about a big rock, anyway?
What’s so special about Ayers Rock to make it stand out from other holiday destinations, you ask? Plenty, in fact! This ancient rock formation rises out of the earth and hundreds of metres up into the Uluru-Kata Tjuta desert sky – higher than the Eiffel Tower, and more than twice the height of Sydney Harbour Bridge. This rock – often called Uluru, is one of the most enormous monoliths in the entire planet. Formed from arkosic sandstone, Ayers Rock soars 348 metres above the Australian desert floor, and has a circumference of over nine kilometres – the perfect distance for a day trek!
Ayers Rock is believed by many to be the home of spirits from the creation period, and holds very important spiritual value to the Anangu people. The rock art found inside the caves of Uluru was painted by the Anangu to relay the stories of creation and culture to the region’s people and children. Tourists can be guided to several rock shelters to experience this sacred and historical art first hand.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park stretches over more than 327,414 acres of Australian desert outback, and features
not one, but two of the world’s most iconic rock formations – Kata Tjuta is also a prominent natural attraction in the area. The sunset and sunrise over Uluru and Kata Tjuta are breathtakingly beautiful, with the colours of both rock formations growing increasingly vibrant and changing before your eyes. Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is Aboriginal owned land. This national park is jointly managed by its Anangu traditional owners along with the cooperation of Parks Australia. The park is designated by UNESCO as being a World Heritage Area, owing to both the natural and cultural values of the land. Kata Tjuta, also referred to sometimes by it’s former name The Olgas, is an Aboriginal name meaning “many heads’. The thirty six seperate domed heads of Kata Tjuta hold much importance and cultural significance for the people of this land. Guided tours can offer much insight into different aspects of the sites, such as the geology, the hardy flora and fauna that seek refuge around the domes, and the region’s vast landscape.
The tallest of the domes about five hundred forty six metres high, and Kata Tjuta is located roughly 30 kilometres west of its counterpart Ayers Rock.
Ranger Guided Mala Walks
Guided walks operate daily from the Mala carpark to the base of Uluru, and they are free. Led along a shaded track, the park rangers explain the story of the Mala – rufous hare wallaby – people, and pass along the history and customs associated with Ayers Rock, such as components of traditional and modern Anangu life and culture, the region’s sacred rock art, and the management of the park itself.
Departs daily at 8 am
Meet up at the Mala Carpark
Duration 1.5 hours
How To Get Around Ayers Rock and Environs
Uluru Express offers visitors a scheduled transfer service to and from accommodations such as the Ayers Rock Resort, where many tourists choose to stay in the area, and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The service picks
up tourists from all hotels as well as the campground. If you’d like to move at your own pace and experience the park and Ayers Rock on your own timeline, hiring a car is a great option. You can get information on both options when you visit the Tour and Information Centre at the Resort Town Square of Ayers Rock Resort. It’s also worth checking out the Resort Town Square of Ayers Rock Resort to receive a map of the region and information on the different walks offered at both Uluru and Kata Tjuta, which you can get free with your National Park entry ticket. Visiting the Park Information Desk at the Cultural Centre is a good way to get up to date information and suggestions how to making the most out of your park visit – the information desk at the Cultural Centre is open daily 8am-5 pm. Remember that the National Park is a World Heritage area, so please take care to stay only on marked paths, pay attention to signs, and do not take rocks or soil from the area as souvenirs. Climbing is not officially prohibited but it is discouraged, as it is deemed disrespectful. You’ll find that the most popular walk is the Uluru Base Walk, which encourages participants on the walk to fully appreciate the magnitude and natural beauty of Ayers Rock. You can start and finish from the Mala carpark, and this walk is a 10.6 km loop that takes roughly three and a half hours.
Hiring a car is one of the best ways to explore Ayers Rock and environs at your own pace. Avis, Hertz and Thrifty car rentals are available at Ayers Rock Resort, including pick up and drop off options from the Ayers Rock Airport as well as the Resort. Pick from several vehicles including 4WD and standard Sedan options and enjoy your trip in comfort. With the limited amount of cars available it is strongly recommended to booking your car with plenty of time. If you select a car with Voyages Travel Centre, your car hire rate features ‘Unlimited Kilometres’ on all hired vehicles.
Facilities and Helpful Resources of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
The Cultural Centre
The Cultural Centre can be found at the base of Ayers Rock, and offers visitors an introduction to Anangu culture and traditions. Constructed from locally hand crafted mud bricks, the free-form building itself is an award-winning architectural achievement. Make a stop at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park’s Cultural Centre when you come to Ayers Rock, and learn about the history and traditions of the local Anangu people who care for the land. Take a visitor’s guide with you!
Open daily from 7 am – 6 pm
Tel: 08 8956 1128
Walkatjara Art Uluru
Locally owned and managed by artists from Mutitjulu, Walkatjara proudly displays and sells their quality artworks, impressive ceramics and merchandise decorated with Ayers Rock region local designs.
Open daily 8am – 4pm
Phone 08 8956 2537
Uluru Aboriginal Tours
Uluru Aboriginal Tours is both owned and operated by the Anangu, and operates as a guide company that offers private, family, group, media and corporate tours of the Ayers Rock region.
Phone 0447 878 851
Ininti Cafe & Souvenirs
Grab a snack, some light refreshments, or enjoy a full meal while taking in the majestic view of Ayers Rock. Ininti also offers a variety of souvenir gifts, books, videos and clothing.
Open daily 7am – 5pm
Closed Christmas, New Year’s Day and June 30
Featuring traditionally crafted punu (wooden) tools and artifacts, and art such as paintings, jewellery, pottery and other crafts from Anangu artists in the Ayers Rock Central Western Desert region, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.
Open daily 7.30 am – 5.30 pm
Phone 08 8956 2558
Cycling is an exhilarating way to discover Ayers Rock and the park, go solo or travel with a group of cyclists and enjoy the natural beauty from two wheels!
Operates from February to November
Phone 0437 917 018
The changing shades of red and different colours of the outback are never more lively and beautiful than at sunset. Sit back and watch, as day turns to night with Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta as your backdrop.
Ayers Rock Campground
Situated 15 kilometres from Ayers Rock, as accommodations are required to be outside of the park itself, Ayers Rock Campground caters to the travelers needs, featuring air-conditioned cabins and powered sites for caravans, campervans, recreational vehicles and camper trailers. You can also simply pitch your tent on a nice green patch of grass under the shade of native desert trees. The Ayers Rock Campground also offers a range of different services and facilities including a swimming pool, playground, bbq facilities and outdoor kitchen and self-service laundry facilities to make the great outdoors a wonderful experience. The campground is a great base from which to enjoy the beauty of the landscape of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. As a guest staying at the Ayers Rock Campground you can take part in a wide range of activities including guided garden walks and Indigenous bush yarns.
Tel: +61 8 8957 7001
Take a Weekend Escape To Ayers Rock
Accommodation and getaway, Ayers Rock Resort:
DAY 1: Immerse yourself in the landscape of one of the world’s most extraordinary natural wonders. Settle into your accommodations and become acquainted with your environment.
Take the 10 minute courtesy Airport transfer and check into Desert Gardens Hotel. Explore the resort, taking time to go to Imalung lookout and see Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta along the beautiful landscape. Enjoy a refreshing beverage at one of the Resort’s many bars and restaurants. Prepare to take in a panoramic view of Uluru as you enjoy sparkling wine and
canapés at the Sounds of Silence dinner under the stars – a remarkably unforgettable experience.
DAY 2: A busy day is in store for you, beginning with an awe-inspiring and personal 4WD Desert Awakenings tour. You’ll be taught how to throw a spear and a boomerang, experience an amazing desert sunset before participating in the world renowned cook-it-yourself BBQ at the Outback Pioneer. Travel by bus down an isolated desert track to the private sunrise site and view the incredible transformation of colours as the desert wakes up. Be entranced by the stories of Aboriginal history told by an Indigenous storyteller, learn about the culture and traditional techniques used on the Ayers Rock land. Enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the many outlets at the Resort Town Square or grab a snack at Kulata Academy Café – staffed by trainees of the Indigenous Training Academy. Uluru Express will depart mid-afternoon to Walpa Gorge, so you can explore the Gorge at your own pace. It’s about a one hour walk with a moderate fitness level required. The transportation return transfer includes a full lap of Uluru at sunset. Finally, take the free shuttle service to the Outback Pioneer, enjoy an exciting a do-it-yourself BBQ with traditional Australian charm. Ayers Rock is a must-see and must-do experience.
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