One of the wonders of the world I have always wanted to see was Uluru. I imagined it to be mysterious and spiritual. It was that and more.
More than just a "big rock" and tourist attraction, Uluru is sacred to the world's oldest culture, the Anangu. They believe that the landscape was created at the beginning of time, the Tjukurpa or 'creation period,' by the travels of great ancestral beings. The spirits of the ancestral beings still reside in these sacred places. Traditional ceremonies and rites of passage have been held in this sacred area for thousands of years and are still practiced today.
"Discovered" by the Europeans in 1872-73, Uluru was named Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta was named Mount Olga. In subsequent years the area became an Aboriginal Reserve and later the Ayers Rock-Mount Olga National Park and was overseen by the Northern Territory Government. Finally, on October 26, 1985, the land was transferred back to its Anangu traditional owners in a ceremony at the base of Uluru. (Uluru)
Created over 600 million years ago
Stands 348m above ground and extends several km below ground
It's 3.6kms long and 1.9kms wide
The base is 9.4km, about a 3.5-hour walk
The surface is made up of ridges, caves, and valleys caused by millions of years of erosion
Its red color is the result of oxidation of iron-bearing minerals in the rock; rock that has not been in contact with the atmosphere is grey
Uluru changes color throughout the day. We were lucky to see it at sunrise, sunset, and during the day as we walked along the paths at the base.
The sun is just beginning to shine on Uluru and turn it deep red. In the distance is Kata Tjuta, where the sky is a soft pink and then turns pale yellow with the rising sun.
Kata Tjuta - Amazing how the sunrise sky turned from pink to yellow in just a few minutes.
Late afternoon and the sun begins its descent. I love the contrast between the reddish brown of Uluru and the gold of the grass.
After exploring the area, we gather and toast the end of another day and watch the setting sun.
The sun sets on a glorious day at Uluru. Breathtaking!
Wanyu Ulurunya tatintja wiyangku wantima
Please don't climb Uluru
For the Anangu, the climb is a sacred path that is only taken by a few Aboriginal men on special occasions. It is also very dangerous. Over 35 people have died attempting the climb (mainly from heart attacks) and many have been injured. Although it's legal, some people continue to climb despite the request of the Anangu.
NOTE: On Oct. 26, 2019, the 34th anniversary of the return of Uluru to the traditional owners, the climb will be banned.
The climbing path is 1.6km long and has a chain to hold on to for those that don't follow the advice not to climb. Shortly after we returned from the tour an older Asian man died while attempting the climb.
Anangu rock art can be seen in a number of the small cave areas at Uluru. The symbols used are thousands of years old and passed down through the generations. I can identify a few of the symbols and the more I look, the more I see. Anangu Art Fact Sheet
Sharon and her art of waterholes and rivers.
Three rocks and people sitting around two of them.
There were so many art pieces to chose from, but these two I bought.
Thanks, Uluru-Kata Tjuta for your beauty and energy. It was a wonderful experience to see you and walk at your feet.
Satellite images of Uluru and Kata Tjuta