Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Rising from the desert in the Northern Territory, the red sandstone monolith of Uluru (Ayers Rock) has been a place of great spiritual importance to the Anangu Aboriginal people for thousands of years. Be awed by the sight of the rock changing colours at sunset, its deep crevices turning from bright orange to an intense purple hue.
The best way to experience Uluru and get an insight into its cultural importance is with an indigenous guide. The Anangu people believe Uluru was one of the very first features created by the 10 spirit ancestors of the Aboriginal people as they traversed the land.
Learn about Uluru’s spiritual value, hear Dreamtime creation stories and discover the cultural traditions and food-gathering practices of the Anangu people on a guided walking tour. Learn dot painting from local indigenous artists in the nearby town of Yulara.
Take a sunrise trek around the base of the rock on the 10-kilometre (6-mile) trail through ghost gums and spinifex grass. This is the best time to spot the abundant birdlife, from honeyeaters and cockatoos to blue fairy wrens and little finches.
Pack your camera for sunset photography of the 350-metre (1,150-foot) high monolith and enjoy dinner, drinks and storytelling beneath the stars on one of the many evening tours on offer.
You can also take a scenic helicopter flight over the rock to see the incredible vastness of the Red Heart of Australia or brave the sights in freefall on a tandem skydive jump.
While Uluru can be climbed, the Aboriginal owners ask that you do not as this is a sacred site. Always pack plenty of water, sunscreen and food on outings to the rock. Visit between the dry months of April and May when the temperatures are cooler.
Uluru is located within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, about 5-hours’ drive from Alice Springs. Hotels and dining options can be found in Yulara.