Sitting right in the middle of Australia, Uluru is an iconic landmark recognised all throughout the world. Located about 5.5 hours’ drive from Alice Springs in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Uluru is a World Heritage Listed monolith that is sacred to the Anangu or Pitjantatjara people. While most people have seen dazzling photographs of the gigantic rock, visiting Uluru is a spectacular experience you’ll never forget.
If you’re interested in traveling through the red desert and camping at Uluru for a few of days, there’s a couple of things you should know before you get there. To give you some insight, today we’ll be providing you with 7 things you probably didn’t know about Uluru.
It’s (surprisingly) not the world’s biggest rock
Uluru is huge and it’s much larger than people expect, however it’s not the biggest rock in the world. Uluru stands at 348 metres above the surrounding plains and is 9.4 kilometres around, but the biggest rock in the world is Burringurra at Mount Augustus National Park which is roughly 2.5 times bigger. Don’t be disheartened though, you’ll be in awe at how incredibly large it is!
It’s located in a dual world heritage site
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park has two world heritage listing monoliths at Uluru and Kata Tjuta, also known as the ‘Olgas’. While Kata Tjuta is lesser known than its famous sibling, it’s actually more sacred than Uluru and comprises of 36 domes, some of which are off-limits. The National Park is one of only few places in the world to hold a rare dual-listing so they’re both definitely worth a visit!
Climbing Uluru will be banned shortly
In October 2019, climbing Uluru will be banned to coincide with the 34th anniversary of returning Uluru back to the Anangu people. At present, you can still climb the monolith however there’s signage saying you shouldn’t climb for safety reasons. While 36 people have died climbing Uluru since the 1950s, the main reason why you shouldn’t climb the rock is out of respect for the local people as the path crosses an important dream time track associated with Mala ceremonies.
Uluru is actually grey in colour
While Uluru appears to be burnt orange when you look at photos, the arkose sandstone which makes up the rock is naturally grey. The red sand surrounding the rock isn’t reflecting to make it appear red either, it’s actually caused by a high amount of surface iron oxidation. Depending on what time of day you visit the rock, it changes its colour from red, to salmon, to rust, and everything in between.
Uluru has waterholes
While you may think that a huge rock in the middle of the desert is a pretty dry place, Uluru actually has several waterholes around it. Naturally, some waterholes dry up during various times of the year, but Mutitjulu which is located on the eastern side almost always has water. Being only a short walk from the carpark, it’s a spectacular spot to relax and see plenty of Aboriginal rock art too.
If you’re an avid photographer then be aware that there are photo restrictions at Uluru related to the traditional Tjukurpa beliefs. Not all of Uluru has photo restrictions though, only certain areas associated with gender rituals are forbidden by the opposite gender. Unfortunately, the National Park doesn’t educate tourists much on the exact areas which can’t be photographed, but if they ask to see your photos then be prepared to delete some of them!
There are camel rides
If you didn’t think there were camels in Australia, think again! Camels have a long history in the outback simply because they don’t need as much water as horses and were ideal for transportation. They were originally imported in the mid-19th century and today there are over 1 million feral camels in the Australian outback. You can tour Uluru on a camel ride at sunset as you watch the colours change over Uluru which a majestic experience!
There’s no doubt that Uluru is one of the most magical places in Australia that is filled with history and culture. If you want the full experience, then a two day tour of Uluru and Kata Tjuta will give you plenty of time to bask in the beauty of these natural wonders.
For all your camping needs, speak with the professionals at TJM Australia. For more information or just some friendly advice, phone their staff today on 07 3865 9999.