Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is definitely one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Australia. Located in the centre of the continent, Uluru is a must-visit for many travellers and it is a symbol of Australia, found on all kinds of souvenirs, books, stamps and logos. Known for its shape and changing colors, especially reds, Uluru is also one of the world’s most unique natural objects and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What is Uluru famous for?
Uluru is an inselberg, literally “island mountain”. The sandstone formation is 348m high, rising 863m above sea level with most of its bulk lying underground, and has a total circumference of 9.4 km. 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 food and the Aboriginal stories of the area. Due to its sacred history and origin to the Aboriginal people, climbing Uluru is NOT allowed and there are some areas where you are NOT allowed to take photos.
One of the most impressive facts about Uluru is the color change of the rock at different times of the day and year, most notably when it glows red at dawn and sunset. The sight has specially designated areas where you can have dinner and enjoy the lovely sunset.
For some more adventurous travellers, there are specially designed overnight tours that include spending the night in a tent and star gazing. Avoid camping on your own since the area is a part of the Australian Outback and is famous for its deadly inhabitants such as spiders and snakes. It is always safer to travel with a guide, especially if you didn’t grow up in Australia.
Is it worth visiting Uluru?
The answer to this question would be – it depends…
Like any other sight in Australia, Uluru tours come at a very high price: A$300 – A$400 and up to more than a thousand, depending how much you spend on a flight and how many nights you are planning to stay. Of course, the tours are well organized and include a tour guide, comfortable transport, meals and drinks and you will definitely make some new friends on the way. You could save some money by planning on your own. You can travel on a budget to Alice Springs – from there tours might be a bit cheaper. I travelled to Alice Springs by bus and I can honestly say – it was worth it. There are not too many flights going there and it is quite remote from any big city. After Alice Springs I flew to Adelaide – that’s one possible route you can consider: Cairns – Alice Springs – Uluru – Alice Springs – Adelaide.
At the end of the day, Uluru is just a big rock in the middle of the desert – going there may not exceed your expectations and will not give you any spiritual purpose. If you were not very keen on visiting a place like that in general, then trust your instinct – it does cost a lot of money which you could spend on much more travelling in cheaper places.
I only chose to invest in that, since I had the goal to cross the Australian Outback and Uluru (Ayers Rock) was a major point of my journey. Whatever you decide to, Australia has a lot to offer and any trip there is worth it!