For many years, a visit to the centre of Australia was on our ‘must do’ list. After yearning to experience an iconic landmark and finally realising that dream, sometimes we are disappointed with the reality. As we approached Uluru, I was wondering if that would be the case this time. It wasn’t. The rock is awesome.
Uluru is sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. William Gosse first sighted it in 1873 and named it Ayers Rock in honour of the then Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. Since then, both names have been used. Because of its great spiritual significance, the Anangu do not climb Uluru. The visitors guide suggests, ‘the climb is not prohibited, but we prefer that, as a guest on Anangu land, you will choose to respect our law and culture by not climbing.’ Alas, human nature is what it is.
We decided the best way to see the top was from a helicopter.
The perspective from above showed the diverse features of this amazing sandstone formation. Standing 348m high, most of the bulk lies underground.
The vastness of the desert was absolutely breathtaking, with Kata Tjuta rising from the landscape to break the monotony.
The township and holiday resorts of Yulara offer an oasis in the desert.
We then embarked on the base walk, 10.6km around Uluru. Visitors are asked not to photograph certain sections for reasons related to the traditional beliefs of the Anangu people. Prior to our visit, I had expected the rock to be quite featureless. On the contrary, it is truly remarkable.
The walk was exhausting on a hot, dry day
but the rewards were many.
With the sun descending, we bid farewell to Uluru
with a long, cold beer in our sights.