When you’ve seen an iconic profile in promotional material a gazillion times before, can it when finally seen in the flesh, live up to such hype?
In Uluru’s case – Yes… and more! All those sunset photos you’ve seen are not a scratch on the real thing!
As you approach Uluru to explore the curved rocks and deep gullies around its base, and start to get up close, there’s a strangely intimate feeling; a sense of discovery, which is so very different to the experience you have when viewing merely its outer shell from afar.
Uluru isn’t any old rock –
It’s a monolith that rises abruptly 348 meters (1142 ft) above a vacant spinifex plain.
The ‘pimple’ that we see above the surface, is thought to extend 5 or 6 km underground.
With a circumference of 9.4km (5.85 miles) – you can drive around it… or better still walk.
So my Top Experience is Uluru.
Here are 12 reasons why going to Uluru is a Top 100 experience for me (other than it being one of Australia’s greatest icons out in the true blue Aussie outback).
- A cathedral of rich rusty red rock
- Stunningly sculpted by wind and water erosion
- Colours illuminate off it like stained glass at sunrise and sunset
- Emanates a euphoric sense of biophilia (an innate affinity with this natural world)
- Waterholes (yes – there really are waterholes at the base of Uluru)
- Red, red sand and spikey spinifex grass
- Desert oaks whistling in the wind
- Arid wild flowers, river red gums and lizards
- Smooth, soft folds and crevices against rugged rock formations
- Rock paintings hiding under overhangs and amazing anthropology
- Huge expansive sky of blue in the day, starry sparkles at night
- A landform of moods as passing elements cast their shadows
WALKING – Experience the atmosphere of Uluru by walking up close and personal to the Rock’s base and breathe in this awesome landscape.
A favourite walk of mine for the vegetation, the rock art and seeing Uluru reflected in Mutitjulu Waterhole was the Kuniya Walk (1km/0.6mile)
The Base walk right around the Rock is 10.6km (6.5miles) and takes about 3.5hours.
And there’s a FREE 2km (1.25mile) ranger guided walk along the Mala trail to Kantju Gorge every day full of fantastic cultural info and demonstrations.
The Cultural Centre in the park is constructed from locally made mud bricks in an organic flowing form and houses information on over 400 species of local flora, 21 species of mammals and 73 different reptiles as well as 170 varieties of birds and 4 types of frog, all waiting to be spied by you whilst in the area. There are also great displays on indigenous culture and ceremonies.
Hire a car (if you arrive by air) as all accommodation is at Yulara, which is 8km (5 miles) from the National Park entrance, or 18km (11 miles) from Uluru itself. While there are many tours on offer, having the freedom to explore at your own pace is magic.
There are compelling reasons as to why it’s important not to climb Uluru.
Uluru is pretty well in the centre of Australia.
You can fly direct with Qantas or Virgin, or go by road – it’s about 2,000km from any coastline so from Sydney it’s 2,800km (1,700 miles).
The nearest town to Uluru is Alice Springs, about 460km (285 miles) to the north east, which is where the Ghan train stops.
The National Park is open from just before sunrise to just after sunset. There is a fee of $25 to enter the Park that is valid for 3 days, which comes with a great informative souvenir booklet.