Ayers Rock (officially known as Uluru now) is one of Australia’s most famous tourist icons in central Australia. But what is Ayers Rock?
There is no other known geological feature in the world exactly like it, so it’s certainly considered a natural wonder and attracts the crowds to prove it.
How big is Ayers Rock?
Ayers Rock is about 3.6kms long and 1.9kms wide, it comprises of a single piece of rock, almost 10kms in circumference and jutting out of the Northern Territory Outback.
Ayers Rock Dimensions
Ever wondered how big Ayers Rock actually is, and what are Ayers Rock’s dimensions?
- Ayers Rock is 3.6 km long (2.2 miles)
- Ayers Rock is 1.9 km wide (1.2 miles)
- Ayers Rock is 9.4 km or 5.8 miles around the base
- Ayers Rock covers 3.33 km2 (1.29 miles2)
- Ayers Rock extends about 2.5kms into the ground
- Ayers Rock height above ground: 348 metres (1141 feet)
- Ayers Rock height above sea level: 863 metres (2,831 ft)
Ayers Rock is Unique
For decades, tourists have been making the long journey to this remote site trying to find out just exactly what Ayers Rock all about. Thousands of visitors travel some 460kms southwest of Alice Springs to see this remarkable lump of orange/brown sandstone that uniquely rises 350m from the flat plains of spinifex grass.
Only the nearby Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas, offer anything similar in the region. Unlike Ayers Rock, they comprise of several sandstone mounds, which further add to the attraction of the area.
Ayers Rock or Uluru?
Ayers Rock is also known as Uluru, the name given to it by the local Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal tribe long before surveyor William Gosse named it in honour of South Australia Chief Secretary Henry Ayers in 1873.
Today, the Aborigines own and administer the land on which the rock stands and, since they attach spiritual significance to it, they prefer visitors not to climb it.
A trip to Ayers Rock usually involves a five-hour drive from Alice Springs, in addition to a flight or an even longer drive, and therefore most people stay overnight. This is usually done in campsites or local resorts.
One of the highlights of a visit is experiencing the changing colours of the rock at sunset and sunrise.
At midday, temperatures can top 35°C during the summer months, so it’s best to plan to be indoors at the local Yulara resort town at this time.
An air strip makes it possible to fly directly to the site.
What is Ayers Rock made of?
Uluru is an inselberg – which is a prominent isolated residual knob or hill that rises abruptly from and is surrounded by extensive and relatively flat erosion lowlands in a hot, dry region.
Ayers Rock is a type of rock called arkose, a coarse grained sandstone rich in the mineral feldspar. The sandy sediment, which hardened to form this arkose, was eroded from high mountains composed largely of granite. Average composition is approximately 50% feldspar, 25–35% quartz and up to 25% of other rock fragments.
The formation of Australia’s Ayers Rock started about 500 million years ago.
Ayers Rock campground
There is plenty of variety of local accommodation near Ayers Rock, but one of the most popular is the Ayers Rock Campground located at Yulara, about 15km from the rock. Pre-bookings are vital, especially during the high season.