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About Uluru & Kata Tjuta

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park expands across more than 327,414 acres of Australia’s desert outback and is home to two iconic rock formations. Uluru stands 348m tall and is 9.4km circumference and the highest of the 36 domes of Kata Tjuta is 546m high.

About Uluru & Kata Tjuta

Ancient rock formations soar hundreds of metres into the desert sky, surrounded by the Red Centre's unique wildlife and spirit of the Anangu people's Tjukurpa. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park expands across more than 327,414 acres of Australia’s desert outback and is home to two of the world’s most iconic rock formations, Uluru and Kata Tjuta. 

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is Aboriginal land. The park is jointly managed by its Anangu traditional owners and Parks Australia. The park is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Area for both its natural and cultural values.

Uluru

Uluru (sometimes called Ayers Rock) - is one of the largest monoliths in the world. Made of arkosic sandstone, Uluru rises 348 metres above the desert floor and has a circumference of 9.4 kilometres.

Interesting facts about Uluru

  • Uluru is 348 meters high (or 860 meters above seas level), that is higher than the Eiffel Tower and 2.5 times the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • Uluru has weather extremes, with temperatures reaching over 47 degrees Celsius in summer and dropping down to -7 degrees Celsius in winter. Surprisingly for a desert the park also gets on average around 307mm of rain in a year!
  • Uluru is known to change colour depending on the time of day, but is most impressive at sunrise and sunset when it glows stunning red. The red comes from the surface oxidation of the iron rich sandstone. Without this Uluru would look grey.
  • Uluru amazingly extends 5 to 6 kilometers below the ground
  • Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta were formed 300 million years ago
  • The closest town, Alice Springs, is 403km away - or roughly 4-5 hour drive.
  • Erosion has left many valleys, caves, ridges, grooves and potholes or plunge pools, altering the appearance of the rock. Whilst the formation of Uluru and Kata Tjuta is an inherent part of Anangu creation stories, geologists explain the making of Uluru from a different perspective.
  • Uluru is also an art canvas for local creation stories, with ancient rock paintings found in many locations round Uluru. Created using natural minerals they include geometric symbols such as concentric circles, figures representing animal tracks and the outlines of animals.

How high is Uluru?

Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta (sometimes called The Olgas) is roughly a 45 minute drive west of Uluru. The Aboriginal name means "many heads", which is apt, given the impressive 36 domed rock formation that lie in wait.

Interesting facts about Kata Tjuta

  • The tallest dome of Kata Tjuta rises 546 meters above the palin (or 1,066 meters above sea level), that is nearly 200 meters taller than Uluru
  • Kata Tjuta is sacred under Anangu men's law. Anangu women do not go to Kata Tjuta. 
  • Kata Tjuta is made of conglomerate rock, a gravel consisting of a mix of pebbles, cobbles and boulders that are cemented by sand and mud. The majority of these pieces are either granite or basalt.
  • Access to most areas at Kata Tjuta is restricted to visitors, there are two walks available to the public including Walpa Gorge and Valley of the Winds. This is to ensure protection of the fragile desert environment and allow traditional ceremonies carried out by the Anangu people to continue.

Natural Wonders

Home to an extensive range of flora and fauna, more than 21 species of native mammals, 178 species of birds, 73 species of reptiles and 418 species of native plants, the National Park is far from sparse, despite its title as a desert.

Due to the low humidity and minimal unnatural light, the outback is also one of the best places to star gaze. You can not only glimpse many constellations that are rarely seen from any other place on earth, but also witness these stars blazing directly above Uluru or Kata Tjuta - truly something special.

Sacred Sites

The cultural landscapes of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park resonate with meaning. They contain creation stories and the associated knowledge of law, relationships, plants, and animals, all of which live in the shapes and features of the land.

Places where significant events in the Anangu story occurred are held as sacred sites. Anangu have the responsibility and obligation to care for the land in a proper way. As such, tourists are not permitted access to certain significant or sacred sites. Even inadvertent access to these can be sacrilegious.

At Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park some areas are fenced off and sometimes photography is restricted to ensure that visitors do not inadvertently contravene Tjukurpa restrictions.

History

Ancient Aboriginal history of the Central Australian landscape goes back to the beginning of time, where three significant ancestors, Mala (Rufus-Hare Wallaby), Kuniya (Woma Python) and Liru (Poisonous Snake) of the region play an important role in the creation of the land.

In more recent history, the 1870's, we can date the discovery of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta by the first white explorers of the time to William Gosse and William Giles respectively. Gosse, who was the first to reach Uluru named it Ayers Rock after the Chief Secretary of South Australia at the time, Sir Henry Ayers. Giles, who made it to Kata Tjuta named it The Olgas after the then reigning Queen Olga of Wurttemburg.

In the early 1900's the government declared their ownership of the land and the site was opened to tourists in the 1950's. It was only in 1983 that the land was returned to its rightful owners.

Where to stay at Uluru?

Only 20km from Uluru, Ayers Rock Resort provides a variety of accommodation options and holiday deals for every possible taste and budget - from 5-star Sails in the Desert Hotel to the Ayers Rock Campground and everything in between.

Uluru Tours & Experiences

With over 101 tours and experiences on offer at Uluru (Ayers Rock) and around the Resort there is lots to pick and choose from to guarantee your days are action-packed. Australia's red heart has fun and excitement to offer for all.

For more information on the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park:

Download: Download PDF National Park Visitors Guide (PDF)

Visit: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Wish List

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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 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.

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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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.

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.

Mani Mani Indigenous Cultural Theatre

Mani-Mani Theatre Company’s unique sound, lighting, 3D effects and performance take you on a visually captivating experience transporting you to the ancient lands of Central Australia where the story of Walawuru, Kakalyalya & Kaanka unravels. The symbolic story of Walawuru, Kakalyalya & Kaanka is a tale of love, jealousy and greed. Expressed through ‘Mani-Mani’, the local art form of storytelling, this contemporary Indigenous performance brings to life the ancient ancestral beings Walawuru the Wedge-Tailed Eagle and his two wives; Kaanka the black crow and Kakalyalya the white cockatoo. Walawuru is happy with his two wives but little does he know Kaanka is evil and very jealous of the kind and caring Kakalyalya. The word ‘Mani-Mani’ comes from the Yankunytjatjara & Pitjantjatjara language of the Anangu people of Central Australia. Anangu people would often tell stories by drawing symbols in the sand using a stick taken from a branch of the Mani-Mani tree. The stories were often about ancestors, real events in history and the Tjukurpa creation time.
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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.

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 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.
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