Where is it?
It lies in the southwest corner of Australia’s Northern Territory, putting it almost slap in the middle of the country. It’s a 280-mile drive to Alice Springs, the closest large town.
What are the ways to get there?
There are four options: Join a tour out of Alice Springs. Take a five-hour Greyhound Australia bus ride from Alice Springs which costs around AUS $90. Drive the four-and-a-half hour journey. Or fly.
Connellan airport is about three miles from the small town of Yulara, where most people stay when visiting Uluru. Quantas has direct flights from Alice Springs, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney.
Is it protected?
In one word, yes.
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was established in 1987, ensuring the protection of Ayers Rock and nearby Kata Tjuta rock formation in the process. The park was immediately awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
What is it?
A 1,250 foot-high sandstone monolith, with deep crevasses formed from water erosion. Some estimate it’s 600 million years old.
It’s not just high. Circling its base would work out as approximately a six-mile walk…look out for the two skull-like formations along the way.
Kata Tjuta is formed from the same band of granite, basalt and sandstone conglomerate.
What’s in the name?
The Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia, the Anangu, believe this part of Australia was created at the beginning of time by ancestral beings.
Uluru is a place name in the local Yankunytjatjara tongue. Despite assertions to contrary, it has no other meaning.
On July 19, 1873, Australian explorer William Gosse became the first non-native to lay eyes on Uluru. He named it Ayers Rock in honor of the Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers.
Today, the official name is Uluru/Ayers Rock.
What’s the spiritual significance of Uluru?
It’s difficult to convey the sanctity with which the Anangu hold Uluru and the surrounding area. To say it’s sacred doesn’t seem sufficient. In their eyes, the ancestors who created this space, and their spirits, still inhabit the land.
According to Tjukurpa, the traditional law that guides Anangu daily life, there are deep relationships among people, plants, animals and the physical features of the land.
What’s the cost of a visit?
Two- or three-day visits can be costly, with room rates in Yulara ubiquitously high. Car rentals can also add up. Some budget visitors minimize costs by flying in and out in one day or by camping (AUS $20 per night).
When is tourist season?
April through October is tourist season – visitor numbers peak in July and August. The summer months of December and January typically usher in huge discounts on hotel rooms in Yulara.
What’s the best time of day to view Uluru?
Undoubtedly at sunrise or sunset when the rock holds a rich, deep red color.
What’s the weather like?
The average temperature in January (summer) is 100°F, while the average temperature in July (winter) is almost 70°F.
For many, the outrageous heat and swarms of flies will make a summer visit prohibitive.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…
(Main image: nosha)