Ayers Rock

Andrew Harper's Travel Guide

Situated at the heart of Australia’s Red Centre, Ayers Rock (or Uluru, as it is known to the Aboriginal people) is reached via a three-hour flight from Sydney or Melbourne. A World Heritage site, the immense sandstone outcrop measures well over six miles in ...

Situated at the heart of Australia’s Red Centre, Ayers Rock (or Uluru, as it is known to the Aboriginal people) is reached via a three-hour flight from Sydney or Melbourne. A World Heritage site, the immense sandstone outcrop measures well over six miles in circumference and abruptly rises 2,800 feet from the flat desert floor. Dramatically changing color throughout the day, it is especially magical at sunset. The area’s other astounding geologic formation is The Olgas (Kata Tjuta), a conglomeration of huge rocks hiding chasms and sensational gorges. 

It’s possible to circumnavigate Ayers Rock on your own, but the experience is improved immeasurably by a private guide who can relate the spiritual significance of Uluru and explain the meanings of the paintings decorating the monolith. Should you happen to visit the area during a rainstorm, I recommend making a drive around Uluru as soon as it is over, when you can see rainwater cascading down the side of the rock in a series of temporary waterfalls. And it is worth the trouble to arise early for a sunrise breakfast. When the ancient landscape is just waking up, it feels especially tranquil and mystical, and the play of light on Ayers Rock is unforgettable. 

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