I will never forget that moment I saw Uluru for the first time. It was magic!
We drove out from Yulara, the small township that lies north of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and there it was in the distance, blazing up proudly toward the sky. As we drove closer toward it, I was speechless, which for me, is a rarity. I was in awe of this Australian icon I grew up hearing stories about, yet nothing could ever prepare me for this moment. I never expected it would have this effect on me. I became emotional and teary and turned to John and said, ‘It is so amazing. I’m so happy right now I could cry. And I’m so grateful we are experiencing this together’. He looked at me and for a moment I think he thought I was a bit crazy, but then he smiled.
The closer we got, the more impressive it was. It is big. Really, really big!! It rises 348 metres, has a girth of 9.4km and at least two-thirds of the ‘Rock’ lies beneath the earth surface, but those numbers may not make sense until you are standing beside this massive monolith.
Due to wet weather the day we arrived, Uluru was closed to walk up and to be honest; I had earlier considered climbing it, but as soon as I was onsite, that thought wasn’t even an option. The only way I will describe it is it just wasn’t necessary to experience this Natural Wonder. The Aboriginal people ask that you respect Uluru and not to climb, that it is a sacred site and significant to their culture and I agree and respect this. I’m sure in years to come, climbing won’t even be an option.
I’ll guarantee you that the majority of ‘tourism’ images you see will always have the famous rock standing tall with a blue sky backdrop. Don’t get sucked into the ‘perfect weather scenario’ because even in the wet, the magic of Uluru shines through. We were lucky to see the area on both a rainy and sunny day. During the wet, the waterfalls run off the rock, the colours of the algae glisten, and the sound of trickling into the waterhole is relaxing. After John and I had walked along the path, taking in an area, capturing footage for our blog, I took off to walk around the base and appreciated the timeout. I’d highly recommend walking around Uluru if you have the time as there are no two same views at any section and you get to witness the caves, rock art and hidden waterholes.
There is honestly no words I can share with you that will appropriately describe what you will experience when you come into the presence of Uluru. You have to be there to understand. One thing I learnt in my earlier years exploring the world was to be wary of other peoples ‘travel tips’ as you’re guaranteed to be either disappointed or tend to follow the paths of others and not explore your interests and instincts. So I’m not going to tell you that Uluru will have the same effect on you or that it’s a ‘Must Do’ travel destination. You will either make the trip at the right time for you or you won’t. I will say this, though; I do believe that all Australians should experience the greatness of the ‘Red Centre’. There was an additional sense of pride that I took away after being in the presence of this national beauty.
- Another alternative to walking around Uluru is to hire a bike and cycle around the base. Check out www.outbackcycling.com for details.
- If you’re ‘roughing it’ and want a nice spot for a drink, the ‘Walpa Bar’ in the lobby of ‘Sails in the Desert’ is lovely.
- The ‘Field of Light’ art installation, by artist Bruce Munro is a spectacular delight. Bookings are essential. Book at the Tour & Information Centre of your hotel reception. Open until December 2020.
- Make time to visit the Cultural Centre at Uluru. Open daily from 7am – 6pm, it includes indigenous artwork, extensive interpretational displays, historical documentaries and insight into the wildlife in the area.
- For an tasty meal with an affordable price tag, check out the ‘Bough House Restaurant’ at the Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge.
- During ‘Peak Season’ the Ayers Rock Campground (caravan park) books up very quickly so if possible, book ahead to secure a spot.
- Check Wikicamps for the ‘Free Camp’ option North of Yulara. (*Edit – This may now be closed)
A quick clip of us driving toward Uluru for the first time.