Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) is iconic to Australia! If you haven’t heard about Uluru, well you are basically living under a rock (pun intended)! It is a HUGE sandstone rock formation, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is found in the aptly named Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (in NT). Seriously, the pictures that you see of Uluru do not do justice to the size or the effect that it has on you. For the serious photographers and the happy snappers, this is a must visit destination!
We were very excited as you can imagine to finally visit Uluru. We flew into Yulara (which is the resort town close to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park), and because I had grabbed a window seat on the Jetstar flight, as we flew in, we got a birds eye view of Uluru, and what a sight it was!
The Field of Lights exhibition is still going on at Ayers Rock, we made the mistake of not booking this in before we arrived or as soon as we arrived. There are quite a few tour groups that come through Uluru, so if you want to do one of the experiences, be it the Field of Lights or Sounds of Silence, then make sure you are on top of it and book these events well in advance or miss out!
Once we got to the rock, we headed off to do the base walk. It is now not possible to climb the rock, due to safety reasons and because the site is sacred to the Aboriginal people. I’m sure I can hear a groan of disappointment from our adventure seaking readers. But! You’re not really missing out on anything by not being able to climb it, the land is flat without that many tall trees (typical desert landscape), so you can see as far as the horizon which is not much less than what you will see from the top of Uluru. There are the Kata Tjuta formations and the Uluru rock formation, both of which you can see from ground level.
When we started walking around the base, there was a tour group ahead of us, so at times we tagged along behind them to hear what the tour guide said, but in most cases we found that reading the information panel pretty much covered everything that was said by the tour guide. The panels are worth reading, as they give you a history of the rock and the aboriginal people who lived here. It also describes the dream time stories, and explains the paintings on the walls.
It is an easy flat walk, the full loop is 10kms, we didn’t actually do the full loop as most of the paintings and key attractions were in the first 3 or so kms. It is a nice walk, very peaceful, the further along the walk you go the less people there are. There’s also an information centre near Uluru which is worth visiting, they provide a more in depth information, and of course the souvenir shop. The souvenir shop is pretty cool and has some unique gifts.
So why is Uluru famous? Well tourists come from around the world to watch the colours of the rock change at different times of the day and year. The most spectacular change occurs at either sunrise or sunset. If you can only make it to only one, then definitely pick sunset (sunrise however had less crowds). Follow the signs for the sunset and sunrise viewing and car parks.
We headed out at sunset, not expecting a crowd as it was the middle of the week. Big mistake! It took us at least 10 mins to find parking, with me impatiently jumping in my seat because I wanted optimal position to set up my tripod. Those who came a little later, had to park well up the road and walk back. If you are a keen photographer, then get there early so you can set up your tripod without heads in the way 🙂
Lots of people brought their own folding chairs/tables, cheese/snacks, wine and drinks, you can buy all these supplies for your own romantic evening by Uluru from the IGA at the resort. Once sunset finishes, stick around if you are not exhausted for a spectacular show of stars!
Check out the articles on:
- Planning your Red Centre Adventure
- Kata Tjuta
- Driving to Alice Springs
- West MacDonnel Ranges
- Kings Canyon
Happy Trip Avenging!