Ayers Rock: A Place of Magic
By Richard Moore
Uluru is the world's
arguably its most famous, monolith
Ayers Rock, or Uluru, is possibly the single greatest icon
of Australia. It certainly is our most famous natural landmark.
Rising majestically more than 348 metres (1142 feet) out
of the flat desert floor of central Australia you can walk
for nine kilometres around its base.
Uluru, as you may well note, is the world's largest monolith
- or single piece of stone. It is made of arkosic sandstone.
There are daily flights to Ayers Rock Airport from Perth,
Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Alice Springs direct to Ayers
It certainly was a surprise to this fellow, but isolated
as its location is, Ayers Rock Airport gets up to 400,000
passengers a year tripping through it. Maybe that's not so
surprising when you consider the magical marvel that's only
a few kilometres distant.
And magical is the right word to use for Uluru and the surrounding
Kata Tjuta National Park. It is a sacred place for Aborigines
based on their legends of the formation of the world and parts
of the area are fenced off because they are vitally important
to their beliefs. Sometimes photography in certain places
is not allowed.
And because climbing Uluru is a deeply spiritual thing for
Aborigines they would prefer it if visitors to Ayers Rock
did not make the journey to the top themselves. However, tens
of thousands of people do.
If you intend to climb the Rock, or just walk around its
base, then there are things to take with you. Dress sensibly
with good strong shoes or boots, take water with you, and
make sure you have a hat.
In spring and summer - September through February - the
temperatures range from an average 20 to 35°C (69-96 degrees
Fahrenheit) and can get much, much hotter. Autumn and winter
- March to August - are less daunting ranging between 5 to
20°C (41-69 degrees Fahrenheit).
There are plenty of places to stay at around Uluru, including
a resort and camping grounds - click
here for a list of hotels in the area to get an idea of
Near Ayers Rock are the impressive Olgas rock formations.
There are several dozen of the natural structures, the highest
being about 200 metres. The Aboriginal name for the Olgas
- named by a European explorer after a German queen - is Kata
Tjuta, or Many Heads.
Oh, and by the way Ayers Rock is named so after Sir Henry
Ayres, a chief secretary of South Australia at the time it
was discovered by Europeans.
Now just in case you are thinking that while you are up at
the Rock you will pop on over to see the famous Alice Springs
- plan ahead. Because of the size of Australia the journey
is a little longer than you may think - like about 500 kilometres!
Nothing too hard to overcome - but it is a five hour road
trip. Mind you that is nowhere near as lengthy a trip as it
is getting to Sydney - a gentle 2200 kilometres away.
If you have the time to visit Uluru then it is a must-do.
The giant rock changes colour with the light and is stunning
when the morning or afternoon sun strikes it turning it varying
shades of red. It is a photographer's dream.
for a List of Tours