Sunday, April 8, 2012

More than a big, red rock

Uluru Ayers Rock, one of the most recognizable icons to depict Australia, is also the largest monolith in the world - visible from outer space.  Upon your first view, nothing can quite prepare you for the contrast between the red sand stretching to the horizon in every direction and the huge Red Rock jutting upwards like the toe of a sleeping giant sticking up through the desert.  It is a mystical place, one to be savoured at dawn when you can watch the Rock change colours to meet the new day, or at sunset as the last rays of sun beam across the empty desert and highlight the fissures and crevices of Uluru Ayers Rock as it settles in for the night.

The Aboriginal People of Australia lived around Uluru Ayers Rock for more than 30,000 years before 1873 when its presence was first recorded by William Gosse, a surveyor for the new European settlers of Australia.  It was named Ayers Rock after the Chief Secretary of South Australia, though officially it is now known as Uluru Ayers Rock to honour the original Aboriginal name.  

Kata Tjuta
Uluru Ayers Rock and nearby Kata Tjuta have great religious and spiritual importance to the local Anangu people and are the subject of many tales and myths handed down through their Aboriginal Dreamtime stories.

Located in the geographical heart of Australia it is approximately a 3 hour flight from the main cities of the east and south coasts and is almost equal flying time from Sydney, Cairns or Melbourne.

Perhaps the best way to get a feel for the immense size and scale is to see it up close from the air.  A tour by helicopter will throw it into focus very quickly.  Other tours available (walking, vehicle based, or by camel) will get you up close to the Rock at almost any time of day.

You can find much more information (and inspiration!) here.

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