Holidays to Ayers Rock (Uluru), Australia

After Sydney Opera House, Uluru – or Ayers Rock, to give it its colonial name – is the most instantly recognisable landmark in Australia. It also represents a completely contrasting side of Australian life and culture.

This massive sandstone monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory’s arid ‘Red Centre’ stands some 350m high and over 9.4km in circumference; an awe-inspiring feature in an otherwise empty, vast wilderness (the nearest large town is Alice Springs, 450km away). Technically known as an ‘inselberg’ – literally ‘island mountain’ – it’s an entirely natural formation, but seems anything but, rising out of the flat surrounding landscape almost as if dropped here by giants. During dawn and dusk, as the rays of the sun strike the golden sandstone, the entire rock glows red – a stunning view which inspires 400,000 people to make the trek here every year. And yes, it is worth it.

Not surprisingly, Uluru has cemented it in Aboriginal myth, and members of the Anangu community lead walking tours to inform visitors about the local flora and fauna, bush food and the Aboriginal dreamtime stories of the area. Climbing the rock – once a staple of tourist visits – is not prohibited, but is discouraged, partly to protect the rock itself and the safety of visitors, partly out of respect for the local Anangu people, to whom it is a sacred place.

The history of tourism to the site tells its own tale of changing attitudes, both to the environment and to indigenous peoples. Once allowed to grow unchecked, tourist facilities clustered around the base of the rock, but in the early 1970s the negative impact this was having on the fragile ecosystem of the rock was recognised. The site was entirely cleared and a new tourist facility – Yulara – established 15km distant. In the 1980s, the Australian government also returned ownership of Uluru to the local Anangu people. Now, it is a World Heritage Site and part of the wider Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park.

Since this may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take the opportunity whilst here to also visit the nearby Kata Tjuta formation (known colloquially ‘The Olgas’) whose 36 red-rock domes are often overlooked thanks to their better-known neighbour, but nonetheless stunning.

Highlights

  • Take a walk around the base of Uluru with an Aboriginal guide

  • Visit the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Culture Centre

  • Watch the sunset on this iconic rock formation

Emilie
Travel Designer
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I love spending my days barefoot or in flip flops, so laid-back Melbourne was the perfect place to live. My favourite adventure from my time living in Australia was the 3-month campervan road trip along the East Coast – full of sun, sea and scuba diving!

Trips that include Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Here are some trip ideas that include Uluru. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 01483 319 333

Map of Uluru