Uluru: The Indigenous History of Australia's Most Famous Natural Landmark

Australia is famous for a lot of things. It is known for being the only country that’s also a continent, the sole habitat of kangaroos, the location of the world-renowned Sydney Opera House, and even the homeland of Aussie stars such as Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, and Hugh Jackman! But if there is a natural landmark that it is known for, then that’s arguably the humongous red-orange monolith, Uluru.

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a famous attraction that sits in the southern part of the Northern Territory, Central Australia. The area has been constantly flocked by tourists both domestic and international, as people can’t wait to marvel at its beauty. As such, establishments have sprung within its vicinity and plenty of tours are done almost every day.

But what makes it so popular, you ask? Let’s find out together!

What is Uluru?

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Uluru is the official and Aboriginal name of this gorgeous natural structure. It was only in 1873 that it got its other name, Ayers Rock, after William Gosse discovered this monumental natural scenery and named it after Sir Henry Ayers.

But that’s not the impressive part about Uluru. You see, it is believed that the rock has been in existence for over 600 million years! Not only that, it originally sat at the bottom of the ocean and is currently at 348 metres above the ground. As if that’s not enough interesting fact, the bulk of Uluru is still underground.

One of the most striking features of the Uluru is its red-range color. It gets this unique tinge from the iron content in the area, and because of surface oxidation it gets its signature hue. It may not be the biggest monolith in the world, but it is definitely one of the largest, not to mention it has an impressive history to boot.

History of Ayers Rock

Uluru has a rather colorful lore behind it, which just adds to its mystical appeal. According to the Aborigines who were believed to have inhabited the area around 20,000 or more years ago, Uluru and the nearby Kata Tjuta were witnesses to the creation period. Our ancestors appeared from the void along with the landscapes, whereas the Anangu are direct descendants of those first beings who are tasked to protect these lands

When the Europeans first ventured in the area, it was characterized by a harsh, unwelcoming terrain. Not a lot were able to complete the exploration due to the lack of water, but it was definitely worth everything upon discovery of this magnificent monolith, which we now know as part of the Ayers Rock National Park.

Things to do at Uluru

Apart from the rich history and lore of this gigantic monolith, there is plenty to do in Uluru. Here are some activities that you can enjoy when you visit the area:

  • See How the Light Strikes it
    • The exciting thing about watching this landscape is how much the colors can make subtle but awe-inspiring changes depending on the time of the day. There are ideal viewing decks either at dusk or dawn, and it certainly is snap-worthy.
  • Learn More About the History
    • We only scratched the surface of Uluru’s past, but visit the Cultural Center and you’ll be filled to the brim with information. You’ll get to learn more about the Anangu and their connection to the country, as well as set your eyes on some impressive artworks.
  • Walk Around Uluru
    • Of course, you didn’t just go to Ayers Rock to snap photos, right? Dive right into the experience by taking a 10.6 kilometer hike around the vicinity and see how the landscape changes, along with the flora and fauna around it.
  • Visit the Mutitijulu Waterhole
    • Here’s an area worth seeing when you visit. During the rainy season, cascading waterfalls will greet you as you enter, while in the warmer times you can expect to hear whistling noises of the wind.

There are still a lot more to do there, but at least let those sink in first.

How to Get There

There are many ways to reach Uluru, and there are advantages and disadvantages to them as well.

  • By Plane
    • It’s a quick route going to Ayers Rock, so if you can’t wait to get there, then this is the best way for you.
    • You might end up spending more via this route, since you’ll pay for airfare and other land traveling expenses when you arrive there, so keep that in mind.
  • By Land
    • Arguably the best option to travel, it gives you the scenic view of the Australian outback, not to mention the roads are great.
    • You will need to allocate two extra travel days when you decide to journey by land, since Uluru is quite remote.

Whichever path you choose, make sure to spend more than one day in the site itself! You don’t want to miss the many things you can do at Ayers Rock.

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