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You’ve seen the pictures but nothing can truly prepare you for the majesty and scale of Uluru (Ayers Rock). Sometimes iconic landmarks can be a little disappointing, smaller than imagined or less impressive. But not this. Rising up out of the red earth like a mysterious monolith, it is also a place of deep spiritual and religious significance, which you can feel in the atmosphere all around you. With lots of walking and cycling trails, you can also discover Kata Tjuta, formerly the Olgas, another impressive geological formation. The whole park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of Australia’s famous Red Centre.
Uluru - The rock itself, rising out of the ground as if from nowhere. It’s an important religious site for the Anangu people who own and manage the land, and climbing it is politely discouraged.
Kata Tjuta - Close to Uluru and home to the unique rocky domes also known as the Olgas. It’s another sacred site with much of it off limits to the public, so remember to be respectful.
Yulara - The closest village to both Uluru and Kata Tjuta, with a petrol station, supermarket and restaurant.
Alice Springs - Although the town is actually a five or six hour drive away, its relative proximity makes this a gateway to Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.
Take a guided tour of Uluru where you can climb to the best viewpoints on the neighbouring dunes and watch the sunset over Kata Tjuta. Follow the walking track around the base or visit the cultural centre, which was built in 1995 to mark the handing back of the land to its traditional owners. The Kata Tjuta formations are equally as impressive, with more dunes from which to view the site. It’s also worth seeing the Kantju Gorge and Mutitjulu Waterhole to the southern side of Uluru.
There are a number of walking trails in the area, including the Mala Walk and Liru walk, which offer different perspectives in Uluru. Visit the ancient rock shelters and waterholes. At Kata Tjuta, the Walpa Gorge Walk and Valley of the Winds Walk are not to be missed, with big looping trails taking you around the best view points. Or if you’d like to see the whole park from a much loftier position, take a helicopter ride which can be booked in Yulara. You might even be able to get as far as Kings Canyon. Or, if you’d like a more natural experience, climb on board the ‘ship of the desert’ and enjoy a sunrise to sunset camel trekking adventure. It’s a great way to experience Uluru in all its glory.