Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Rising 1142 ft nearly vertical from the vast and remote Australian Outback, Uluru, aka Ayers Rock, is a living testament to the heart of the Aboriginal culture. Uluru is an inselberg, literally "island mountain", an isolated remnant left after the slow erosion of an original mountain range. It is often referred to as a monolith.

Uluru is one of Australia’s most recognizable natural icons, attracting more than 500,000 visitors per year. Stand in front of Ayers Rock, and you can see why. For many Outback travelers this is the most anticipated moment of their Australia vacation. With many springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings, Uluru is well worth the visit.

Uluru is notable for appearing to change color as the different light strikes it at different times of the day and year, with sunset a particularly remarkable sight when it briefly glows red. Although rainfall is uncommon in this semiarid area, during wet periods the rock acquires a silvery-grey color, with streaks of black algae forming on the areas that serve as channels for water flow. Uluru is naturally grey, but the iron content of the rock is "rusting" at the surface, resulting in the distinctive red iron oxide coating.

Archaeological findings to the east and west indicate that humans settled in the area more than 10,000 years ago. Uluru has great cultural significance for the Anangu Traditional landowners, who led walking tours to inform visitors about the local flora and fauna, bush foods and the Aboriginal dreamtime stories of the area.
The Aboriginal dreamtime stories refer to a sacred era in which ancestral Totemic Spirit Beings formed The Creation. According to the Anangu: “The world was once a featureless place. None of the places we know existed until creator beings, in the forms of people, plants and animals, traveled widely across the land. Then, in a process of creation and destruction, they formed the landscape as we know it today. Anangu land is still inhabited by the spirits of dozens of these ancestral creator beings which are referred to as Tjukuritja or Waparitja.”

When visiting please note that the Anangu request that visitors do not photograph certain sections of Uluru. These areas are the sites of gender-linked rituals, and are forbidden ground for Anangu of the opposite sex of those participating in the rituals in question. The photographic ban is intended to prevent Anangu from inadvertently violating this taboo by encountering photographs of the forbidden sites in the outside world.

If you have never been to the Australian Outback, be prepared for a fantastic adventure. Let Celtic Tours plan your Australian Adventure or choose from one of our many Australian Escorted Tours.


Jake Aufderheide said...

Great stuff here. Haven't had a chance to see Uluru yet, but other people who've gone have given mixed reviews. I think the biggest problem is that it's essentially in the middle of nowhere, and getting there can be a bit of an expensive hassle... What's your opinion on that?


Celtic Tours World Vacations said...

Thanks! We include Uluru excursions on a number of our escorted tours of Australia and build it into the package price. We have always gotten positive feedback on it saying that Uluru was one of their favorite parts of their Australia vacation. What has been your most memorable Australia experience?

Jake Aufderheide said...

I'd say scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef was up there, but I look back with the most fondness on my time in Agnes Water/1770 working at a hostel called Cool Bananas. Great atmosphere there.

Learned a lot about myself in that time. Miss it!

Looking forward to seeing new things though!

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