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Uluru | © Joanna Penn / Flickr
Uluru | © Joanna Penn / Flickr
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A Brief Guide To Uluru, NT

Picture of Ellie Griffiths
Updated: 4 August 2016
Located within the dual World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, lies an ancient landscape at the heart of Australia. Iconically known as Uluru, people from across Australia and the world travel to discover the spiritual centre of this country.

History of Uluru

Originally lying at the bottom of the sea, the large sandstone monolith known as Uluru is believed to have been created by ten ancestors – or spirit people – of the Aboriginal people over some 600 million years ago. Today standing at 348m above ground, the creation of this rock lies at the beginning of the local Anagu people’s history.

Holding great natural power, throughout hundreds of generations the local indigenous tribes have recorded their stories through paintings on the rock’s many faces. According to Uluru Dreamtime:

‘… the world was a featureless place until the ancestors of the Anangu emerged and travelled across the land, creating the features like Uluru that we see today. Ayers Rock represents the physical evidence of their time on the earth and is seen as one of their most dramatic and inspiring creations.’

The Anangu believe they can communicate with their ancestors through touching the rock. It is in this belief that Uluru remains sacred to many tribes within the region.

Although previously known as Ayers Rock, a name given to the sacred site in 1879 by the explorer William Gosse, the land was returned to the original custodians in 1985 and the traditional name of Uluru is now used.

Uluru Cultural Centre | © Marcus Bichel Lindegaard / Flickr
Uluru Cultural Centre | © Marcus Bichel Lindegaard / Flickr

What To See & Do Within The National Park

Make your way into the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park for a magical journey through Australia’s ancient landscape. Begin your day at the main viewing area of Talinguru Nyakunytjaku watching the sun rise over the glorious red rock, bringing the park to life. From here, head down for one of the bush walks on offer in the area, but ensure you make time for the guided Mala Walk as you venture around the base of Uluru, discovering the unique paintings and stories of the Aboriginal ancestors.

After exploring the base of Uluru relax at the Cultural Centre where you will be introduced to Tjukurpa, ‘the traditional law that guides the Anangu daily life’. Whether you visit the art galleries supporting the local artists, or attend an Inma (ceremony) that tell the stories of their ancestors through song and dance, there are plenty of things to discover at the centre.

Explore the 36 steep-sided domes of Kata Tjuta with one of the many walks, discovering the dunes within the area. Take one of the walks to the Mutitjulu Waterhole, but also make time to walk through the Valley of the Winds for breathtaking views like no other in the world. Whether you stay to watch the sunset over the Kata Tjuta dunes, or return to Talinguru Nyakunytjaku to watch the colours of the sky light up Uluru – and Kata Tjuta from a distance – the sky is the limit; however, during your time within the park please be respectful of the cultural traditions and do not climb Uluru.

Hiking near Kata Tjuta | © nosha / Flickr
Hiking near Kata Tjuta | © nosha / Flickr

What To See & Do Outside The National Park

Outside the national park within proximity of the Ayers Rock Resort lies an array of activities for you to take part in that will encourage you to connect with the area.

Discover the many stories and symbolism of dreamtime in the artwork by the western desert Indigenous communities. At Maruku Arts’ Dot Painting Workshop you will also be encouraged to create your own dot painting, taking into consideration the techniques used by the local artists. Also on site at the resort you will be introduced to traditional bush tucker (dependent on season) and Putitja dancers who tell the stories of their ancestors.

If you’re here for more than one sunrise, join one of the camel tours that will introduce you to the flora and fauna of the area. Not only will the cameleer take you on a journey through the desert but they will ensure you enjoy freshly baked beer bread damper with the local quandong jam after your journey.

Alternatively, if you’d rather take it to the sky there are plenty of scenic flights and skydiving opportunities for you to grasp your hands on and explore the ancient landscape in a new light.

Aboriginal dot painting | © esther1721 / Pixabay
Aboriginal dot painting | © esther1721 / Pixabay

Where To Eat

Walpa Lobby Bar

After a journey through the park, the Walpa Lobby Bar provides you with a relaxed setting for lunch or dinner, or even a coffee and cake. Offering salads, sandwiches, pastas, seafood, burgers and more, this bar also offers a children’s menu for the little ones.

Tali Wiru

Meaning ‘beautiful dune’ in the language of the local Anangu people, brings fine dining to the Southern Desert. Beginning the experience around a fire pit in an intimate group of 20, you will relax over a glass of French champagne and canapés before making your way to the top of the dunes for a four-course dinner accompanied with Australian wine.

Sounds of Silence

For four memorable hours, you will be able to dine under the stars in the award-winning experience, Sounds of Silence. Departing just before sunset, you will embark on a romantic night, talking and stargazing whilst enjoying the local entertainment, canapés, bush tucker inspired buffet, dessert, and an assortment of drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

Where To Stay

Ayers Rock Campground

Located 15 kilometers from Uluru, within the Ayers Rock Resort, lies the Campground featuring 14 two-bedroom air-conditioned cabins and 220 non-powered tents. Catering to those on a budget and those wanting to experience living beside the cultural landscape of the national park.

Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge

Seeking comfortable, affordable hotel rooms with private bathroom, within close proximity to Uluru? The relaxed surroundings at the Outback Pioneer Hotel – also within the Ayers Rock Resort vicinity – provides quality services and facilities for self-catering, as well as services for a do-it-yourself BBQ in the outback.

Longitude 131

For unparalleled views of Uluru in a luxury tented resort, Longitude 131 has you covered. With each pavilion designed to accomodate the modern traveller in the tough outback, each room boasts floor to ceiling windows. Alternatively, Longitude 131 offer the option of sleeping under the stars in a ‘bespoke swag’.

Sunrise at Uluru | © Leo Li / Flickr
Sunrise at Uluru | © Leo Li / Flickr