What is Uluru? Uluru is a huge chunk of rock, known as a monolith, set the middle of Australia. Although there is a similar rock in Western Australia, as well as the nearby Kata Tjuta, World Heritage site Uluru is unique in its composition and attracts thousands of tourists a year.
What is Uluru to the Aborigines, who consider it sacred, is better known as Ayers Rock to most. The native islanders have been in the area for thousands of years, but the rock is now contained within the aptly named Uluru National Park, which is overseen by the Anangu and Australian government. The park lies 463kms by road southwest of Alice Springs.
What is Uluru made of? The 300 million-year-old rock is comprised of sand, feldspar (various crystalline minerals) and rock, and originally hailed from a sea floor. A large chunk is above ground today (348m), and the flat top and grooved sides are a result of weathering. Uluru was ‘discovered’ by William Gosse in the 1800s, who named it after the Chief Secretary to South Australia, Henry Ayers.
As well as climbing up the side of Uluru, it is possible to walk around it (about 10kms by path). There are also several noted caves in the flanks, although parts are off-limits as they are particularly sacred to the natives. There are also dozens of birds and mammals in the area which visitors will usually see on a tour of the rock. People typically watch the sunset from the viewing spot to the west, while there is another in the east for the sunrise.
The town of Yulara, just north of the national park, provides facilities and accommodation for tourists, as there are none within the park itself. Most people arrive by bus from Alice Springs, but there’s also an airstrip nearby.