Uluru rock in Australia is considered one of the most amazing sights on our planet, which was not built by human hands, and appeared thanks to the boundless wonder of nature. Many travellers ask the question: where is Uluru located?
Uluru Ayers rock is located almost in the centre of the continent and attracts the attention of more than half a million tourists each year who wish take a look at the huge stone “elephant”, which is lying in the desert. Why elephant? Just look at the Uluru images, made from a bird’s-eye view.
The rock, which according to conservative estimates was formed about 700 millions years ago, is very similar to a real elephant, which has died in the middle of one of the hottest deserts in the world. Actually Ayers rock Uluru is fanned by many myths and legends and is a subject of dispute between many reputable geologists and historians.
The local legend has it that on the sunny side of Uluru, Mala tribe (wallaby (Lagorchestes) people) lived; on the shady side of the rock Kunia tribe (snake people) lived. Once, both of these tribes were invited by Vindulka tribe to a gathering. But both Mala tribe and Kunia tribe were seduced by passionate female lizards, which came to visit them.
As a result, the Vindulka tribe got angry with their neighbours who had offended them, and sent vicious hairless dogs with huge teeth, as well as poisonous snakes which lived near Olga Mountain. As a result, there was grand battle next to Uluru, and both tribes (Mala and Kunia) were exterminated. Uluru was risen from the earth and buried dead souls of tribes inside.
In spite of Uluru being located in the desert, people lived, and continue to live, near it. Rock paintings allow scientists to make the definite conclusion that Australian aborigines lived beside this monolith 10,000 (!) years ago. Near Uluru there is a source of pure water. It helps Australian aborigines to survive in such extreme conditions in the desert, where there is practically no vegetation, and daytime temperatures warm to above 40 degrees Celsius.
How big is Uluru? The rock is about 3.6 kms long and 1.9 kms wide. The height of the top is 348 m, but climbing Uluru takes about 800m.
The giant monolith was first described by William Christie Gosse in 1873.
No scientist dare to say with certainty whether the Uluru is a monolith, or it is connected underground with a mountain. They have different opinions. Some of the geologists claims that Uluru in Australia is a monolith and do not accept other points of view, others are sure that the rock deep underground is associated with the mountain range, which has a strange name for Australia – Olga.
This view on the formation of the rock, which many people consider the official and scientifically evidenced position, often is questioned by modern authoritative experts. To be very precise, nowadays it’s impossible to say definitively the result of which process caused Uluru to be formed. By the way, it’s impossible to say why the rock takes its name. Linguists suggests that the word “Uluru” in some Aboriginal language means “mountain”.
Although it’s pretty hard to explain the origin of the rocks, it’s certainly easy to explain how the numerous cracks and caves in which ancient people lived, were formed. The cracks on Uluru continue to appear even now. This happens because of the peculiarities of the Australian desert climate.
As mentioned above, daytime temperatures in the desert, where Uluru is located, are more than 40 degrees Celsius, but at night in this area the temperature often drops below zero. In addition to this, in the area of Uluru and Olga Mountains very strong winds are sometimes recorded. Such a sharp change in temperature and strong wind gusts lead to the destruction of rocks and formation of cracks.
But natives fundamentally disagree with this scientific point of view, they claim that the cracks and caves on Uluru are appearing due to the fact that souls imprisoned inside it are trying to escape to freedom.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, Uluru tourism is well developed – almost half of million tourists come to see the Uluru. They are attracted not only by the amazing Uluru formation, but also its wall paintings made by ancient people in the numerous caves. Despite of the fact that Uluru information became known in the civilized world in 1873, tourists were drawn to it only in the middle of the 20th century.
Only in 1950 did the Australian authorities decide to actively develop their country’s tourism infrastructure and built the road to the mysterious rock. In fairness, it should be noted that thrill seekers accompanied by guides got to Uluru even before the construction of highways.
The rock really does change during the day, it depends on where the sun is at a certain point. As soon as the sun appears above the horizon, Uluru appears a dark purple. The higher the sun rises, the more orange the colours become. If the sun is hidden behind clouds, Uluru looks a brown colour with an orange tint.
The orange tint appears because of the huge amounts of iron oxide contained in its composition. During the morning the “lying elephant” becomes increasingly red in colour and at midday the rock turns into a huge piece of “gold”.
A recent development in Uluru history is that on 26th October 1985 Uluru was classified as officially belonging to the local Anangu people, however the giant stone was leased to the government for 99 years for use as a national park.
Aboriginals interested in the development of tourism, and in accordance with the agreement, do not hamper Uluru camping and climbing. However, they still hope that in the near future, visitors will enjoy their ancient mountain without climbing to the top because they believe the rock is a holy place and, moreover, climbing Uluru is dangerous especially in high winds.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park encompasses the natural envirnment of desert oak woodland and dry semidesert covered by spinifex grass. The park is home to 20 species of mammals (giant red kangaroos, rock kangaroos, Kultarr, dingo, etc.). There are also feral camels there and rabbits. Among reptiles inhabiting the park are large lizards, Thorny devil lizard and a lot of poisonous snakes, for example, very dangerous king brown snake. You might also see wedge-tailed eagles.
The park is open year round from 5-6 am to 7-8 pm. You can fly over the area of the park and surrounding areas by helicopter or light-plane. The price is A$150 for 15 minutes per person in a local helicopter.
If you are interested in Uluru tours you can get to the park by car or by bus from Alice Springs. Flights to Uluru are possible from any populous city in Australia to the small Uluru airport Connellan, which is located next to the park.
If you intend to stay here some days, we can recommend you best Uluru hotels and Uluru caravan park.
Sails in the Desert
This five star hotel is located about 7.5 km from Ayers Rock (Connellan) airport. The hotel has 228 rooms and suites all with Wi-Fi available. There is a swimming pool and tennis courts plus dining, lounge and bar. If you are staying here your accommodation includes free airport transfers and free use of the Ayers Rock Resort shuttle bus service. 24 hour room service and front desk is available. Prices start from approximately A$230 p/n but it’s best to call the hotel to check conditions and availability. The address is Yulara Drive. Ph 08 8957 7417
Desert Gardens Hotel
This is a 4.5 star hotel that has a choice of different room options. The hotel is surrounded by native trees and shrubs and amazing desert views. A 24 hour front desk is available. There is a swimming pool and free Wi-Fi is available in the lobby and reception areas.
Location is about 10 km from the airport. Prices start around A$170 p/n but please call the hotel to confirm. The address is Yulara Drive. Ph 08 8957 7888
Ayers Rock Camping Ground
Here you will find 198 powered and 220 unpowered camping Uluru sites. Cabins are available as well. They are all air-conditioned and have two bedrooms, linen, cooking facilities and utensils, refrigerator and TV. The bathrooms are shared. Ph 08 8957 7001
Enjoy your travelling!