Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock , is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in central Australia. The rock has held an important position in the culture of the indigenous Anangu people of Australia and is notable for changing its colour during different times of the day. The rock is home to a number of springs, waterholes and caves with ancient rock paintings. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The earliest human in-habitation near Uluru is recorded back to 10,000 years ago. For centuries, Uluru and Kata Tjuta have been a part of the folklore of the Anangu people, the natives of the lands in these areas. Europeans arrived in this territory in the 1870s and that was the first time when these mountains were charted and included in the maps. By 1920, the area was declared an Aboriginal reserve and Uluru and Kata Tjuta together became part of the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park. With better communication lines, tourists started appearing by 1930s. Today, more than 400,000 tourists visit Uluru every year.
Uluru is an inselberg, an isolated rocky remnant left from the slow erosion of an original mountain range. It stands 348 m high and has a circumference of 9400 m. It is remarkably homogeneous in structure with very little joints or cracks and is often (debatable) considered as a monolith. Its composition can be considered that of a sandstone, with mostly feldspar, crystal and some other minor ingredients, the sedimentation dating back to the Paleozoic age.
Flora and Fauna
Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park is home to the majority of plant species found in central Australia. Many of their varieties are endemic to the region and considered rare. Some like Adder’s Tongue Ferns are restricted to the base of the rock where they are found in the moist areas. The park is also home to a number of species from the animal kingdom. Animals like Mulgara, Kangaroo, Turkey, Emu, Fox and some varieties of lizards are perennial to the area. As many as seven varieties of bats are also found here.
A three-day permit to enter the Kata Tjuta National Park costs $25. You can reach Uluru by –
- From Alice Springs through Stuart Highway (~450 kms)
- From Coober Pedy through Stuart Highway (~550 kms)
- From the west throught Gunbarrel Highway
The car ride is quiet beautiful with plenty of animals to be seen on the way. Night travel can be dangerous.
Guided Tours –
- 1 day tour bus tour to 5 days yours covering Kings Canyon and the MacDonnell ranges on the way.
- Uluru Express buses. Approx. fare start from $30/person
Air Plane –
- Nearest Airport – Ayers Rock (Connellan)