Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Uluru (Ayers Rock)

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In the Northern Territory of Australia lies the single largest monolith rock in the world: Ayers Rock, or Uluru. At a staggering height of 346 meters and running about 2 miles in length and width, this sandstone rock formation towers over an otherwise completely flat terrain.

Uluru was probably formed by the slow erosion of the original mountain range. The rock is homogeneous, and as a result there is no soil on it. It is full of caves, canyons, cracks, water holes and other natural formations, as well as ancient paintings and carvings.

This monolith is an important and sacred place for the Aboriginals in Australia —in much the same way Titicaca is for South American tribes. Archaeological evidence has shown that the Aboriginals have lived in the region of Uluru for at least 30,000 years. Uluru is still a living cultural landscape. The Anangu Aboriginal people are guided by Tjukurpa (law) to keep both culture and country strong. This is something that has never changed.

According to the local legends, Uluru is believed to have resulted from the intervention of ‘gods’ when the divine beings emerged from the void and created all life on earth. It is said that two tribes of these ancestral beings had a battle to the death in this area over a beautiful lizard woman. As the result of this battle, the earth rose in grief and thus Uluru was created!

The Aboriginals do not climb Uluru since they consider it sacred, and although tourists were able to climb it in the past, it is now forbidden.

An interesting feature of Uluru is how it changes colours during the day, and over the course of the year. The sandstone of the rock contains reflective minerals that react differently to the varying positions of the sun, thus causing the surface to radiate different colours.

Uluru is an incredible and unique place to visit, and is not the only monolith one can visit in Australia. In fact, many more monoliths exist in this beautiful country, the second in size located in Queensland.

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    Uluru, also called Ayers Rock, is a name given to a huge rock near Alice Springs in the Australian Outback and located in Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. This is a holy place for Australian aborigines. It is in the Western Desert, in the middle of Australia. It was listed as a World Heritage site in 1987 because of its geology. [1] In 1997 it was again listed as a World Heritage site, this time because of its importance to the Anangu people. [1] It was the second place in the world to be listed as culturally significant, and it is one of the few places in the world to have two listings. [1]

    The Anangu people believe that Uluru, and the rest of Central Australia, was formed by ancestral beings at the beginning of time. The Anangu are directly descended from these ancestors. [2]

    Modern science shows that they have lived around Uluru for more than 40,000 years. They continued to live their traditional life until the 1930s. [2] This was a nomadic life, moving around to hunt and gather food according to the seasons. They have a complex ceremonial life based around Uluru. [2] They are one of the oldest human societies on earth. [3]

    The first Europeans to see Uluru were explorers led by William Christie Gosse. [4] He saw Uluru on 19 July 1873 and named it Ayers Rock after Sir Henry Ayers, who was Chief Secretary of South Australia. [4] The land was too dry and remote for farming, and very few people came to Uluru until the mid 20th century. [4]


    By the early 1970s, the pressure of unstructured and unmonitored tourism, including motels near the base of Uluru (Ayers Rock), was having detrimental effects on the environment surrounding both Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Following the recommendation of a Senate Select Committee to remove all developments near the base of the rock and build a new resort to support tourism in the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, the Commonwealth Government agreed in 1973 to relocate accommodation facilities to a new site outside the park. On 10 August 1976, the Governor General proclaimed the new town of Yulara, some 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from Uluru. [3]

    After the Northern Territory was granted Self Government in 1978, development of the new town became a major priority of the Northern Territory Government. Between 1978 and 1981, basic infrastructure (roads, water supply etc.) was built via the government's capital works program. In 1980 the government set up the Yulara Development Company Ltd to develop tourist accommodation, staff housing and a shopping centre. The first stage of the resort was built between 1982 and 1984 for the Northern Territory Government by Yulara Development Company Ltd., at a cost of A$130 million. The resort was designed by Philip Cox & Associates and won the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) Sir Zelman Cowen Award in 1984.

    When the new facilities became fully operational in late 1984, the Commonwealth Government terminated all leases for the old motels near the Rock, and the area was rehabilitated by the National Park Service (now called Parks Australia). Around the same time, the national park was renamed Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa, and its ownership was transferred to the local Indigenous people, who leased it back to the Parks Australia for 99 years.

    There were originally three competing hotels, but that detracted from the viability of the enterprise, and the company (and indirectly the government) incurred massive operating losses. Between 1990 and 1992, the competing hotel operators were replaced by a single operator, the government-owned Investnorth Management Pty Ltd. In 1992, the government sold, through open tender, a 40% interest in the Yulara Development Company and, therefore, the resort, to a venture capital consortium.

    In 1997, the entire resort was again sold by open tender to General Property Trust, which appointed Voyages Hotels & Resorts as operator. Voyages operated all aspects of the resort, with the exception of the post office (Australia Post) and the bank (ANZ). Almost all residents of the town rented their housing from Voyages, but the government leased some housing for its employees. Most residents are either workers in the resort or tour operators. In 2011, the resort was sold again to the Indigenous Land Corporation which operates the resort under its subsidiary, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia. [11] [12]

    The 2016 Australian census found that Yulara had a population of 1,099 people which had the following characteristics: [2]

    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 14.2% of the population.
    • 52.8% of people were born in Australia and 62.6% of people spoke only English at home.
    • The most common response for religion was "No Religion" at 38.4%.

    The Connellan Airport makes it possible to reach Yulara in a few hours from Sydney (three hours), Melbourne, Alice Springs, Cairns, Adelaide or Darwin compared to five hours by car from Alice Springs, the nearest major town, 428 kilometres (266 mi) northeast. [9]

    The resort is served by one major road, the Lasseter Highway, which links it to surrounding roads and landmarks. The Lasseter Highway is currently and until 2022 [13] being expanded in the area to help with the tourism traffic flow. The sealed Lasseter Highway extends east to meet the Stuart Highway. The roads in other directions are not so well maintained or travelled. [9] The Great Central Road leads west and southwest into Western Australia, but is generally only suitable for high clearance four-wheel drive vehicles. Transit permits from Aboriginal Land Councils are required to travel west of Kata-Tjuta. [14]

    Yulara has a dry and arid climate (BWh) with long hot summers and short, cool winters, and with scant rainfall year-round. Frost may occur occasionally in some winter mornings. [15]

    Climate data for Yulara Aero
    Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
    Record high °C (°F) 46.4
    Average high °C (°F) 38.4
    Average low °C (°F) 22.7
    Record low °C (°F) 12.7
    Average rainfall mm (inches) 25.8
    Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 3.2 2.9 2.0 1.7 1.8 1.6 1.9 1.0 1.4 2.7 3.9 4.7 28.8
    Source: Bureau of Meteorology [6]

    Maruku Arts is a large and successful Aboriginal Australian-owned and -operated enterprise, run by Anangu (people of the Western and Central Deserts of Australia) since about 1990. It has a warehouse based in Mutitjulu community (at the eastern end of the rock), a retail gallery at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre, as well as a market stall in Yulara town square. Its artwork consists mainly of paintings and woodcarvings. With about 900 artists in the collective, it provides an important source of income living in remote communities across central Australia. It seeks to "keep culture strong and alive, for future generations of artists, and [to] make culture accessible in an authentic way to those that seek a more in-depth understanding". [16]

    Maruku is one of ten Indigenous-owned and -governed enterprises that go to make up the APY Art Centre Collective, [17] established in 2013. [18]

    In June 2020, Salon Art Projects, in association with Maruku, mounted an exhibition called "PUNU – Living Wood" at the Paul Johnstone Gallery in Darwin. The exhibition included hand-carved kali (boomerangs), wana (digging sticks), piti, wiras and mimpus (bowls) and a range of walka boards (designs burnt, painted and etched onto plywood), with work by artists including Niningka (Kunmanara [19] ) Lewis, Cynthia Burke and Fred Grant. [20] Punu is a Pitjantjatjara word meaning "living wood", [21]


    A helyi pitjantjatjara törzsbeliek a sziklát a Uluṟu (Sablon:IPA-all) néven emlegetik. Ennek a szónak nincs sem nyelvükben, sem a helyi dialektusban különösebb jelentése, viszont az Uluru Hagyományos Birtokosai családnévként használják. [1]

    1873. július 19-én William Gosse felfedező az itt tett látogatásakor Ayers-sziklának nevezte el az Uluṟu -t Dél-Ausztrália akkori főkormányzója, Sir Henry Ayers tiszteletére. [2] Azóta mindkét elnevezés használatos, bár mostanáig a nem idevalósiak inkább az Ayers-szikla kifejezést használták.

    1993-ban hivatalosan is elfogadták a kettős elnevezést, így mind az őslakók által használt eredeti, mind az angol szó megengedetté vált. 1993. december 15-én a hely Ayers Rock/Uluru néven az első olyan látnivaló lett az Északi területen, ami két nevet viselt. 2002. november 6-án az elnevezést megfordították Uluru/Ayers Rock formára az Alice Springsben található Regionális Turisztikai Egyesület kérésére. [3]

    Az Uluru Ausztrália egyik legismertebb nemzeti jelképe. A világhírű homokkősziklatömb 348 m magasan emelkedik a tengerszint fölé és legnagyobb része a talajszint alatt van, kerülete 9,4 km. Az Uluru és a Kata Tjuta hatalmas kulturális jelentőséggel bírnak a föld hagyományos birtokosai, az Aṉangu számára, akik turistákat vezetnek itt körbe, hogy beszéljenek nekik a helyi élővilágról, a bokrok nyújtotta élelemről, és az őslakosok területhez kötődő történeteiről.

    Az Uluru arról is híres, hogy a nap és az év különböző időszakaiban ideeső fény hatására úgy tűnik, mintha változtatná a színét. Ez különösen figyelemreméltó jelenség naplementekor, amikor egy rövid ideig vörösen izzani látszik a szikla. Bár ezen a félsivatagos területen elég ritka az eső, nedves időben az Uluru színe ezüstszürke, amelyen a fekete csíkokat a víz folyása nyomát kialakuló algacsíkok alkotják.

    A Kata Tjuta, ami érdekes alakja miatt más néven Olga hegy, avagy Az Olgák néven említenek, egy másik szikla mintegy 25 km távolságban az Ulurutól. Annak érdekében, hogy a turisták elé a legszebb látvány táruljon pirkadatkor és estefelé is, különleges, autóval megközelíthető nézőhelyeket alakítottak ki.

    Az Uluru egy tanúhegy avagy szigethegy, amely egy eredetileg itt húzódó hegylánc maradványa. [4] Az Ulurut több forrás monolitként említi, bár ez a kifejezés így nem egyértelmű a szó több jelentése miatt, ezért a geológusok inkább kerülik. Az Uluru figyelemreméltó sajátossága az egyöntetűsége, homogenitása, és hogy nem oszlopok jöttek belőle létre. Ezek a jellemzők hozzájárultak fennmaradásához, miközben a körülötte levő kőzetek erodálódtak. [5] A régió földtani feltérképezésének és leírásának szempontjából a geológusok a szikla rétegeire támaszkodva kijelentik, hogy az Uluru az Amadeus medencét feltöltő üledékes kőzetek közé tartozik. [4]

    Összetétele Szerkesztés

    Az Ulurut túlnyomórészt az arkóza nevű durvaszemcsés homokkőfajta kőzet alkotja, amelyre bőséges földpát és némi konglomerátum jelenléte jellemző. [4] [6] A sziklatömb átlagosan 50% földpátból, 25-35% kvarcból, és legfeljebb 25% kőtörmelékből áll. A földpát nagy része K földpát csupán kisebb rész plagioklász törmelék. [4] A kavicsok általában 2-4 mm átmérőjűek, szögletesek a finomabb szemcsés homokkő esetén a szemcseméret növekedésével csökken a szemcse finomsága. [4] A sziklatörmelékekben található bazalt, illetve más helyeken bazalt helyett klorit és epidot tartalmúak ezek. [4] A kimutatott ásványok elsősorban gránit alkotta forrásra utalnak, mint ahogyan a délre fekvő Musgrave block anyaga is ez. [5] Viszonylag frissen ez a kőzet szürke színű, de a vastartalmú ásványok az időjárás oxidációs hatására a szikla külső felszínének rozsdavörös árnyalatot adnak. [4] Az üledék lerakódására olyan jelenségekből következtethetünk, mint a hullámok mozgásának lenyomata, amelyek elemzése megerősítette az üledékes lerakódás elméletét. [4] [5]

    Kora és eredete Szerkesztés

    A Mutitjulu Arkóz feltehetően egyidős a Kata Tjuta konglomerátummal, és bár nem egyforma típusú kőzetek, mégis valószínűleg hasonlóképpen jöttek létre, azonban az Uluru fiatalabb a keletre fekvő Conner hegynél, [4] és nem tartozik hozzá. Az Uluru rétegei majdnem vízszintesek, délnyugati irányban 85°-ban dőlnek, és legalább 2400 m vastagságúak. A rétegek a környező síkság alá süllyedve folytatódnak, és kétségkívül hatalmas kiterjedésűek a felszín alatt, de nem tudjuk pontosan mekkorák. A szikla eredetileg homok volt, amely hordaléklerakódásnak volt kitéve, de elkülönült attól a közeli főntől, amely a mai Kata Tjutát alkotó homokot, kavicsokat és köveket hordta. [4] [5] Mára magyarázatot leltek a Mutitjulu Arkóz és a tőle délre elhelyezkedő gránitrétegek hasonlóságára. A deli rétegek elődei sokkal nagyobbak voltak, mint a ma látható maradványok. Ezek a Petermann orogenezisként emlegetett hegyképződés során emelkedtek ki, amely a Neoproterozoikum vége és a kambrium eleje (550-530 millió évvel ezelőtt) történt. A Mutitjulu arkóz keletkezését ugyanerre az időre teszik. Az alakzatot létrehozó arkóz homokkő szemcséi nem mutatnak méretbeli különbséget, nagyon kevéssé lekerekített az alakjuk, és a bennük lévő földpát viszonylag frissnek tűnik. Ez jellemző erre a kőzetfajtára, és a délre kiemelkedő gránithegyek viszonylag gyors eróziójára utal. A homokrétegek csaknem vízszintesen rakódtak le, de egy későbbi, 400-300 millió évvel ezelőtt a paleozoikumban lejátszódott úgynevezett Alice Springs orogenezis hegyképződési folyamat során függőleges irányban torlódtak. [4] Olyan, nem megerősített teória is felmerült, miszerint a sziklát egy óriási kisbolygóbecsapódást követő kilométeres szökőár görgette ide (MAPCIS-elmélet).

    46 őshonos emlősfaj ismeretes az Uluru régióban, amelyek közül a közelmúlt kutatásai szerint 21 él ma. Az Aṉangu k elismerik, hogy a fajok számának csökkenése hatással van az egészségre és a tájra. Támogatják a kihalt helyi állatok visszatelepítését, ezek közé tartozik a homoki lábastyúk, közönséges rókakuzu, bolyhos nyúlkenguru (Lagorchestes hirsutus) más néven mala, közönséges erszényesnyúl, üregásó patkánykenguru (Bettongia lesueur) és a feketelábú szirtikenguru (Petrogale lateralis). [7]

    A mulgara, az egyetlen veszélyeztetett emlősfajta, leginkább csak a homoksíksági területen fordul elő, az Uluru környékétől a park északi határáig, az Ayers Szikla üdülőterületig terjedő keskeny részen. Ugyanitt él a déli erszényesvakond, Woma piton (Aspidites ramsayi) és a nagy sivatagi szkink.

    A park denevér populációja legalább hét fajt foglal magában, amelyeknek napközbeni alvóhelyre van szükségük az Uluru és a Kata Tjuta barlangjaiban és hasadékaiban. A denevérek többsége légi zsákmányra vadászik a sziklafal mintegy 100 méteres körzetében. A park rendkívül gazdag ízeltlábú faunával rendelkezik, amelyek közül 73 fajt kiemelten védettként tartanak nyilván. Négy béka faj szaporodik el az Uluru és a Kata Tjuta lábánál a nyári esőzéseket követően. A nagy sivatagi szkink szintén a veszélyeztetett fajok listáján szerepel.

    Az Aṉangu nép továbbra is vadássza és összegyűjti a park elhagyatott területein és anguföld más részein élő állatokat. A vadászat a következő állatokra korlátozódik: vörös óriáskenguru, az ausztrál golyvás túzok, emu és a gyíkok (például az óriás varánusz és homoki varánusz).

    A parkban található 27 emlősfajból hat nem őshonos: a házi egér, egypúpú teve, vörös róka, macska, kutya és az üregi nyúl. Ezek a fajok az egész parkban elterjedtek, legnagyobb számban mégis a nagy vízbőségű területeken fordulnak elő.

    Az Uluru - Kata Tjuta Nemzeti Park növényvilága az Ausztrália középső részén élő növények nagy részét bemutatja. A fajok közül számos ritkaság, és csak a parkban, illetve közvetlen környezetében fordul elő. Sok ritka és endemikus növény él az Ulurunál és a Kata Tjutánál.

    A növénytársulások száma és szaporodása a rendszertelen esőzéseket követi. Néhány növény túléli a tüzet, mások szaporodása pedig kifejezetten a tűztől függ. A növények fontos szerepet kapnak a Tjukurpa álmo-spiritualitásban, és minden egyes fontos növényi táplálék tiszteletére létezik szertartás. Sok növényt az ősi lényekkel azonosítanak.

    Az Uluru - Kata Tjuta Nemzeti Park flórája a következőképp csoportosítható:

    A fák, mint a mulga vagy a vérfa (Corymbia opaca) eszközök, például dárdahegyek, bumeráng és edények készítésére használatosak. A vérfa vörös kérge fertőtlenítő hatású, és köhögés, illetve megfázás esetén inhalálnak vele.

    Számos ritka és veszélyeztetett növényfaj él a parkban. Többségük, akárcsak az Ophioglossum, csupán a sziklatömb lábánál fekvő nedves területeken élnek, ahol nagy a látogatók forgalma, és az erózió veszélye.

    Az első európaiak érkezése óta 34 egzotikus növényfajt jegyeztek fel a parkban, amely a park teljes növényvilágának közel 6,4%-át teszi ki. Ezek közül néhány, mint az évelő Cenchrus ciliaris évelő fűféle, az erózió által pusztított területekre lett telepítve. Ez a rendkívül agresszív gyomnövény elterjedt a vízben és tápanyagban gazdag területeken. Néhány más fajt véletlenül hurcoltak ide az emberek és az autók.

    A Commonwealth Department of Environment (a Nemzetközösség Környezeti Osztálya) honlapja szerint: [8]

    „Sok Tjukurpa, mint például a Kalaya (emu), a Liru (mérgeskígyó), a Lungkata (kéknyelvű gyík), a Luunpa (királyhalász) és a Tjintir-tjintirpa (barázdabillegető) útvonala érinti az Uluru-Kata Tjuta Nemzeti Parkot. Más Tjukurpa lények csupán egy adott területen élnek.”

    „Kuniya, a woma piton, az Uluru sziklái között élt, ahol a Liru, a mérgeskígyó volt a zsákmánya.”

    A park évi átlagos csapadékmennyisége 307,7 mm, az évi középhőmérséklet 37.8 °C nyáron és 4,7 °C télen. Az eddig mért legmagasabb nyári hőmérséklet 45 °C a legalacsonyabb téli pedig -5 °C volt. Az ibolyántúli sugárzás általában szélsőségesen magas, átlagosan 11 és 15 közötti értékű. [9]

    A helyi őslakosok szerint öt évszak jellemző az éghajlatra:

    1. Piriyakutu (augusztus/szeptember) – az állatok táplálkozása, és az ehető növények virágzása
    2. Mai Wiyaringkupai (november/december) – a forró évszak, amikor az élelem kevesebb
    3. Itjanu (január/február/március) – hirtelen, váratlan viharok ideje
    4. Wanitjunkupai (április/május) – hűvös időjárás
    5. Wari (június/július) – hideg évszak reggeli fagyokkal

    Az Uluru hagyományos Anangu tulajdonosai szerint : [8]

    „Egykor a világ egy jellegtelen hely volt. Semmilyen ma ismert hely nem létezett, amíg a teremtő lények emberek, növények, állatok formájában szanaszét kóboroltak a földön. Azután a teremtés és rombolás folyamán alakították olyanná a tájat, amilyen az ma. Az Anangu földet ma is több tucat Tjukuritja vagy Waparitja néven ismert teremtő lény szelleme lakja.”

    Számos változatról számolnak be azok, akik az őslakosoktól az Uluru hasadékának és nyílásának keletkezéséről szóló történeteket hallottak. Az egyiket Robert Layton (1989) ULURU: An Aboriginal history of Ayers Rock (Uluru: Az Ayers szikla története az őslakosok szerint) című könyvében olvashatjuk, [10] reads as follows:

    "Az Ulurut (Ayers sziklát) a teremtés idején két kisfiú emelte, akik eső után a sárban játszottak. A játékuk befejeztével délre utaztak, Wiputaba. Ahogy együtt repültek, az asztal-szerű tetejű Conner hegy felé vették útjukat, aminek a tetején máig látható a testük szikladarabként" (5. oldal)

    Két másik történetet Norbert Brockman művében (1997) Encyclopedia of Sacred Places (Szent helyek enciklopédiája) olvashatunk. [11] Az első kígyószerű lényekről szól, akik több háborút vívtak az Uluru körül, így hasítottak vágásokat a sziklába. A második két, ősi szellemű törzsről beszél, akiket meghívtak egy lakomára, de a gyönyörű Álmos Gyík Hölgy elvarázsolta őket és nem tettek eleget a meghívásnak. Erre a dühös vendéglátók megátkoztak egy sárszobrot, ami az dingo képében életre kelt. Ezután a két törzs összecsapott egymással, és a csatában a törzsfőnökök meghaltak. A vérontás miatti gyászában a föld megemelkedett, így jött létre az Uluru.

    Néhány beszámoló szerint átok száll azokra, akik kavicsot visznek haza innen. Számos esetben a kavicsokat hazavivők igyekeztek visszajuttatni gyűjteményüket valamilyen ügynökségeken keresztül, csak hogy megszabaduljanak balszerencséjüktől. [12] [13]

    A keleti és nyugati oldalon végzett archeológiai kutatások azt bizonyították, hogy több, mint 10 000 évvel ezelőtt laktak már itt emberek. [10] Az 1870-es években érkeztek európaiak a Nyugati Sivatagba. Az Uluru és a Kata Tjuta 1872-ben lettek feltérképezve abban a felfedezőperiódusban, amit az ausztrál távirathálózat építése tett lehetővé. Ernest Giles és William Gosse voltak a terület első európai felfedezői.

    Az 1872-es expedíció során Giles a Kata Tjuta területét a Királyok Kanyonja közelében vizsgálta és az Olga hegy nevet adta neki, míg tőle függetlenül Gosse a következő évben az Ulurut figyelte és Ayers sziklának nevezte el. Az állattartás lehetőségének megteremtése céljából több további felfedezőutat tettek a helyszínen. Az 1800-as évek végén az állattartók megpróbálták megvetni a lábukat a Délnyugati/Petermann rezervátum közötti területen, ezért a fehérek és az Aṉangu őslakosok között gyakoribb és erőszakosabb összeütközések történtek. A szárazság és a legeltetés hatására a növényzet nyújtotta táplálék erősen megcsappant. Az élelemforrásokért folytatott versengés konfliktus forrása lett a két csoport között, ami egyre gyakoribb rendőrségi beavatkozásokat igényelt.

    1918 és 1921 között Dél-Ausztrália, Nyugat-Ausztrália és az Északi Terület hatalmas összefüggő régióit őslakos rezervátumokká nyilvánították, amik így menedékhelyül szolgáltak azoknak a nomádoknak, akiknek nem volt kapcsolatuk az Európából érkező telepesekkel. 1920-ban az ausztrál kormány által az őslakosok védelmében hozott törvény értelmében az Uluru - Kata Tjuta Nemzeti Park egy része is rezervátum lett (Délnyugati vagy Petermann rezervátum néven vált ismertté).

    Az első turisták 1936-ban érkeztek az Uluruhoz. Az 1940-es évektől kezdve folyamatosan áramlottak ide az európai telepesek az őslakosok jólétének és az Uluruhoz érkező turistaforgalom biztosítása érdekében. Ez a megnövekedett forgalom tette szükségessé az első járműútvonalakat 1948-ban, a következő évtizedben pedig már túrabusz szolgáltatás is beindult. 1958-ban a későbbi Uluru - Kata Tjuta Nemzeti Park területét leválasztották a Petermann rezervátumból. Ez a föld az Északi Terület Védőtestület igazgatása alá került, és az Ayers Rock - Mount Olga Nemzeti Park elnevezést kapta. Az első parkőr a jól ismert közép-ausztrál Bill Harney lett. [7] 1959-re kiadták az első motelbérleti jogokat, és Eddie Connellan tervei szerint megépült az Uluru északi oldalához közeli kifutópálya. [2]

    1968. március 5-én egy háromüléses Bell 47 G2 típusú helikopter, amelyet Philip Latz vezetett, lezuhant az Ulurun, a kőtömbtől mintegy egy mérföldnyire keletre. A roncsot március 28-án emelte föl egy Sikorsky S–58 típusú helikopter. [14] [15]

    1985. október 6-án az ausztrál kormány az Uluru tulajdonjogát visszaadta a helyi Pitjantjatjara őslakosoknak. Ennek az egyik feltétele szerint az Aṉangu nép 99 évre bérbe adja azt a Nemzeti Parkok és Vadvilág ügynökségnek, amely azt egységes egészként kezeli. Az Uluru nyugati végénél él a mintegy 300 fős Mutitjulu őslakos közösség. Az Ulurutól mintegy 17 km távolságra van a 3000 fős népességű Yulara turistaváros, a nemzeti park területén kívül.

    Az 1950-es években az Uluru lábával szomszédos területen kezdődött idegenforgalmi infrastruktúra fejlesztése hamar nemkívánatos környezeti hatásokkal járt. Az 1970-es évek elején elhatározták, hogy eltávolítanak minden turistaszállás-lehetőséget, és csak a parkon kívül engedélyeznek ilyesmit. 1975-ben egy 104 km2 nagyságú területet kerítettek el 15 km távolságban az Ulurutól a park északi határvonalától északra turistaközpont és a hozzá kapcsolódó Yulara repülőtér létesítése céljából. 1983-ban bezárták a park területén álló sátrazóhelyet, és a Yulara üdülő megnyitásakor, 1984-ben a moteleket is. 1992-ben az Északi Terület kormányzata eladta a Yulara üdülőhely fölötti tulajdonának többségét, és a hely az Ayers Rock Resort elnevezést kapta.

    Köszönhetően annak, hogy a park a Világörökségek listájára került, az évente idelátogatók száma 2000-ben meghaladta a 400 000-et. A megnövekedett turistaforgalom jó hatással van a térségi- és a nemzetgazdaságra. Ezzel együtt megnőtt a kihívás a kulturális értékek megőrzése és a látogatók igényeinek kiszolgálása közötti egyensúly megteremtése terén.

    Sziklamászás Szerkesztés

    A helyi Aṉangu törzsbeliek nem másznak fel az Ulurura, hiszen annak számukra óriási spirituális jelentősége van. Az a kérésük, hogy a látogatók se másszanak fel a sziklára, részben amiatt, hogy a turistaút egy hagyományos Álomösvényt keresztez, részben pedig a földjükre érkezők biztonsága miatti felelősség mondatja ezt velük. Az Aṉangu emberek hite spirituálisan összeköti őket az Uluruval, és mély bánatot éreznek, ha valamelyik sziklamászó meghal vagy megsérül itt.

    1983. december 11-én Bob Hawke ausztrál miniszterelnök ígéretet tett, miszerint a földtulajdont visszaadják a hagyományos Aṉangu tulajdonosoknak, és elfogadta a közösség tízpontos cselekvési tervét is, amelyben az egyik pont megtiltotta a sziklamászást az Ulurun. A kormány azonban engedélyezte a sziklamászást, és az eredetileg szóban forgó ötvenéves bérbeadás helyett 99 éves lease-t szabott feltételül a földtulajdon visszaszolgáltatásra. [16] 2017-ben a nemzeti parkok és a helyi törzsek szervezete megszavazta, hogy 2019 októberétől tilos lesz az Ulurura mászni. A hegyre menő utat 2019. október 26-án 16 órakor zárták le. [17] [18]

    Az Uluru megmászása népszerű tevékenység volt a turisták körében. Az egyórás mászást egy 1964-ben fölerősített és 1976-ban meghosszabbított kapaszkodó lánc könnyítette, ám még így is hosszú, 800 m és meredek az út volt a csúcsra, ahol eléggé élénk a szél. Elengedhetetlen volt az átlagon felüli erőnlét és a sivatagi körülmények jó tűrése. Amikor erős szelet mértek a csúcson, mászás a látogatók számára be volt tiltva. Az évek során legalább harmincheten lelték halálukat az itt történt balesetekben. [9] [19]

    Fotózás Szerkesztés

    Az Aṉangu kérése szerint az Uluru bizonyos részeit a látogatók nem fényképezhetik. Ennek okai a hagyományos Tjukurpa hiedelmek. Ezek a területek a nemekkel kapcsolatos szertartások helyszínei, ahová az ellenkező nemű Aṉangu törzsbeliek sem léphetnek be. A fotózás tiltása tulajdonképpen azt a célt szolgálja, hogy az Aṉangu emberek nehogy a külvilág által készített fényképre bukkanva óvatlanul megszegjék ezt a tabut. [20]

    Uluru welcomes you

    Soaring hundreds of metres into the vast desert sky, Uluru (sometimes called Ayers Rock) is one of the largest monoliths in the world and dates back 300 million years. People flock from all over the world to get a glimpse of its towering red (or are they orange?) dunes, cliffs, valleys, and gorges, and to see and hear the stories of the Anangu people who have spent thousands of years in its shadow. In fact, to the Indigenous people of Australia, Uluru is not a rock at all, but a living, breathing being. Today, to respect and protect its sacred status, visitors are not permitted to climb Uluru, but there are still plenty of ways to explore and be amazed by this incredible place.

    Facts About Uluru

    Made of arkosic sandstone, Uluru rises 348 metres above the desert floor and boasts a circumference of 9.4 kilometres. It’s taller than the Eiffel Tower and 2.5 times higher than the Sydney Harbour Bridge. And that’s the tip of the iceberg, so to speak – Uluru extends an additional 5-6 kilometres underground. The region’s weather fluctuates to the extreme, with highs in the summer over 47 degrees Celsius, dipping to -7 degrees Celsius in winter. Amazingly enough, the area gets 307mm of rain per year, on average – not bad for a desert!

    History of Uluru

    Ancient Aboriginal history of the Central Australian landscape goes back to the beginning of time, where three significant ancestors, Mala (Rufus-Hare Wallaby), Kuniya (Woma Python) and Liru (Poisonous Snake) of the region play an important role in the creation of the land.

    In more recent history, the 1870's, we can date the discovery of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta by the first white explorers of the time to William Gosse and William Giles respectively. Gosse, who was the first to reach Uluru named it Ayers Rock after the Chief Secretary of South Australia at the time, Sir Henry Ayers. Giles, who made it to Kata Tjuta named it The Olgas after the then reigning Queen Olga of Wurttemburg.

    In the early 1900's the government declared their ownership of the land and the site was opened to tourists in the 1950's. It was only in 1983 that the land was returned to its rightful owners.


    Australians have a habit of calling it simply The Rock. It becomes clear after a time what rock they are talking about - the vast single stone, larger than an island, that lies at Australia's heart and that until recent times was as infrequently visited by Europeans as Timbuktu or the South Pole. Since the late 19th century it has borne the name Ayers Rock, but for the Pitjantjatjara tribespeople and their kinsmen in the Great Western Desert it has another name, Uluru, a name of towering antiquity, a name from before the ice ages.

    The Rock is what geologists call an inselberg, and its basically red conglomerate stone changes appearance from the rich pink of dawn to orange at noon to a radiant ocher at sunset. But that is the least of its enchantments. There are myths and magic embodied in Uluru, and mysteries written across its face. The Rock and its surrounding desert, oddly spectacular as they are, will reward most those who are susceptible to mystery in the strictest sense, mystery as it occurred in the body of ancient ritual deriving from Tjukurapa, the Dreamtime - before which, in the aboriginal view, the earth did not exist.

    Ayers Rock lies close enough to the geographic center of Australia to make it the supreme symbol of that hinterland known as the Outback. In a continent as large as the continental United States, it is therefore a suitable objective for a traveler, being a vast and satisfying node to behold. It has always been my fancy to think of it as a kind of continental navel, the point at which the aboriginal demigods, the ancestor-heroes, half human and half animal, cut the umbilical cord connecting earth to heaven. Any traveler will certainly fall prey to similar fable-making there, by the red-orange bulk of Ayers Rock, under an immense sky of electric blue. That is an extraordinary aspect of the Rock. You can stand in Yosemite and, despite its magnitude and its splendor, know that it is all a geological wonder wrought by glaciers. But you cannot stand by Uluru without feeling it is the greatest of mythic beasts, without becoming in this desert place a brother to Ahab on the flanks of Leviathan.

    The Rock is now just past the first flush of its accessibility to outsiders. It lies in the Northern Territory, some 200 miles southwest of Alice Springs, the model for Nevil Shute's novel 'ɺ Town Like Alice.'' Until the building of a reliable airport and the arrival of four-wheel-drive transport, the only certain line of communication between Alice and the remoter regions was provided by camel trains managed by Afghan drivers, the last of whom you can still find living out retirements on the front verandas of their bungalows in town. The early vehicles that took visitors west from Alice depended on matting, which the passengers would lay across the sandy patches encountered on the way from one sizable cattle station or ranch to another, and so on to the center, the Rock.

    In the Northern Territory the term ''sizable cattle station'' is no hyperbole. Average stations are well over 1,000 square miles in extent. Angas Downs and Curtin Springs, situated between Alice and the Rock, each cover about 3,000 square miles. Any traveler fortunate enough to talk his way onto one of the larger cattle stations and stay as a guest will find a remarkable way of life flourishing there. He will encounter a community of aboriginal and white stockmen (the Australian word for cowboys), bookkeepers, mechanics and cooks, even a station schoolteacher. He will observe those tall, calm, nerveless beings Australians call aerial musterers, who round up cattle in helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft, working with doors off and so close to the ground that the altimeter or the eye can hardly tell they're airborne. At the core of the station community stand the cattleman and his wife, living the sort of life that has always reminded me of the knockabout puissance of the medieval nobility, their mental habits those of any frontier people, bristling with mistrust of all those who live in cities. If you are just passing through, the roadhouses at Angas Downs and Curtin Springs will give you the chance to see the working of enormous mobs of cattle and are one reason the traveler should approach the Rock overland, through that country of spinifex and scrub. Having arrived at the Rock, you can go strolling in the desert with one of the members of the Mutitjulu community, a group of Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara tribespeople who live in the rock's shadow. I once took such a stroll with an elder of the Yankuntjatjara tribe called Toby Naninga, an aging man who has since died and whose spirit, in tribal belief, has returned to its place of origin, to the northeast, near Angas Downs. At the time of the excursion, a photographer and I were in pursuit of a wide-angle photograph of the area for a book we were putting together. As the photographer fussed at his tripod, the old man introduced me to the nectar that drips from the fronds of the grevillea bush, to edible tubers just below the red sand, to the insect galls on mulga wood underbrush, the interiors of which had a gamy sweetness. Toby could find wood grubs and the protein-rich witchety grub. He knew, with the experience of millenniums passed on to him as a child, at the base of which shrubs his hero ancestors had hidden the water.

    After a little time with someone like Toby, you might begin to see the Rock for what it is, a cunningly inverted lake. Since the rate of evaporation here is over 12 times the rainfall, Uluru's runoff lies deep-set in the sand or held in the roots of desert scrub, though standing water can be found at Maggie Springs, home of the Water Python spirit of the Yankuntjatjara.

    IF YOU ARE THE SORT of person who relishes systems of fable as ramified as the Iliad but still dominant in the society from which they spring, you will love the Rock. On the north surface of Uluru are a series of caves and striations that Europeans call the Skull. Members of the Mala, or Hare Wallaby, group (both Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara belong to it) believe that the patterning represents the camp made by their hero ancestors in the Dreamtime, when they came to Uluru from the Haasts Bluff region, some 200 miles north, to initiate their youths. The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, is the era in which these heroic forebears created the known earth by their travels and adventures along trails that cross and re-cross the desert. Many of these paths coalesce to a crossroads at major features of the landscape, such as Uluru.

    The grooves and caves to the right of the Skull mark the camps of the fathers and uncles of the initiates. In the uncles' camp lived the eagle chick, which would be used to provide feathers for the ceremony. Other caves represent the camps of old men not involved in the ceremony, and a series of flat rocks to the east stand for the camp of the Hare Wallaby women.

    Whenever the tribes of the area gather at the Rock for initiation ceremonies, they still camp precisely in this pattern, written in such large symbols on the surface of Uluru. The final initiation rites of Mala men have, up to recent times, taken place in a cave around the corner of the Rock, a cave now lightly fenced and dependent on the good will of visitors for its in-tegrity. It is known that inside the Mala cave the walls are stained with an oxide, the blood of the Mala hero ancestor. Old men still pour out their blood from self-inflicted arm and chest wounds, since they realize the continuance of the known earth, granted them by their traveling ancestors, depends upon it.

    In the northwest corner of Uluru, separated from the body of the Rock, is an immense pillar that Europeans call the Kangaroo Tail. In tribal perception this is the ceremonial pole (naldawata) stolen from the midst of the Mala camp by a devil dingo. The dingo is a species of dog believed to have come to Australia with the aboriginals across the land bridges and shallow seas that existed between Australia and Indonesia before the melting of the glaciers toward the end of the last ice age. The particularly savage canine who stole the naldawata had been sung into being by the elders at Docker River, 150 miles farther west in the mountains now called the Petermanns, and sent into the camp at Uluru to punish the Mala group for refusing to supply eagle feathers to their Docker River cousins. The devil dingo put the Mala, and their guests from the southwest side of Uluru, the Carpet Snake people, to flight. There are enormous writhe marks and paw-shaped caves at the base of Uluru that represent the escape route of the Hare Wallaby and Carpet Snake people, their panic quite legible in the rock.

    THE MALA CEREMONIAL group are still aware of that devil dingo, which they believe dwells somewhere on the crest of Uluru. Now, as in the Dreamtime, the Mala people perform their initia tion ceremony without a naldawata, and the Docker River people avoid the use of eagle feathers in their initiations, wearing ashes instead.

    It is claimed by some anthropologists that the Olgas, 22 miles to the west of the Rock, are of even more powerful mythic significance than Uluru. These strange mountains are delightful to visit and wander among. They are mysterious yet homely. Seen from a distance they resemble gigantic potatoes spread on a kitchen draining board - an image reinforced by their aboriginal name, Katatjuta (many heads).

    Neither Uluru nor the Olgas rival the great art sites at Obiri and Nourlangie Rock in the Top End of the Northern Territory, where there has always been a greater range of ochers and dyes, and where the artists, living in an area of tropical abundance, would have had more time to engage in the sympathetic magic of depicting the animals and spirits that inhabited their region. In the Center, families and clans lived not on tens of square miles replete with fish and game but on thousands of miles of desert, having to travel farther to achieve the same standard of life. Nonetheless the Olgas do abound with petroglyphs and paintings and arrangements of stone meant to be visible mnemonics of ritual and ancestral activities. The aboriginals of Uluru believe that some of the paintings in the Olgas are not the work of human beings, so it would seem that they were painted at some prodigious reach of history by the first wave of aboriginal immigrants passing southeast across the continent. And Uluru itself has the force of a massive, dazzling work of art, full of powerful symbols to which even the visitor can gain some access.

    UNTIL THE PAST year, accommodations near the Rock were provided by primitive motels, each fringing a dining room and a bar. The visitor could chat with truck drivers carrying supplies of beer, fuel oil or toilet paper westward over dry riverbeds to remote aboriginal settlements or to the grandly isolated Giles weather station in Western Australia. You might also find off-duty Northern Territory police and hear from them barely heightened stories of aboriginal law (which coexists with European law), tales of ritual punishment or the tragedies of those reckless travelers who perished of thirst on the edge of the Gibson Desert or on the cruel and graphically named Sandy Blight track.

    The old motels are now abandoned and there is a new resort complex about 13 miles west of the Rock, designed to serve the increasing number of visitors to Uluru. Although the resort is modern in design, its galvanized iron roofs, curved verandas and prominent rainwater tanks are reminiscent of early outback buildings. Last October, less than a year after their completion, the resort's two hotels were nearly filled to capacity during the ceremony marking the Australian Government's transfer of freehold title to the Rock to elders of the Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara tribes who live in the Mutitjulu camp.

    IN RETURN FOR THE TITLE transfer, the Mutitjulu people leased the Rock back to the Australian Government for 99 years to operate as a national park run by a management committee consisting of tribal elders and white officials. A light plane from Alice Springs buzzed over the ceremony with a streamer that declared 'ɺyers Rock for All Australians!'' - expressing the fear of some Australians that the aboriginal owners would attempt to restrict tourist access to certain sacred sites in Uluru and in the Olgas.

    As sacred as the Rock is to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankutjatjara, white Australians also approach it in a spirit akin to that of pilgrimage. It was well into this century before Australian education and culture ceased to look to the northern hemisphere for its models. Those of us who were told in Australian classrooms that a Dead Heart lay at the core of our continent have come to value Uluru as a living, central presence.

    FOR THE ROCK AND THE desert are not nullities. They have astonishing beauty and subtle habits, the desert seeming to overflow with an Old Testament plenty, the Rock shedding its skin evenly, through the process called spalling, like a live serpent. And, it becomes apparent, this environment has permitted the aboriginals a more than adequate life for some tens of thousands of years. All the aboriginal names for sections of the Rock refer to organic life, not to death. For example, it is at the point called Webo, or tail, the place where the Kangaroo Rat Hero let his tail slope away to ground level, that the traveler begins his ascent of the Rock.

    It is obvious that white Australians approach Webo and Uluru itself affirmatively and, for such a casual race, with something like reverence. But what influence will the new tides of visitors, Australian and foreign, have on the Rock and its area, on its sacred sites, both so potent in magic and so vulnerable to intrusion. Do you deal with the problem by fencing a site, as in the case of the Mala cave on Uluru's southwest face? Or do you eschew fences and depend on the outsiders' ignorance of what the most important sites are, on the general if vague good will of the visitor? There is no doubt that the elders at Mutitjulu are aware of the delicacy of the balance between the tourist's hunger for the grand and aesthetic on one side and, on the other, the essential rites upon which, in the tribal view, the health of the cosmos depends. How will the Dreaming of Uluru stand up to all the traffic?

    The visitor is nonetheless made welcome, not only to the physical dimension of the Rock, but to its mystery as well. Like an uninitiated Pitjantjatjara child of, say, 5 years, we can be given basic instruction in the countless items of fabulous and ritual advice that mark Uluru and the Olgas, making a visit there something akin to a visit to another earth, the aboriginal planet. That is why Uluru is precious to me, an Australian who once thought Australia had a short history. It stands as an encyclopedic source of another history, the history of an era enormously remote and enormously immediate. The Dreamtime. AROUND THE ROCK The best time to visit Ayers Rock is during the Australian winter (May to September), when the rains have transformed even the desert into a colorful garden of wildflowers. The nights can be cold, but the days are consistently sunny and clear, with temperatures in the 60's and 70's during midwinter and in the 80's at the beginning and end of the season. The remainder of the year can be brutally hot, with temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Although most hotels are air-conditioned, many tours do not operate during the hot months.

    For general information, write to the Northern Territory Tourist Commission, 3550 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1610, Los Angeles, Calif. 90010 (telephone: 213-383-7092 or 800-468-8222). All the listed tours and many of the hotels can be booked through the Northern Territory Government Tourist Bureau at 51 Todd Street, Alice Springs, Northern Territory 5750 (telephone: 521299).

    Bus tours. There are more than a dozen tour organizations, most of them based in Alice Springs, that conduct one- to three-day excursions to Ayers Rock and the surrounding area. Prices for a two-day coach tour with accommodations at the Sheraton or Four Seasons in Yulara range from about $100 (Worana Tours) to about $135 (Ansett Trailways) one-way coach tours with hotel accommodation and a return flight to Alice range from about $150 (Greyhound) to about $212 (CATA Tours). CATA (Central Australian Tourist Association 800-821-9513) also offers a half-day Dreamtime Tour featuring instruction in aboriginal customs, laws and tribal structures for about $35.

    Camping trips. A.A.T. King's Adventure Tours (800-626-6665) specializes in four-wheel-drive Outback expeditions with camping equipment and most meals provided. A 9-day camping safari between Alice and the Rock costs about $550 a 15-day expedition from the Top End to the Center is about $1,000. Coach/ camping tours between Sydney or Melbourne and the Center (16 days, about $650 30 days, about $1,250) and custom-designed itineraries are also available.

    Two-day camping tours, including a day to explore the Rock and the Olgas, are offered by Arura Safari Tours (with dormitory accommodation at Yulara, about $50) and by Mulga Tours (including camping equipment and some meals, about $50).

    Breakaway Safari Tours operates a five-day tour off the beaten track, with visits to Ayers Rock and King's Canyon, with its eroded red rock formations, for about $250, meals and equipment included.

    Air excursions. Rebel Air, which flies DC-3's and Heron planes from Sydney to the Northern Territory, offers an eight-day tour to Ayers Rock with several stopovers, returning via New South Wales. This years's ''Outback Explorer,'' as the air expedition is called, will take place on May 3, Aug. 23 and 31 and Sept. 13 and will cost about $1,500.

    Balloon Safaris offers a five-day tour of the Center, with two days at the Rock, for about $400 four balloon flights, accommodations, touring and most meals included.

    A C C O M M O D A T I O N S Yulara is a self-contained tourist complex about 15 miles from Uluru National Park. Facilities include a supermarket, shopping mall, visitors' center, campgrounds, cabins and two hotels, the Sheraton and the Four Seasons. Accommodation at the Sheraton (800-325-3535) costs about $100 for a double room with a balcony and view of the Rock. Double rooms at the Four Seasons (800-445-5505), with views of the Olgas or the Rock, are about $75. Daily tours of Ayers Rock ($5 to $15) and scenic flights over the area ($25 to $75) are also available at Yulara.

    Alice Springs is about a four-hour drive from the Rock and has more than 20 hotels and motels. The price of a double room at the Alice Springs Sheraton (800-325-3535) is between $80 and $85 for a room with a mountain view, and a suite at the Diamond Springs Casino and Country Club (525066) is about $110. But comfortable double rooms at most of the establishments cost between $30 and $40. Between Alice and the Rock lodging can be found at the Desert Oaks Resort Center (560984) for about $40 for a double at the Wallara Ranch Motel and Camping Ground, near King's Canyon (562901) for $45 and the Curtin Springs Roadside Inn (562934) for $30.

    The area around Ulu r u was settled thousands of years ago, and although it was ‘discovered’ by the white man in the 1800s, Ulu r u and Aboriginal culture are very much entwined today. In fact, Ulu r u (Ayers Rock) is sacred to the local Pitjantjatjara tribe that live here. It was said to have come about during the much fabled Dreamtime.

    Although people have been visiting and climbing Ulu r u for years, the Aborigines would prefer they didn’t. Aboriginal ancestors walked the path that tourists do today, and many of the caves around the rock hold deep meanings for them and contain ancient rock paintings. Ulu r u is a World Heritage site, and although part of a protected national park, there may come a time when it could be off-limits to climbers.

    Why is Uluru sacred?

    Aboriginal culture dictates that Ulu r u was formed by ancestral beings during Dreamtime. The rock’s many caves and fissures are thought to be evidence of this, and some of the forms around Ulu r u are said to represent ancestral spirits. Rituals are still often held today in the caves around the base where ‘No Photography’ signs are posted out of respect.

    To learn more about Ulu r u and Aboriginal culture onsite, the Ulu r u-Kata Tju t a Aboriginal Cultural Centre is the place to visit. It lies just south of Ulu r u in an intriguing building. The Anangu people here tell visitors stories about their ancestors and the rock in general. There are also arts and crafts available for purchase in the souvenir shop.

    Visitors can also do Anangu Tours with Aboriginal guides in order to gain more insight into Aboriginal culture and Ulu r u. These encompass the Liru Walk, and tourists get to learn about the Blue Tongue Lizard Man while learning traditional bush skills.

    Ulu r u is probably Australia’s best-known natural landmark. The ancient monolith is pretty impressive close up and boasts intriguing statistics. Here are some facts on Ulu r u:

    • Fact: Ulu r u is better known as Ayers Rock it named by William Gosse in 1873 after Sir Henry Ayers. Ulu r u is the Aboriginal and official name.
    • Fact: The rock was created over some 600 million years, and the Aborigines have been in the area for the last 10,000 years. It originally sat at the bottom of a sea, but today stands 348m above ground. One of the most startling Ulu r ufacts however, is that some 2.5kms of its bulk is underground.
    • Fact: Ulu r u lies west of the Simpson Desert, not far from the ‘Red Centre’ of Australia, about 335kms southwest of Alice Springs (as the crow flies) and 463kms by road. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t the biggest monolith in the world Mount Augustus in Western Australia holds that title

    More Uluru Facts

    • Fact: Other Uluru Facts: the rock is about 3.6kms long and 1.9kms wide, with a circumference of 9.4kms. The climb to the top is 1.6kms, much of which is at a steep angle, while the summit is generally flat. The surface is made up of valleys, ridges, caves and weird shapes that were created through erosion over millions of years. Surface oxidation of its iron content gives the would-be grey Ulu r u a striking orange-red hue.
    • Fact: The nearby Kata Tju t a (or Olgas) are said to originate from a similar time. They are thought to have originally been one massive monolith, as opposed to the 36 separate domes they are today – one of the lesser known Ulu r u facts. They are a part of Ulu r u-Kata Tju t a National Park, which was founded in 1950 as ‘Ayers Rock-Mount Olga National Park’, changing to its current title in 1995. The Aboriginals own the land, although the Australian government currently holds a 99-year lease.

    How big is Ulu r u?

    • is 348 metres (1141 feet) high
    • rises 863 metres (2,831 ft) above sea level
    • is 3.6 km long (2.2 miles)
    • is 1.9 km wide (1.2 miles)
    • is 9.4 km or 5.8 miles around the base
    • covers 3.33 km 2 (1.29 miles 2 )
    • extends about several km/miles into the ground (no-one knows exactly how far)

    How long does it take to walk around Uluru?

    The Uluru Base Walk is a 10km walk on a flat marked dirt path, and can be completed in around 3.5 hours. Read more about the various walks around Uluru.

    This is perhaps Australia’s most famous icon. It is a giant stone monolith located right at the centre of Australia, also referred to as the heart of Australia.

    The rock, which also goes by the name Ayers, holds a valuable place among the indigenous people. They consider the rock to be sacred.

    Uluru rock and the Kata Tjuta are part of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The park has several attractions such as caves, springs, waterholes and painting in caves.

    This area is a UNESCO Heritage Site as sacred and historical grounds. The Pitjantjatjara people consider this to be sacred ground.

    As one of the most important indigenous sites in Australia, there are amazing facts about this place. Here are the top 10.

    1. It has two names- Uluru/Ayers Rock

    The local Anangu people, call this iconic landmark Uluṟu. It has no particular meaning but is used as a local family name by the senior Traditional owners of Uluru.

    Its other name is Ayers Rock. This name was given by William Gosse who first saw the mountain in 1837. He was a surveyor and he named the mountain Ayers Rock to honour Sir Henry Ayers.

    The two names were adopted in 1993 allowing both an English name and a traditional Aboriginal name. It is known as Uluru/Ayers Rock.

    Most Australians call the mountain Uluru.

    2. Uluru is also a dual heritage site

    By User: Mark Andrews – Wikimedia

    Uluru has two UNESCO listings. The first one was declared in 1987 as a natural World Heritage Site in recognition of its unique geology.

    Its second listing was declared in 1994 as a cultural site due to the meaning it has for local Indigenous Australians.

    This mountain is one of the few in the world that has a dual listing.

    The Park in which the mountain is located was declared as an aboriginal reserve. The people had no contact with European settlers.

    3. It is a sacred rock, disrespecting this belief leads to death

    By Don Hancock – Wikimedia

    The Aborigines of Central Australia believe that Uluru a sacred ground. Their ancestors had conducted several prayers on the site for many years.

    This is not a myth but it is believed that those who defy this culture drop dead. About 38 climbers have lost their lives attempting to climb the rock.

    4. Uluru is an Inselberg

    Photo by Henrique Félix on Unsplash

    The Uluru/Ayers Rock is an Inselberg. This means that it is an island mountain that was left after the surrounding area got eroded by rainfall and ground running water.

    Uluru stands at about 348 meters above sea level. It is 28 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower. There are no joints or part at the base of the mountain.

    It is one huge rock that geologists have termed the mutitjulu Arkose. It is one of many sedimentary formations in the Amadeus Basin.

    5. The rock was originally made of sand

    Uluru/Ayers was originally sand that got deposited as part of an extensive sedimentary fan that extended from the ancestors of the Musgrave.

    It is part of the Mann and Petermann Ranges. They are separate from the Kata Tjuta.

    Uluru has a similar mineral composition as the Mutitjulu Arkose. The ranger was previously larger but it got eroded.

    6. Uluru is under the ownership of the Pitjantjatjara people

    By Don Hancock – Wikimedia

    Before 1985, Uluru was owned by the Australian government. They returned the ownership to the local Pitjantjatjara people.

    They signed an agreement that the Anangu people would return the ownership to the Australian government after 99 years.

    Part of the agreement was to stop tourists from climbing the rock. This agreement was however violated.

    About 300 aboriginal people are living near Uluru. The Uluru viewing area was opened to the public in 2009.

    7. Two royals climbed the rock in the 80s

    Prince Charles and Princess Diana, climbed Uluru when they visited in 1983. Although the aboriginal people asked that climbing be prohibited, the two royals climbed it.

    Lives have been lost climbing the rock.

    8. Its real colour is grey, not orange

    Photo by Patrick McGregor on Unsplash

    One glance at Uluru/Ayers Rock and it looks burnt orange. The rock is made up of arkose sandstone.

    The natural colour of the rock is grey. This colour difference is due to iron oxidation on the surface.

    Its colour also varies during the day depending on when you see it.

    9. Uluru has one of the best sites for sunset views

    For the best sunset views in central Australia, Uluru is the best place to be. It was voted as one of the best places to view the sunset in Australia.

    The red colour of the rock is caused by the angle of the sun, minerals in the rock and the reflection of the soil.

    Both sunrise and sunset at Uluru are magical.

    10. It is home to several animals and plants

    By Thomas Schoch – Wikimedia

    Uluru/Ayers rock hosts over 400 plants species. Most of these plants are used by the Anangu people for medicine and food.

    There are more than 27 animal species in the area such as dingoes, red kangaroo and spinifex mouse.


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    Ten Historical Facts – Australia’s Ayers Rock Heritage Site

    Australia, consist of a comprehensive historical background representing a struggle to reach independency but also a series of indigenous sacred sites. The country offers a diversity of recognised heritage landmarks and secured its place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These world known sites include a range of historical buildings, national parks and indigenous sacred areas embedded in symbolic values. Some popular places appreciated by visitors all over the world include the following:

    • Ayers Rock, Uluru-Kata Tajata National Park, North Australia
    • Fraser Island, Queensland
    • Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton
    • Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
    • Kakadu National Park, Jabiru, North Australia
    • Blue Mountains, North-South Wales
    • Port Arthur, Tasmania
    • Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth
    • Sydney Opera House, Sydney
    • Bungle Bungles, West Australia

    Among these interesting and highly visited historical heritages, Ayers Rock holds a significant historic value that represents the culture of Australia which majorly derived from Australian aboriginal culture and civilization. The article aims to list some historical realities and interesting facts about this world-famous heritage site.

    1. The Saga of Naming

    The official and primary historic name of Ayers Rock is Uluru. This name dates back to the aboriginal period and reflects the past earth before there existed any civilization when the world was bland and amorphous. The Australian tribes of Anangu who inhabited this North Australian land of Uluru for over 30,000 years maintained and managed these ancestral lands for years and also named this rock as Uluru.

    In the 1870s, the Europeans visited and came across this land. On July 19 th, 1873, a European explorer William Goose sighted this monolith and named it after Sir Henry Ayers who was a South Australia Chief Secretary during the time. Now, it holds the status of a dual-named geographical heritage site of the world.

    2. The Rock Architecture

    This gigantic rock stands as an epitome of colossal natural architectures. The calculated figures of the height, width, range, and perimeter of the rock are,

    • 1142 feet (348 meters) high on land
    • 2831 feet (863 meters) above the sea level
    • 2.2 miles (3.6 km) in length
    • 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in width
    • 5.8 miles (9.4 km) in circumference

    We know the rock to be formed under the ocean. After many years it evolved on land as a hardened land iceberg, which is several hundreds of miles deep under the ground. It takes about 4 hours to complete a walk around the Uluru. The rock is an ovoid monolith poised of sandstone, mostly feldspar having various shapes, ridges, caves, and valleys on its surface.

    3. The Natural Beauty of Uluru

    One of the most amazing, interesting, and capturing facts of Uluru remains its natural beauty. The soil of Ayers rock presents a massive iron and mineral content that gives the rock a reddish appearance. Besides, it became noticed that the changing positions of the sun are also responsible for the beautiful picture of the rock giving it an orange-red tint.

    The fiery facade visible during sunsets became known as one of the most beautiful views among the world. It was even voted as one of the top 10 best sunsets of Australia.

    4. The Sacred Status of Uluru

    Ayers Rock is an ancient world-famous heritage and believed to be around 600 years old. This rock is a symbol of an ancient civilization and Australian aboriginal culture. It also holds a sacred status among some aboriginal tribes. The Anangu tribes, the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people consider the Uluru as a sacred figure. The indigenous people observe a tradition known as Tjukurpa and signify the religious importance of the Uluru. They even consider themselves as the descendants and protectors of this spirited land. Whether it be a modern Anangu man or a 600-year-old Anangu man, the religious respect of this rock remains the same for him.

    5. The Ancient, Historic and Sacred places in Uluru

    Ayers Rock reflects and holds a sacred position in Australian aboriginal culture. Many reasons exist why the indigenous people highlight Ayers Rock as one of their most sacred sites. Diverse characterisations embrace the meaning of the Uluru sacred heritage site inclusive of:

    • Mutitajulu Waterhole – an ancient water spring to the south side of Uluru, feeding the flora and fauna of the region.
    • Tjukatjapi, Mala Puta, and Pulari – a sacred place of Anangu women.
    • Mutitjulu Cave – this cave has most paintings and carvings that reflect the Dreamtime stories of the aboriginal tribes. Also, this place was used to distribute food among the tribe.
    • Kuniya Piti and Warayuki – a sacred site for Anangu men.
    • Kantju Gorge – also an ancient waterfall between Warayuki and Mala Puta.

    6. The Ancient Uluru Arts and Crafts

    The arts and crafts associated with Ayers Rock reflect the culture and mode of life in the Anangu tribe. The expression of their culture, civilization, traditions and religious beliefs one finds in their unique skills. The rock art found in the caves and valleys of Ayers Rock shows signs of an ancient civilization.

    The many paintings, oral history and symbols researchers believe present the creativity of the Anangu tribe. They used diverse material for example clays, soil, ochre, white-ash, charcoal, and desert oak to produce their arts and crafts.

    The photography of this craftwork without a permit in the rocks of Uluru is prohibited as it holds a sacred rank to some people.

    7. Ayers Rock Climate

    Ayers Rock occurs in a semi-desert area and experiences mostly hot and dry weather for much of the year. The temperature degrees vary slightly between day and night.

    Summer occurs between October to February, while winters happen from May to July. In summers, the temperature often rises to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). In winter, the temperature falls to freezing points at night and the average lowest temperatures recorded are 40.5 degrees Fahrenheit (4.7 degrees Celsius). The average rainfall recorded is 284.6 mm annually.

    8. The Flora, and Fauna inhabiting the land of Uluru

    The harsh climate of the semi-deserted region of Ayers rock still supports the survival of a variety of living species. Over 400 species of plants are present and some important abundant ones are,

    • Mulga trees
    • Desert oaks and poplars
    • Various Categories of eucalyptus
    • Grevillea shrubs and other wildflowers

    The fauna constituting the life in Ayers Rock include,

    • Red kangaroos
    • Reptiles including lizards, poisonous snakes, and skinks
    • Small rodents and marsupials
    • Thorny Devil (the indigenous moloch)
    • Falcons and honeyeaters
    • Various species of Parakeet.

    All these vegetations and wild animal species reflect the beauty of life in Ayers Rock.

    9. The Surroundings of Ayers Rock

    The southwestern Northern Territory of Australia surrounds the popular world heritage site Ayers Rock. The surroundings itself offer a range of magical environmental landscapes, for example:

    • Alice Springs an area of about 100,000 square miles in central Australia comprising small deserts and semi-deserted areas.
    • Kata Tjuta- or Olgas are the 36 domes of rocky build located 360 km southwest to Alice Springs.
    • Yulara a community having a small airport where many Ayers Rock visitors overnight. An access road connects the Ayers Rock to the domes of Kata Tjuta.

    10. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

    In the 1950s, they transformed the Ayers Rock into a national park. In 1957, Bill Harney, who worked for the government and became known as the protector of the Aboriginals, visited the site. In 1958 they combined the Olgas and Uluru formation sites to create the Ayers Rock National Park.

    Many motels opened their doors between 1959-1976 at Ayers Rock and they established an airport at Yulara. Soon, many small hotels, restaurants, hostels, and other tourist facilitations developed and offered overnight stays. The ownership of the land still belongs to the aboriginals, but the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service received a 99-year lease to manage the environment.

    In 1987 and 1994, UNESCO recognised it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site focused on its natural and cultural significance.


    The Australian government allocated thousands of dollars over the maintenance and care of the Uluru-Ayers Rock world-famous heritage site. The entry fees to visit the park is $25 for adults whereas for children it is free.

    Thousands of tourists from all over the world visit annually to explore the natural rock features and interesting historical heritage of Australia. It remains one of the top 10 best sunsets of Australia and the opportunity to experience the Australian aboriginal culture and tradition.

    Watch the video: The Mystery of Ayers Rock