Traditionally known as Uluru, Ayers Rock, the official name in Central Australia, refers to a giant sandstone rock that is holy for the local Aborigines who are called Anangu that means ‘human being’. Considered to be created by the activities of ancestors of the creation time, this is the wonderful location that features several waterholes, caves, and old rock paintings.
The Anangu believe that the world was featureless prior to the arrival of the ancestral beings who arose from void and then traveled across the land for creating the features of the desert landscape as well as the living species. Today, Ayers Rock is considered a superb physical sign of these ancestors’ activities. And yes, even the New Age practitioners give a lot of importance to this creation.
Uluru is a secluded rock that soars 346 m and stretches over 2 miles in width. Almost in a triangular shape, the Ayers Rock boasts relatively stronger exterior as compared to the other rock formations, which facilitates the feature of bizarre steep rock faces until the ground level. It is totally a plain rock with no vegetation that simply supports its mysterious charm. However, at the rock’s base, you will contradictorily come across the rain-nourished oasis of water pools, lush foliage, and a multitude of wildlife. This renders the rock as the perfect ceremonial site for the Anangu who live in the caves with an assurance that the water as well as food is available.
Leaving aside its grandiose size, the tourists as well as the locals are even more amazed at its impressive series of changing colors within a day and across a year. Especially, the times of dawn and dusk are much notable leaving the rock to shimmer in an oxidized (rusty) red. It is true that the rock gets its color due to oxidation, while the shimmering at dawn and dusk is because of the arkosic sandstone of which it is composed of. This sandstone holds reflective minerals making the rock to change its color as per the sun’s behavior.
Other highlight of the Ayers Rock is that it is the home of many appealing cracks, caves, canyons, and natural formations all made due to ancestral beings’ activities at the time of creation. At the base are the shallow caves holding old carvings as well as paintings. However, they are different from the other cave art sites in the world such as the Lascaux Caves in the sense that the drawings do not symbolize the artifacts of some remote culture; in fact, they are yet made by the Anangu. So, you get to see something that is still being made and expanded! Here, the ancient cave drawings are just made over each other using mostly water making the art fairly delicate. That is why, the rock art here cannot be guaranteed a certain date. Among the various drawings, you can spot human beings, boomerangs, symbols, and waterholes.
Guided walk tours are arranged by the park rangers who are from the Anangu tribe. The base walk is 9.4 km long stretching around the rock perimeter, while the Mala Walk is for 2 km. There is also something called as the Mutitjulu walk that is for 1 km.
The Anangu will never climb the Ayers Rock due to its immense holiness. Not only this, they also make a request to the visitors for not climbing it. This is seen in a signpost that is tucked at the base by the Aborigines. They request so because the climb here is very risky and that some have also died on their way. But, as the rock is in the region of a national park, visitors can climb the rock. To make it safer, check out for a marked route boasting chain handhold. In hot desert weather, the climb normally takes over an hour. Therefore, a good amount of fitness, lots of water, and proper clothing are a must! And yes, emergency radio alarms are instilled at many spots around the base to convey about the injury or health issues.
Reaching the rock
Mostly, the voyage begins from Alice Springs that is at a distance of 280 miles. From here, you can choose to drive, catch a bus, or be a part of a tour.
Ayers Rock Resort – at 17 km – luxury.