Ayers Rocks (Uluru) is protected within the Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park
, which is a Commonwealth reserve inscribed on the World Heritage
List for both the cultural and natural values of its landscape. The park protects the cultural values of Anangu, the rock outcrops of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, outstanding examples of arid zone flora and fauna, and outstanding scenic beauty. All visitors to Uluru will be required to pay an entry fee, valid for 3 days. This enables you to visit any of the areas within the Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park
The major activities in the National Park are photography and walking and these days more people are listening to the wishes of the traditional landowners and are not climbing the Rock.
Many people underestimate just how far from Uluru is from Alice Springs
. The Uluru - Kata Tjut National Park is 335km SW of Alice Springs
(straight line distance) and 450km by road. Once there, the National Park is large - covering some 1325 square kilometres. With a driving distance of 50km between the two major features being Ayers Rock and the Olgas. Both sites have numerous walks so visitors should allow 2-3 days in the area.
Uluru is 348m above the plain, and 863m above sea level.
It has a circumferance of 9.4km
Uluru is an inselberg meaning "island mountain" an isolated remnant left after the slow erosion of an original mountain range.
Walks & Climbs
The local Anangu people do not advise climbing the rock for fear of accidents scarring the sacred significance of this important part of their culture, however visitors are free to make their own choice.
The climb is extremely strenuous and many people underestimate the level of fitness required to make it to the top. The first section is the steepest and hardest, where a handrail helps guide (or pull) yourself along. Due to the increased number of visitors experiencing difficulties the rock is closed for climbing in extreme heat. The best time to climb is right on sunrise when when temperatures are low and crowds haven't yet arrived. In fact, if you can manage it, start climbing whilst it is still dark so you can view the sun rising from the summit
There are 3 major walks within the park:
- Uluru Circuit Walk (8.4km)
- Valley of the Winds at Kata Tjuta (8km)
- Olga Gorge (1km)
Keep in mind that weather has no adverse affect on the viewing of Ayers Rock, in fact one of the most spectacular sights is the rock during rain. Huge pools of water stream over the rock and brilliant unusual photographs of this event are a real treat. Of course, climbing the rock during rain is prohibited. The road around the base of the rock is now tarred and you can can get great photos from just about anywhere. For sunset photography of the rock in its many changing moods there are specially marked parking bays for buses and a separate area for cars or 4WDs. Try to get there early and get a good position. Take your chair, nibbles and bottle of bubbly and join in the festive atmosphere in watching one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.
Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta are excellent sunset photographic subjects so you'll need to allow 2 evenings for this as they are over 50km apart.
There are certain restrictions on photography because of the various sacred sites owned by Anangu. These include Pulari, Warayuki, Ngaltawata, Tjukatjapi, Kuniya Piti, Taputji, Kantju, and Mala Puta.