Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Travel Guide
One of the most recognisable symbols of Australia, Uluru lies in the ‘Red Center’ of Australia, the UNESCO World Heritage site that is Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Better known as Ayers Rock, the nearby Kata Tjuta is a beautiful group of 36 domes that reputedly date back 500 million years. A sacred place to the indigenous Anangu people, the park is co-managed by the Anangu and the Australian government.
A number of fantastic guided walks are on offer in the area and offer the opportunity to watch the landscape change color during sunrise and sunset. Climbing Uluru is a favorite pastime of tourists, but it’s deeply offensive to the Anangu people. Decide for yourself what you want to do, with the latter clearly preferring you to be content with having a go on a didgeridoo and watching the rock from a distance.
Formerly known as Ayers Rock, Uluru is considered to be one of the great wonders of the world. Situated in the middle of the desert, Ayers Rock is a mysterious site which has been enchanting visitors for generations.
Located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, getting to Ayers Rock is far from easy as visitors must first travel to the town of Alice Springs and then embark on a long drive. However, many visitors claim that the effort is part of the appeal and they make the pilgrimage to this sacred site time and again.
Although taking in the view from the top of Ayers Rock may be very tempting, this is a sacred site of the Anangu people, who request that visitors stay on solid ground, rather than climb the mighty rock. The climb can also be rather dangerous and a number of people have lost their lives here over the years.
However, the allure of Ayers Rock is so strong that most visitors are content to simply stand and stare at the magnificent rock for a while. There are also a number of caves located around the base, and visitors can explore these shallow caves to view ancient rock art.
What is it? One of Australia’s most famous natural landmarks.
When to go? Between April and July, when the searing heat eases slightly.
Nearest town: Alice Springs, a 4 to 5-hour drive away.
Don’t miss: explore the caves in Ayers Rock, many of which contain rock art dating back thousands of years.
Trivia: although Ayers Rock wasn’t discovered by the Western world until the 1870s, archaeological findings indicate that there were people living in this area some 10,000 years ago.
The main entry point is Alice Springs, which has its own airport and receives connecting flights from all major Australian cities including from Sydney in 3 hours, 30 minutes. However, there are no scheduled bus services and visitors will need to hire a car in Alice Springs to complete the 450kms drive (4 to 5 hours) to Ayers Rock.