Ayers Rock – or ‘Uluru’, as it’s known to the Aboriginal owners of the land – is one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks. Found in the middle of the red sandy outback in the Northern Territory, Uluru is sacred to the Aboriginal people. But for tourists, is it worth making the trek to the middle of Australia to visit… Or is it just a big rock in the middle of nowhere?
Here are 7 reasons why we believe Ayer’s Rock is more than just a big boulder – and why it should be on your Australia travel must-see list!
Ogle at the Rock's Sheer Size
When you see Ayers Rock in pictures, it’s hard to imagine the sheer size of this natural phenomenon. As one of the largest monoliths in the world, Ayers Rock towers over you at over 300 metres – or around 1,000 feet – high and 2 kilometres, or over 1.2 miles, wide.
Walk, Hike or Ride Around the Rock
Ayers Rock is arguably more impressive up close; its seemingly smooth surface is covered in divets, scars and caves. While it’s considered incredibly disrespectful to the Anungu people to climb Ayers Rock, it’s highly recommended that you take the time to explore around it. Walking around the Rock is a 9-kilometre, or close to 6-mile, round-trip so remember to wear good walking shoes and pack a bottle of water!
Take a Camel Tour
The outback has plenty of secrets hiding in its endless red sand, from some of the most diverse wildlife in the world to hidden rock formations or oasis’s. The best way to explore the outback is from the back of a camel, as they are perfectly suited to the hot, dry conditions. Uluru Camel Tours offer daily tours from sunrise tours, day trips and sunset rides around Ayers Rock and the Olgas.
Experience Aboriginal Culture
The Anungu people are the original inhabitants of Alice Springs, and as a result they have endless knowledge of the area. Whether you’re interested in bushtucker, traditional Aboriginal artwork, or simply understanding the spiritual and historical connection that the Anungu people have to Uluru, there’s a tour that can give you an even deeper appreciation of this incredible part of Australian culture.
Whether you’re staying at the Ayers Rock Resort or any number of other accommodation options, you’ll likely have access to some free Aboriginal displays, such as dancing, boomerang throwing, traditional dot painting or bush tucker tours. Best of all, once you’ve been shown how to do it, you get to have a go as well – you never know, there may be a champion boomerang thrower in your troupe!
Being situated in the middle of the desert has its advantages – namely the lack of artificial light pollution, giving you an unbelievable view of the stars. You can choose to do your own stargazing or, if you prefer someone else points out the formations, the Ayers Rock Resort offer a stargazing tour.
Dine Al Fresco
The Sounds of Silence, run by the Ayers Rock Resort, offers an unforgettable fine dining experience at the red centre. Watch the sun set over Uluru while enjoying gourmet canapés and sparkling wine, then dine under the breath-taking night sky as you enjoy a bush tucker-themed buffet, complete with crocodile, kangaroo and barramundi.
Take to the Skies
Seeing Uluru from the air is a sure way to fully understand just how mind-blowingly big it is, and the best way to appreciate the vastness of the Aussie outback. Professional Helicopter Services offer scenic flights over Uluru, the Olgas and other incredible landmarks. Their helicopters are specially designed to ensure you get the best possible view, so you’re guaranteed to take home some life-long memories.