U = Uluru, Australia

Today’s U-word takes us back to the Australian Outback to visit Uluru, also known as Ayres Rock.

2004 - Uluru 2 -2

Uluru is a massive sandstone rock about a five hour drive from Alice Springs deep in the interior of Australia.  It is a famous and well known landmark but in fact is not the only massive rock formation.  Nearby Kata-Tjuta – also known as The Olgas – is about 600 ft higher than Uluru and was a fabulous surprise to visit.

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There are 36 domes that make up Kata-Tjuta.

If the two names are confusing it’s because the Australian government approved a dual naming policy in the mid 1990s so that sites may have two official names – the English and the traditional Aboriginal one.  The Aboriginal name is now normally referred to as the primary name.

In the 1980s, the deed to Uluru and Kata-Tjuta reverted back to the Anangu Aboriginal people.  An agreement now exists between the Anangu and the Australian government to jointly manage this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Uluru stands higher than the Eiffel Tower.  It is about 10 km around the base.

2004 - Uluru 4 -4

The very tiny people at the base of Uluru provide an indication of its size.

It is considered a sacred site by the Anangu and although it is not prohibited, they request that people do not climb the rock.  In spite of that request, it is highly popular to climb although it is quite strenuous and can be treacherous – particularly due to the winds.  Over the years, several dozen people have died after falling during a climb.  Once you start to fall, the smooth sides of the rock don’t provide much opportunity to stop the descent.

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Climbing path up Uluru


Plaque at the top of Uluru.

Tourists flock to Uluru at sunrise and sunset – to take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the morning and to capture the beauty of the changing colour of the stone in the fading light of evening.

There are several natural wonders I have visited in my life where it felt like I was in a very special – yes, even sacred – place.  This was one of them.


About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge - 2014, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to U = Uluru, Australia

  1. Pingback: A = Alice Springs, Australia | My Life Lived Full

  2. Woolly Muses says:

    Your post brings back memories of climbing Uluru, then Ayres Rock, in 1975. Even nearly forty years on I list it as one of the best things I have ever experienced.


    • joannesisco says:

      Memories are amazing! When they are triggered, we get to relive the experience all over again 🙂
      It’s been 10 years for me since we were there and in many ways it feels like no time has passed at all.


  3. Both places are awe inspiring, spiritual, mystifying and unique and are well worth a visit. They are also unforgettable. Glad you made it there on your visit here. Many Australians have never made the journey.


    • joannesisco says:

      Not surprising – it’s not exactly an easy place to get to.

      There are still many parts of Canada I haven’t explored yet. The irony is that it is considerably more expensive to get to some places in Canada from Toronto than to go to Europe. That’s pretty sad.


  4. Thanks for taking me to Australia through your pictures. What a great post for me to read and drink my morning coffee. 🙂


  5. mel says:

    I’ve travelled to Australia so many times and even lived there for a while and I still haven’t made it there (but now I want to after this post)! Did you try toasting bread/frying eggs on the rocks?


    • joannesisco says:

      We were there in April so it wasn’t really hot – just pleasantly hot for those of us who had just come from winter. We did however bake bread in the ground beside a campfire. That was pretty cool.
      We would LOVE to go back to Australia. It is such a magnificent country with sooooo much to explore. In 3 weeks we barely scratched the surface.


  6. M-R says:

    Dismayed to learn that thoughtless people still climb it, Joanne – I thought no-one did any more. :-\
    Comparing your two photos, it’s easy to see that Kata Tjuta is exactly like Uluru but those vertical cracks weathered over time. I wonder why Uluru’s didn’t ? Must look into that. 🙂


    • joannesisco says:

      I hadn’t even heard of Kata Tjuta before I went to Australia. We were able to hike a trail through some of the domes and it was pretty amazing.
      I don’t know if Kata Tjuta started out as a single rock like Uluru or if it always was multiple domes. I didn’t find anything in my research that suggested it one way or the other.


  7. Sacred places. A post for the future?


  8. Breath taking, what amazing pictures! xx


  9. nancytex2013 says:

    I keep threatening to visit my aunt and cousins in Australia. One of these days…


  10. sueslaght says:

    Fantastic photos Joanne. This is definitely on my bucket list. Just recently Annie from Unsporty Women Can Run in Tasmania was telling me I must visit Uluru and The Olgas. I didn’t not the latter so thank you for the tour.


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