Uluru – previously referred to as Ayers Rock – is undoubtedly the best known of Australia’s natural landmarks. To see the colour of the impressive rock change to the deepest of reds visit at sunset and take in the view from the sand dunes. For camping grounds, caravan parks and cabins near Uluru check out the following holiday parks in the uluru-Kata Tjuta area or read our Uluru guide below.
The giant red sandstone formation is in uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the south of the Northern Territory. The traditional owners of the land are the Pitjantjatjara people. Visitors are requested not to climb the ancient monolith but a visit to the world heritage-listed national park is a must-do for most making a trip to the Northern Territory. Read on to discover more about Uluru to help plan your visit.
Kata Tjuta, the Pitjantjatjara name meaning “many heads”, is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people, this area’s traditional owners who refer to themselves as Anangu.
Archaeological work suggests that Aboriginal people have lived in the area for at least 22,000 years. The uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and both landforms are listed in the 20 top geological wonders of the world. Kata Tjuta’s alternative name, the Olgas, comes from its tallest peak, Mount Olga, which rises 1066m above sea level (or 546m above the surrounding plain) and is 203m higher than Uluru. In 1872, the explorer Ernest Giles named Mount Olga after Queen Olga of Württemberg in order to honour the famous botanist, Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, who had been made a baron by the King of Württemberg. Kata Tjuta was returned to the care and ownership of the Anangu in 1985 and they now jointly manage the national park with Parks Australia.
There are many different ways you can see the breathtaking Uluru. Many tours operate in the area permitting you to take in the giant monolith by camel ride, helicopter and even motorcycle. When viewing the rock at different times of the day, you will notice dramatic changes in colour. Uluru is a deep ochre-brown colour in the afternoon however to see the colour of the impressive rock change to the deepest of reds visit at sunset and take in the view from the sand dunes.
The walks within Kata Tjuta National Park range from easy to moderate. Taking a walk within the national park is the best way to enjoy the natural beauty of this ancient land. Be sure to take plenty of water and wear the appropriate protective clothing as temperatures can reach dizzying heights. Walking in the early morning and at sunset is advised during the warmer months.
The Anangu people ask that visitors do not climb Uluru to respect the spiritual significance of the formation. However, there are plenty of walks around Uluru to help you get the most of your Red Rock holiday. The Uluru Base Walk is the longest trek which is between 8-14kms around the entire base of the rock. Walk clockwise and you will notice the crowds thin to leave only serious walkers or join a group to learn more about the history of the monolith. Another popular Uluru walk is the Liru Walk, which takes between 1.5 - 2 hours to complete and takes in some of the flora and fauna which inhabit the arid landscape. The walk route is from the Cultural Centre to the base of Uluru.
There are two walks within Kata Tjuta – the Valley of the Winds Walk and the Walpa Gorge Walk. The Valley of the Winds is a 7.4km return walk (three hours) that requires a reasonable level of fitness and takes you through several of the Olgas. If walk is closed, so get there early to avoid disappointment. It’s also best to walk early in the morning since there is very little shade along the trail.
There are several small, shaded water tank/rest stops along the trek, but bring water regardless. The Walpa Gorge Walk is an easy, 2.6km return walk (one hour). Walpa, meaning windy, serves as a refuge for plants and animals. The rocky trail gently rises along a wet gully, passing inconspicuous rare plants and ending at a grove of flourishing spearwood.
There are two viewing areas with access for wheelchairs. The Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing Area, 16km along the main road back to Uluru, provides access via ramps that wind up the dunes to a platform overlooking the domes. This is an especially popular location to watch the sun’s reflection on the rocks during sunrise. For sunsets, there’s a viewing area near the main parking lot that also provides wheelchair access.
The best time to visit Uluru is during July, August or September – temperatures can be dangerously hot in December and January. Check out the mean monthly temperature and mean monthly rainfall for Uluru here.
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