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.
Right at the main entry area to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta lands is a lodge, the Yulara Outback Lodge. There are also a couple of "malls" with grocery stores, snack shops and clothing outlets. This area is the civilized part of the park.
We were stuck around the Yulara Lodge one afternoon on our way BACK to Alice Springs. Due to the complications that often arise when travelling in the Outback, we had to wait about six hours for a bus service back to Alice. The folks at Yulara were friendly enough, but theres one very negative thing... You cannot buy a beer or any alcohol unless you are STAYING at the lodge. It's the rules laid down by the Anangu owners of the area. Gotta admit that it made very little sense to me, as a couple of beers would have made the hours go by more quickly.
One thing that IS nice is that there are public showers...we found it quite refreshing to slip over for a quick shower to get some of the Uluru camping dust from our bodies. I"m not sure if we were "allowed" to use these showers, as we were not guests. But enforcement on the showers is much more lax than the serving of alcohol.
Fondest memory: I can't imagine staying at the Yulara Lodge. If you came this far, you'd want to go out to Uluru itself and camp. And if you're into luxury camping, there is one place (Latitude something or other) that will feed your need for foo-foo camping and Zen to the tune of about $800 a night. But if you do want to visit the Outback Pioneer Lodge, to to www.voyages.com.au
Yulara itself is just a motel, albeit a clean and friendly one.
Then again, had we been stuck there for the night, I suppose I would have checked in and then RAN (not walked) back to the bar.
..."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"...
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 amount is A$16.25 (circa Jun 2003) and is valid for 3 consecutive days. Children under 16, could enter the park for free.
Jun & Jul: 6.30am - 7.30pm
Aug: 6.00am - 7.30pm
Sep: 5.30am - 7.30pm
Oct: 5.00am - 8.00pm
Nov: 5.00am - 8.30pm
Fondest memory: You can email:
for more info.
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!
Favorite thing: Uluru alias Ayers Rock alias 'The Rock', it is here in the 'red centre' we find one of Australia's most recognisable icons and the worlds largest monolith is found in the national park with the same name.
Favorite thing: 1985 the land was officially returned to is traditional owners, the region's Aborigines, who since then leased the area to the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. In 1987 the park was placed on the World Heritage List.
Favorite thing: Uluru rises 348 m (1,142 ft) from the desert floor and has a circumference of about 9 km (6 mi). Made of arkosic sandstone, Uluru is spectacular at sunset, when its colour appears to change from red to purple. About 70 million years ago it was an island in a large lake.
Favorite thing: Visitors can make tough 1.6km walk to the top or take a walking tour around the rock with an aboriginal guide , learning about its fascinating with the Uluru people and its importance in dreamtime legend.
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.
In my personal opinion - the rock is best at sunset.
I saw the rock both at sunrise and sunset.
It's freezing cold in the mornings and you have to get up really early
(and if you are not a early riser - i'm talkin like 5am) you're not going
to amused. We saw the sunrise after the sunset and it was dissapointing,
I was cold and tired and then had to go on a walk through the olgas - of
course in no time it got really hot and i had to take all the layers off that
I had worn in the morning.
Needless to say - the sunset is amazing - take lots of photos. The rock
really does change colours it is fantastic.
To visit Uluru or The Olgas, you have to have a park pass. They cost $25AUD and are good for 3 days.
I found that sometimes you can get a free "used" park pass from visitors that are leaving early. Some people only go for one day, so their park pass is still good for 2 more days.
The passes have an expiration date on them. The holder is supposed to print their name of them, I suppose to prevent the pass from being given to others.
Standing at the campground office waiting for a bus, I found that campers checking out would offer me their un-expired tickets.
So if you are on a really tight budget, then perhaps you can ask people checking out if you can have their ticket. They are easy to spot because they park their vehicals on the outbound lane and run into to check out of the office.
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.
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.