Uluru is up there with the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef as one of the most iconic of Australia’s landmarks. The gargantuan rock formation explodes out of a stark desert landscape, sticking out like a sore, red thumb. Although a spell-binding sight, the sandstone monolith we see is actually just the very tip of the iceberg and most of Uluru exists underground, stretching another 2.5 km below the earth’s surface!
Located at the heart of Australia, Uluru demands that visitors stray far from the palm fringed beaches and curling waves of the tourist trail to venture into the most isolated and distant reaches of the great outback. So remote is Uluru that even the drive from gateway town, Alice Springs, is greater than the distance from London to Paris. Seems like an awful long way to come for a selfie with a stone….
Not so! Here’s what makes the sacred site worthy of such a journey:
Watch the sun rise on Uluru
Ever hauled yourself out of bed in the pitch black, stumbled into the cold and stood with your back to a sunrise? Anywhere else on the planet this behaviour could be considered both bizarre and downright deranged. But not here…
Here, watching the first rays of sunlight slowly illuminate Uluru is a captivating performance that has all eyes glued front-and-centre as the sun rises unobserved. Witness the sandstone career across the colour spectrum, dancing from a nocturnal purple, to a flaming red before settling into its signature shade of rusty orange.
Walk around the base
Not many people realise that, although Uluru takes centre stage as the most famous landmark in Australia, it’s not actually even the biggest rock in the country: Mt Augustus in WA takes that prize. That said, at 348 metres high, 3.6 km long and 1.9 km wide it’s no pebble either.
The monolith is sacred to its aboriginal owners and so it is forbidden to climb Uluru (at long last woo!) but you can still get a sense of its scale by looping the base. The circuit is a 9.4 km slog through the dry, desert heat and so we recommend comfortable walking shoes and plenty of water.
Learn about Aboriginal culture and life
For many, Uluru isn’t just a rock: it’s a living, breathing, cultural landscape. The aboriginal people believe that every part of Uluru, down to each cave and fissure has profound spiritual significance and sacred ceremonies continue to be held around Uluru to this day.
Hear the creation stories that explain how Uluru was formed in Dreaming and admire the indigenous art that paints their history. The best way to do this is through engaging the services of an indigenous guide for your walk or by visiting the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park’s Cultural Centre at the base of Uluru.
Sounds of Silence Experience
It’s not often that ‘the bush’ and ‘elegant dining’ come hand-in-hand, but Sound of Silence manages to marry the two perfectly in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Over the course of this 4-hour feast you’ll have the opportunity to sip bubbles as the sun dips below Kata Tjuta, dine on exquisitely prepared Australian specialities and settle back for some stargazing. Deep in the Australian outback, Uluru’s nightscape is free from any artificial light pollution and which gives you an unrivalled view of the milky way. Both literally and figuratively, the Sound of Silence Experience is truly out-of-this-world!