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History

A historical overview of the discovery of Uluru (Ayers Rock) starting 30,000 years ago, to the first flight, first track and tourism development.

History


Archaeological work in Cleland Hills, north of Uluru, in 1987 suggests that Aboriginal people were living in this region at least 22,000 years ago, while work in the MacDonnell Ranges in 1994 suggests habitation in Central Australia dates back 30,000 years.

The Central Australian landscape, of which Uluru and Kata Tjuta are an important part, is believed to have been created at the beginning of time. The Anangu Aboriginal people are responsible for the protection and appropriate management of these ancestral lands. The knowledge necessary to fulfil these responsibilities has been passed down from generation to generation.

During the 1870s, William Giles and William Gosse were the first white explorers to this region. Giles was the first to reach Kata Tjuta and named it The Olgas after the then reigning Queen Olga of Wurttemburg. Gosse, however, was the first to reach Uluru and named it Ayers Rock after his superior, Sir Henry Ayers, the Chief Secretary of South Australia.

In the early 1900s the Government declared ownership of the land and by the 1950s tourists and miners had begun to make tracks to Uluru and Kata Tjuta. At the time only a few Anangu were living at Uluru. However, as tourist numbers grew, most of the Anangu there scattered into other regions within Central Australia.

By the early 1970s, the pressure of tourism was having detrimental effects on the environment and the government agreed in 1973 to relocate accommodation facilities to a new site.

It was not until 1979 that, in recognition of the existence of traditional Aboriginal owners of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, a national park was acknowledged. In 1983 Prime Minister Hawke announced the government's intention to grant ownership of the land back to the traditional owners. The agreement, however, required the traditional owners to lease the park to the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service for a period of 99 years.

Discovery of Uluru (Ayers Rock)

In 1873, Englishman William Christie Gosse became the first European to climb Uluru (Ayers Rock), after a three month trek from Alice Springs with a camel train, Afghan cameleers and eight months of provisions. Gosse named the Rock after Sir Henry Ayers, then Chief Secretary who later became Premier of  South Australia. It might  well have taken another name had explorer Ernest Giles managed  to reach and climb the Rock when he sighted it a year earlier. Giles did manage, however, to sight Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) in 1872, and named them after Queen Olga of Wurttemberg. He was then forced to turn back to Alice after being blocked by the treacherous salty marshes of Lake Amadeus, 50 kilometres to the north of Uluru.

The first flight to Ayers Rock

In 1930, the first aeroplane landed  at Uluru, piloted by journalist Errol Coote. He was a member of Harold Lasseter’s original support party when Lasseter made his unsuccessful attempt to locate a reef of gold in the south-west corner of the Northern Territory.

The first track to Ayers Rock

The 1930s also marked the carving of the first rough track from Erldunda (193 kilometres south west of Alice Springs) to Uluru by pastoralist Sid Stanes of Erldunda Station. The track traversed sand dune country and, after heavy rains, was badly rutted, boggy and often impassable. It was not until the early 1940s that the first graded road linked the Alice and Uluru.

Read more about Tourism Development & History of Ayers Rock Resort 

Uluru camp men

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Create your own itinerary using the My Itinerary planner. Start by browsing and adding experiences to your itinerary to help you plan your days. Then select accommodation that best suits your style and budget before finalising your perfect Uluru escape. You can easily save your itinerary and come back to it at a later date.

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Uluru Bicycle Hire (Departure 1)

Take a morning ride around the base of Uluru by bicycle. The 15 kilometre self-guided journey is easily made within 3 hours and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Stop and explore the pure beauty of this spiritual and unique wonder of the world at your own pace. Once you have finished your ride, you are free to explore the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre. Includes return hotel transfers operated by Uluru Hop On & Hop Off. Children toddler seats and tag-a-longs available on request, subject to availability. Departure times: Return transfer from your accommodation by Uluru Hop ON Hop Off 7:15am December 7:45am February 8:30am March 9:30am October and November 10:00am September 10:15am 16-30 April and May 10:30am 1-15 April and June to August Duration approx. 4 hours

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
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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.

Ayers Rock Campground

Ayers Rock campground is located only 15km from Uluru and offers cabin accommodation, unpowered and powered sites for caravans, campervans, motor homes and camper trailers. Campground offers modern camping facilities and a playground, pool, supermarket and petrol station.
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Bush Food Experience

Learn about Australian and local native bush foods with a tasting of seasonal seeds, fruits and spices. Your knowledgeable guide will describe how for centuries the Indigenous people used the bush for food.  You'll find out about the uses of certain plants, fruits, grains and spices and about traditional food preparation methods. Enjoy a cooking demonstration of a recipe using some of the ancient native bush ingredients. Tour duration approx. 45 minutes. 

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.

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.
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3 Day Best of Uluru Itinerary

Discover the best of Uluru and surrounds with once-in-a-lifetime tours and activities on this 2 night Best of Uluru itinerary. Witness the Field of Light art installation, watch as the sunrises over Uluru and Kata Tjuta and learn about Indigenous culture and traditions in Australia's spiritual heart.

3 Day Culture Itinerary

Discover the magic of Uluru and immerse yourself in this cultural living landscape with this 2 night Uluru Cultural Itinerary.

3 Day Luxury Itinerary

Enjoy this 2 night Luxury Uluru getaway and experience the unforgettable Tali Wiru dinner under the Central Australian desert night sky. Watch the sun rise over Uluru as the desert awakens and join various Indigenous activities at Ayers Rock Resort. This itinerary is suited to couples or two singles wanting an indulgent Outback stay.
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