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Language

Anangu mainly speak Pitjantjatjara (pronounced as pit-jan-jah-jarra) and Yankunytjatjara (pronounced as yan-kun-ja-jarra)

Language

Before European colonisation, Indigenous Australians spoke an estimated 700 dialects. These languages are as different and distinct from each other as English is to Russian and Chinese. Many of these languages are no longer used or are under threat of disappearing.

It is estimated that there are only 20 to 50 languages still described as ‘healthy’ - that is, they are spoken to and used by children. 

What language do the local Aboriginal people of Uluru speak?

Anangu mainly speak Pitjantjatjara (pronounced as pitjan-jah-jarra) and Yankunytjatjara (yan-kun-ja-jarra) and some people speak up to six Aboriginal languages. Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara are dialects of the Western Desert language, the largest language group of Aboriginal Australia. The group includes about 4,000 speakers, and stretches northwest to Balgo, west to Port Hedland, south to Kalgoorlie, Yalata and Oodnadatta and northeast to Alice Springs.

Pitjantjatjara literally means the people who use ‘pitjantja’ to say ‘to come’ while Yankunytjatjara are the people who use ‘yankunytja’ to say ‘to come’. Anangu means ‘people’ in Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara.

The grammar and structure of the Western Desert languages are very different to English. There are 17 consonants. The sounds s, z, v, sh or th do not exist, and the dialects do not distinguish between a ‘b’ and a ‘p’, or a ‘d’ and a ‘t’. The letters t, n, l and r can be written with a line underneath, this is called a retroflex. A retroflexed letter is pronounced by slightly curling the tongue back in the mouth. This produces a sound similar to an ‘r’ sound e.g. ‘walpa’ is pronounced ‘wharl-pah.

Some ‘old’ words are adapted for new situations such as the word tourist, ‘minga’, meaning ‘ants’ because visitors look like a line of ants as they walk up and down Uluru. Anangu also incorporate English words such as ‘mutuka’ for ‘motor car’.

Local Speak Pronunciation Meaning
Uluru
ool-or-roo 
No literal translation of Uluru.
It's a name like Sydney, Paris or Rome.
Kata Tjut
catta-jew-tah Many heads
Anangu
Arn-ung-oo Aboriginal people of Western Desert
Manta
- landscape/country/earth
Palya
pahl-yah hello/goodbye/thank you/welcome
Wiru wih-roo beautiful
Walpa
wharl-pa wind
Pira
pi-rha moon
Tjungu tjoo-ngoo
meeting together
Mayu
mah-yoo
flavours/taste
Tjukurpa
chook-orr-pa
creation time, law, way of life, story

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Fri 10 Jul - Mon 13 Jul Change Dates
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1 Day Hop On Hop Off Pass

This 1-day Hop On Hop Off pass gives you the freedom to explore Uluru at your own pace for one day. From sunrise to sunset, hop on and hop off as much as you like throughout the day. Additionally, this pass also entitles you to one bonus transfer to and from Kata Tjuta within the same day. Download timetable and map

15min Uluru and Resort Postcard Flight (daytime)

Limited on time? Take to the skies on a 15 minute scenic helicopter flight that takes you past Ayers Rock Resort and onto breathtaking views of the desert landscape and the majestic Uluru, as well as Kata Tjuta in the distance. Enjoy this tour anytime throughout the day, excluding sunrise and sunset. Tour duration is approx. 1 hour

15min Rock Blast (Daytime)

Launch off on a rock blasting adventure and take in the sights of Ayers Rock Resort and surrounding desert landscape as you make your way towards Uluru. Enjoy a panoramic view of the breathtaking scenery unique to the Red Centre.  Tour duration approx. 1 hour
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Longitude 131°

Located adjacent to Ayers Rock Resort, Longitude 131° offers an exclusive experience of the Australian Outback, rich in cultural heritage and history.

Emu Walk Apartments

Ayers Rock Resort's 4 star self-contained apartments: Only 20km from Uluru, the newly renovated 1 and 2 bedroom apartments are sheltered behind gardens of native trees. Lowest Price Guarantee.

Emu Walk Apartments

Ayers Rock Resort's 4 star self-contained apartments: Only 20km from Uluru, the newly renovated 1 and 2 bedroom apartments are sheltered behind gardens of native trees. Lowest Price Guarantee.
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Ecology & Museum Tour

Wintjiri museum provides an educational display highlighting local history, Aboriginal culture, geology, flora and fauna. On this interpretative tour of the museum your Aboriginal guide will introduce you to the region's unique ecology and classes of mammals and fauna types not found anywhere else in the world.  Gain insights into the Anangu land conservation and management practices as well as a brief historical overview; starting 30,000 years ago with the Aboriginal habitation to the early European explorers, and the development of tourism at Uluru. Tour duration: approx. 45 minutes. Days and times: daily, 3pm Location: Wintjiri Arts & Museum

Bush Yarn

Welcome to the Circle of Sand, the Indigenous heart of Ayers Rock Resort. You'll become captivated by the yarns told by an Indigenous storyteller of Aboriginal history, culture and traditional techniques used on the land. Dependant on the season, learn about traditional bushtucker or an Indigenous man’s “survival kit” including weapons such as katjii (hunting spears), tjutinpa (clubs), kali (boomerangs) and miru (spear thrower). Tour duration: approx 30 minutes. Days and times: daily, 10am, 10:30am, 11am, 11:30am Location: Town Square Lawn Area

Guided Garden Walk

Desert Gardens Hotel is famous for it's magnificent gardens full of local flora. Meet your Indigenous guide at the hotel's reception for a guided tour of these authentic native gardens and an introduction to the many different plants which Anangu relied on for food and medicinal purposes. Tour duration approx. 1 hour.
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3 Day Uluru Outback Adventure Itinerary

Discover adventure in the Australian outback over 2 adventure-packed nights. Witness an amazing sunrise over Uluru. Get an adrenaline rush on a Harley Davidson ride. Enjoy dinner under the stars at the award-winning Sounds of Silence and various guest activities. Tours in this itinerary requires a moderate level of fitness.

3 Day Uluru Budget Itinerary

Explore Australia's Red Centre on a budget in 2 packed nights. Experience the magic of Uluru. Enjoy a dinner under the stars at the award-winning Sounds of Silence, walk through the Field of Light and discover various guest activities that will provide you with unforgettable memories. This itinerary is designed for those wanting a budget adventure.

3 Day Family Itinerary

Discover the spiritual heart of Australia with this 2 night Uluru family itinerary including Astro Tour, Uluru and Kata Tjuta sunrise tour, Dot painting and various guest activities. The tours in this suggested Uluru Family itinerary are suited to families with children 5 years and over.
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Ayers Rock Resort is currently closed due to the impact of COVID-19 and related Northern Territory border and remote community closures.  We are currently taking general bookings from 1 August 2020, although this will be reviewed regularly should circumstances change. The Lost Camel Hotel is open for limited bookings for local residents and other guests who meet the mandated travel requirements and adhere to COVID-19 guidelines regarding health and safety. For guests travelling from outside the area prior to 17 July a mandatory 14 day self-isolation period will apply. Please refer to our FAQ page for further information.