For those who decide to climb Uluru, it is useful for them to know if the climb is open or it is closed.. The climb is generally open unless one of the following criteria is met...
1) Climb is closed daily from half hour after sunset to half hour before sunrise.
2) Closed at 8 am if forecast temperature is equal to or below 36 degrees Celsius.
3) On short notice if rain or storms become likely within three hours.
4) On short notice if the wind speed at 2,500 feet reaches 25 knots.
5) On short notice if cloud decends below the summit.
6) On short notice if rescue operations are in progress.
7) If the traditional owners request it for cultural reasons, for example a period of mourning.
You may check with the Information Desk the status from 8am to 5 pm by calling +61 8 8956 1128.
As we drove through the gates of the national park and entered the Uluru park, we were handed a visitor's guide to the park along with our park's use ticket.. On both the ticket and the visitor's guide, it clearly is written in English asking visitors not to climb Uluru or Ayer's Rock..
As a guest on Anangu Land, we ask you to choose to respect our law and culture by not climbing
Besides all the requests by the Anangu Aboriginal people, many people still choose to climb the red rock every day.. Uluru is a sacred site to the aboriginal people and everyone should respect their wishes. As you can see in the picture on the right, many people are climbing the rock.. Climbers keep record times of their climb to the summit and compare with others.. "my personal record is 13 minutes" said our tour guide as he drove us closer to the Rock...
That's a really important sacred thing that you are climbing...
You shouldn't climb. It's not the real thing about this place.
The real thing is listening to everything.
Why are we going to tell you to go away (ask you not to climb)? So that you understand we are informing you: Don't climb.
And maybe that makes you a bit sad. But anyway that's what we have to say. We are obliged by Tjukurpa to say.
And all the tourists will brighten up and say 'Oh I see. This is the right way. This is the thing that's right. This is the proper way: no climbing.
by Kunmanu, traditional owners of Uluru
These structures were known as the Three Tors (Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Mt.Connor much further away). There are some scientific disagreements to the origins of these rock structures. Some believe that they are the sole survivors of a mountain range from the Cambrian period while the most widely held theory is that they are remnants of a vast sedimentary bed which was laid down some 600 million years ago. The bed was spectacularly tilted so that Uluru now protrudes at an angle of up to 85°. The rock is actually grey but is covered with a distinctive red iron oxide coating.
Explorer Ernest Giles sighted Mt.Olga, the tallest dome in the Kata Tjuta group in 1872 and originally named it Mt.Ferdinand in honour of Baron Ferdinand von Mueller (his benefactor) before the Baron changed the name to that of the reigning Queen of Spain.
Giles returned to the area in 1873 but was beaten to Uluru by William Gosse who sighted the monolith on 19 July and named it after the Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. Giles also was the first European to climb the rock which he did accompanied by an Afghan camel driver named Khamran.
In the language of the local Aborigines 'Uluru' is simply a place name which is applied to both the rock and the waterhole on top of the rock. 'Yulara', the resort located 21 km from the base of the rock, means 'crying' or 'weeping' (which is what happens when most people see their accommodation bill) in the language of the local Pitjantjatjara and Yunkunytjatjara peoples. "Kata Tjuta" means many heads.
Favorite thing: The best time to visit would be in winter (May-July) when the weather is dry and cool with little chance of rain. You get brilliant blue skies set against crimson red earth - just fantastic for photography!
Extracted and condensed:
..."The aboriginal flag consists of a yellow circle (the sun) on a horizontally divided field of black (the night sky) and red (the red earth, presumably this was from a group of Northern Territory aboriginals)
An alternative explanation is that black represents the skin color of the people, red the land, and the yellow disc represents the sun.
There has never been any definite symbolism given to the colours by the flag's supposed designer, Harold Thomas. There are several different interpretations; black has been said to symbolise Aboriginal skin and the night sky. Red can either be the red desert earth of the Aboriginal blood spilt over the last 200 or so years"...
..."The Northern Territory doesn't have a 'blue duster' like all other Australian states. It was the first internal or external Australian territory to adopt a flag post-Federation (1901) in 1978 upon the granting of self government. The main device is a stylised local flower - Sturt's Desert Rose with the seven petals forming a seven pointed star symbolic of the Territory as potentially the seventh state. The Southern Cross represents NT's location. The colour Ochre represents the NT earth and the black panel is regarded by some as representing the aboriginal people"...
After a period of rain, Ayers Rock takes on a purplish-greyish hue. This is the result of the rainwater reacting to the oxidised iron and other minerals on the surface of the monolith.
I`d recommend heading out to one of the designated sunset viewing areas to take this in (see my Ayers Rock Sunset tip in `Must See Activities` for more details). There`ll be few people there outside of the period before sunset.
Adverse weather conditions occasionally cause tours to be cancelled or modified. Furthermore, many visitors choose to remain indoors in the case of a storm or overcast conditions.
I found this to be the best time to head outside! There are some amazing colour variations in rainy or stormy conditions. My advice would be to head and out and see what you can find :-)
Keep an eye out for tracks as you trek around in the National Park.
You can see the tracks of various species of animals if you look close enough. I found the viewing platform halfway between the Olgas as a pretty interesting spot to look at tracks. This is mainly because it`s elevated so the tracks are not spoiled by human footprints.
In this case, the origin of the tracks is clear - these are camel tracks on the surface of the dry Lake Amadeus, just to the north of Ayers Rock Resort.
Don`t be concerned if it rains. It`s a great time to go into the National Park because so many visitors choose to stay in the resort. The main attractions are relatively deserted.
In addition, the monolith itself becomes a conductor for thousands of tiny cascades. These can be ascertained in dry periods by looking at the vertical, blackened areas around Uluru.
Overall, it`s a great spectacle and during my three years at the Rock, I felt it was the best time to go.
Most of the touring activities are centered around sunrise or sunset in some way or another.
If you have spent more than a couple of nights at Ayers Rock Resort, try a less conventional vantage point to experience dawn or dusk.
This is from the `other` side of Kata Tjuta. As dusk came, it was remarkable watching the colors slowly change to a jet-black silhouette.
NB: There are limitations on where you can park in the National Park itself so be sure to check first :-)
Keep your eyes peeled as you travel through the national park. You might spot a camel or two. This is particularly true of the last twenty kilometers of the road heading to Kata Tjuta.
Estimates vary, but there are up to 250,000 feral dromedaries in Australia. They were first introduced in the 1840s.
Entrance to the Park is A$16.50 and the ticket is good for 3 days. There is only one entrance to the Park and it will be checked each time. The park covers both Ayer's Rock and the Olgas.
If you go on any of the excursions, the cost does not include the entrance fee.
Hiking around the uluru area, either get used to aussie mozzies buzzing around your face or be armed with a face fly-net. These were being sold everywhere for A$5. They came over your head in a green net like form with an elastic band around your neck, very much like the "nettified" version of al-qaida suicide bombers.
Fondest memory: I loved taking photographs in Uluru and its surrounding areas. The colour contrast of blue skies against various shades of red was fascinating.
Favorite thing: There are also many caves to explore at the base of the rock and if you happen to see the rock on a rare rainy day, you will see hundreds of waterfalls that flow down the unusual groves in the side of the monolith.