Uluru -Ayers Rock
Also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. It lies 335 km (208 mi) south west of the nearest large town,Alice Springs, 450 km (280 mi) by road. Kata Tjuta and Uluru are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Uluru is sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. The area around the formation is home to a plethora of springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Uluru is listed as a World Heritage Site.
The local Pitjantjatjara people call the landmark Uluṟu. This word has no further particular meaning in the Pitjantjatjara language, although it is used as a local family name by the senior Traditional Owners of Uluru.
On 19 July 1873, the surveyor William Gosse sighted the landmark and named it Ayers Rock in honour of the then Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. Since then, both names have been used.
In 1993, a dual naming policy was adopted that allowed official names that consist of both the traditional Aboriginal name and the English name. On 15 December 1993, it was renamed “Ayers Rock / Uluru” and became the first official dual-named feature in the Northern Territory. The order of the dual names was officially reversed to “Uluru / Ayers Rock” on 6 November 2002 following a request from the Regional Tourism Association in Alice Springs. However these days it is becoming known more generally known as simply Uluru.
Uluru is one of Australia’s most recognisable natural landmarks. The sandstone formation stands 348 m (1,142 ft) high (rising 863 m/2,831 ft above sea level), with most of its bulk lying underground, and has a total circumference of 9.4 km (5.8 mi). Both Uluru and the nearby Kata Tjuta formation have great cultural significance for the Aṉangu people, the traditional inhabitants of the area, who lead walking tours to inform visitors about the local flora and fauna, bush foods and the Aboriginal dreamtime stories of the area.
Uluru and Kata Tjuta
Uluru is notable for appearing to change colour at different times of the day and year, most notably glowing red at dawn and sunset.
Kata Tjuta, also called Mount Olga or The Olgas, lies 25 km (16 mi) west of Uluru. Special viewing areas with road access and parking have been constructed to give tourists the best views of both sites at dawn and dusk.
Climbing Uluru, almost certainly will be banned in the next few years. Authorities have stated that once the number of climbers falls below 20% of visitors they will close the rock to climbers.
In 1990 almost 75% of visitors climed Uluru. However since then the traditional owners have asked visitors to stop climbing the rock for cultural reasons and climbing has dropped to approximately 38%.
Since 1958 thirty-six people have died attempting to climb Uluru. 200,000 tourists currently visit the rock each year.