Location of Uluru or Ayer's Rock is about 335 km (450 road km) South West of Alice Springs.
The park itself is 1325 square km which is pretty huge and it includes the Olgas as well as the Ayer's Rock.
Uluru is 348 meters above the plain and 863 meters above sea level. Our tour guide told us what you see of the Ayer's Rock is actually 20% of the rock, the remaining is under the ground which is pretty amazing.. The rock's circumference is about 10 km.
There are 25 fauna species of mammals, 74 reptiles (thorny devil being my personal favorite), 178 birds and 4 frogs in the park.
The temperature can go up to 45 degrees Celsius (113 F) during summer and can drop down to -5 degrees Celsius (23 F) on winter nights.. The average rainfall the park sees each year is about 308 millimeters which is not very much at all be it a desert :) In the heat of the summer days, everyone should protect against the sun UV rays as it is pretty extreme on most days so don't forget to bring your UV BLOCK....
The following are some general information on the Park and how to contact if need to do so...
Park use fee is AU $25.00 for Adults. Children under the age of 16 get in for free. The ticket is valid for 3 consecutive days at Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
The park opening hours are different on a month to month basis.. In Dec, Jan and Feb the park is open from 5am to 9pm. in March, 5:30am to 8:30pm. In April, 6am to 8pm. In May, 6am to 7:30pm. In June & July, 6:30am to 7:30pm. In Aug, 6am to 7:30pm. In Sept, 5:30am to 7:30pm. In Oct, 5am to 8pm and in November, 5am to 8:30pm.
The information Desk opening hours are from 8am to 5pm and they can be reached by phone by dialing +61 8 8956 1128 and by Fax +61 8 8956 2360 and by email firstname.lastname@example.org or their website www.deh.gov.au/parks/uluru
The cultural center hours are from 7am to 6pm
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
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.
Spinifex Grass (Spinifex Sericeus) is one of the best protectors in Australia's outback. Very painful to the touch because of its long stalk, then the sheer size and abundance of it throughout the country makes it the perfect way to keep the sand from blowing!
In addition to keeping the sand down, and poking larger animals and humans as it passes, it is also the home and shelter to many of the outbacks small animals who can burrow under it.
One of the most interesting things to learn about Uluru is actually why it has its red tinge to it.
The reason is because this is actually a grey rock with a high amount of iron inside it. When iron reaches the surface, it oxides, and Iron Oxide is better known as.... rust.
So this entire rock really is just one large rust-bucket!
If you walk up to the rock, feel free to actually rap your knuckles on a little of it, and you can feel a distinct hollowness to the top layer of the rock!
One of the most intriquing things about Uluru is that from every angle and every direction, you will get a completely different view.
I really liked this position, because of so many different angles and colors of the rock at the same time. Rocks, fizzures, slow slopes, and then abrupt edges all together.
Make sure you take the opportunity to walk up close and also see it from far away, so you can see everything that is Uluru!
Although it is a little hazy as to whether or not the Aboriginal people saw this image and they made Uluru a sacred place. The image of the Mala man on the side of Uluru was instantly the first thing I noticed when I went to the Uluru sunrise tour.
Since I am sure that most Aboriginals did not have mirrors, do you think they knew this looked like them?
Points to ponder... in the meantime definitely turn up to Uluru to enjoy a sunrise, and a sunset!
One of the great sites while looking at Uluru was the sighting of this cute little pigeon, known as the Spinifex Pigeon which is indiginous to the Northern Territory.
I can not find out too much more information about the pigeon on the internet to share here, so I guess it is best to just enjoy the picture of him!
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.