Formed more than 600 million years ago, Uluru originally sat at the bottom of the sea, but now it stands 348 metres above ground and 863 metres above sea level. Although it may have once been grey, it now has a striking rust colour, caused by the oxidation of its iron content on the surface.
It has become Australia’s most famous natural landmark but the area has long held rich spiritual significance for the Indigenous people who have lived here for around 10,000 years. As a result, visitors to the site should be respectful of their beliefs and customs. Visitors are asked not to climb the rock, although it is still possible to do it. But those that decide to scale its heights should be careful – many have been injured or even killed over the years in this pursuit.
Instead, why not take an interpretive walk around part of its 9.4 km circumference with a local Anangu guide who can share stories and legends that star the rock. Or you can take a camel ride at dawn or dusk. Having roamed the Outback for more than 170 years, dromedary camels are considered a near native of the Australian desert.
Unique Things to See and Do in/near Uluru
- Take an interpretive walk around the rock’s base with a local Anangu guide
- Explore Uluru’s lesser known neighbour Kata Tjuta, also known as the Olgas
- Straddle a camel at dawn or dusk for a desert ride like no other
- Dine beneath the stars with the Outback as your dining room at Sounds of Silence
Information on Uluru
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is open all year round, but its desert location means some times of year are better to visit than others.
The best time, when the weather is cooler, is between May and September. At this time of year, you’ll find it easier to walk around and explore. The colours are also more vibrant at this time of year, and sightings of interesting animals and plants and even waterfalls are more likely.
The summer months of December to February can see temperatures rise above 36 degrees Celsius, making for some very challenging conditions. Flies at this time of year are also rife and can be quite tiresome. If you are going to visit at this time, then the park recommends that you should plan to walk around it before 11am and ensure you have a decent supply of water with you.
You’ll need a park pass to gain access to the site and you can purchase these at the entry station on the way on. The fees are used to maintain infrastructure and the environment with a portion going back to the Anangu traditional owners of the land to help them maintain their community.
There are plenty of places to stay in the area ranging from ultra-luxury accommodations to camping, all of which form part of the Ayers Rock Resort.
Getting to Uluru
Slap bang in the middle of the desert, getting to Uluru has posed a challenge to travellers since it first became a place of interest on the tourism map. These days, however, it is somewhat easier to get there.
The fastest way is by air with Jetstar flights direct from both Sydney and Melbourne, and Virgin Australia also flying from Sydney. Qantas operates flights via Alice Springs. Alternatively, you can fly to neighbouring Alice Springs and take a bus.
Greyhound bus services operate to Alice Springs from Townsville.
If you have time on your hands, you can rent a car and factor a visit to Uluru into a larger exploration of the Red Centre.
Did you know…?
The Aboriginals own the land on which you’ll find Uluru, although the Australian government currently holds a 99-year lease.
Did you ALSO know…?
Contrary to popular belief, Uluru isn’t the biggest monolith in the world. That title is held by Mount Augustus in Western Australia.
Ready to plan your visit to Australia? Check out these popular guides and trips.