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Uluru (Ayers Rock) 

 

Uluru is one of Australia's most recognizable landmarks, a popular destination, one of the most important indigenous sites in Australia, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park.

 

The word Uluru is a noun without a meaning in the language of the local Aṉangu Aboriginals who call themselves the Pitjantjatjara people.

Uluru was first spotted by Westerners in 1873 and named Ayers Rock after Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers.

 

The Australian government returned ownership of Uluru to the local Pitjantjatjara people in 1985 under the conditions that it would be leased back to the Australian National Parks and Wildlife agency for 99 years and that it would be operated under joint management.

For years, masses of tourists climbed Uluru which angered the local Aboriginals who do not climb Uluru because of its great spiritual significance and because the climbing path was crossing a sacred traditional Dreamtime track.  Until October 2019, climbing Uluru was discouraged but not illegal and unfortunately several instances of totally inappropriate behavior from climbers were recorded.  As of October 26, 2019 climbing Uluru is illegal.

 

Uluru rises 1,142ft (348m) above ground level and 2,831ft (863m) above sea level and the circumference is 5.8 miles (9.4km).

Both Uluru and nearby Kata Tjuta and made of arkose (a type of sandstone with a high content of feldspar), are believed to be of about the same age and to have a similar origin.  At 85°, the strata (rock layers) at Uluru are nearly vertical, and continue underground for a height of at least 7,900ft (2400m), but the total is unknown.

When originally deposited about 500 millions of years ago, the sand layers that now make up Uluru were nearly horizontal.  They were tilted to their current almost vertical position possibly 400 to 300 million years ago.

 

The climate at Uluru (Ayers Rock) that you can expect is:

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Australia Travel Guide by Backpack & Snorkel showing sunrise at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Australia Travel Guide by Backpack & Snorkel showing Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Australia Travel Guide by Backpack & Snorkel showing rock paintings at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Australia Travel Guide by Backpack & Snorkel showing Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia

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Australia Travel Guide by Backpack & Snorkel showing Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia
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Local Aboriginals recognize five seasons:

  • Wanitjunkupai (April & May): Cooler weather
  • Wari (June & July): Cold season that brings morning frosts
  • Piriyakutu (August through October): Food plants flower and animals breed and
  • Mai Wiyaringkupai (November & December): Hot season when food becomes scarce
  • Itjanu (January through March): Sporadic storms that can occur suddenly

 

We visited Uluru for sunrise.  As you can see from the photos below, it was a magical experience when Uluru started glowing after the first rays of light hit it while the surrounding desert was still dark.

Uluru has several hiking paths:

  • Mala walk: easy walk to Kantju Gorge; 2km round trip; approx. 1.5h
  • Kuniya walk: easy walk to Muṯitjulu Waterhole; 1km round trip; approx. 30 – 45min
  • Lungkaṯa walk: easy walk, 4km round trip; approx. 1.5h
  • Liru walk: easy walk, 4km round trip; approx. 1.5h
  • Dune walk: easy but sandy walk; 600m round trip; approx. 3045min
  • Uluṟu Base walk: moderate walk; 10.6km round trip; approx. 3.5 hours

Even if you don’t want to hike in the heat, consider joining a free ranger led Mala Walk where you will see rock paintings (see the photos below) – it will be worth your time.

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Our Australia Travel Guide has detailed information about the individual destinations, links to their locations in google maps, reviews and websites (if available).

Please see the Backpack & Snorkel Travel Store for more information.

Chart showing the average monthly temperature at Uluru, Australia
Chart showing the average monthly precipitation at Uluru, Australia
sunrise at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
sunrise at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
sunrise at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
sunrise at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
sunrise at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Rock paintings at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Rock paintings at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia

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