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Most Googled questions: Uluru

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Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is one of Australia’s most iconic sites. Situated in the heart of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park this is an area of extreme evocative spirituality. A trip here offers the opportunity to experience the ancient culture and traditions with an Aboriginal guide.

Get a bird's-eye view of this island mountain by helicopter or hot air balloon. Or, why not ride across the red desert on a Harley Davidson motorcycle or on the back of a camel.

If you’ve got some last-minute hang-ups that are holding you back from this journey of cultural enlightenment, then fear not.

Is Uluru in Alice Springs?

No, Uluru is situated 335 km south west of its nearest large town, Alice Springs. The distance covers 450 km by road which equates to a drive time of approximately 5hr 15.

Where is Uluru?

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a part of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park situated in Australia’s outback in the Northern Territory. It is set in the southern part of the Northern Territory, in central Australia.

When was Uluru discovered?

Uluru is a sacred site for Indigenous Australians so its difficult to determine when the landmark was first discovered.

What we do know is that the first recording of its discovery was on 19 July 1873, when surveyor William Gosse first sighted the landmark.

How did Uluru get its name?

When he sighted the landmark in 1873, William Gosse named it Ayers Rock. This was in honour of the then Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. Both names have been used since. On 15 December 1993, Uluru was officially given a dual name, in recognition of its importance to Aboriginal people of Australia.

Is Uluru a world heritage site?

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is recognised worldwide as a World Heritage area.

How was Uluru formed?

Geologists have concluded that 550 million years ago the Petermann Ranges to the west of the national park were significantly taller than they are now. Rainwater flowing down the mountains eroded sand and rock and deposited it in large fan-like shapes on the surrounding plain.

One fan had mainly water-smoothed rocks. The other fan was mainly sand. Both fans became kilometres thick. 500 millions years ago, the whole area became submerged under the sea. Sand and mud fell to the bottom of the sea and covered the seabed, including the fans.

The weight of the settlement turned the fans beneath into rock. The rocky fan became conglomerate rock. The sand fan turned into sandstone.Then, approximately 400 million years ago, the sea had disappeared and the whole of central Australia began to be put under immense pressure as rocks folded and tilted. The rocky fan tilted slightly and the sand fan tilted 90 degrees so the layers of sandstone almost stood on end.

Over the last 300 million years, the softer rocks eroded away, leaving the parts of the old fans exposed. Uluru is part of the sand fan, with its beds of sandstone nearly vertical. The area surrounding Uluru was covered in windblown sand plains and dunes approximately 30,000 years ago.

Uluru is the tip of a huge rock that continues below the ground for possibly five to six kilometres. Uluru is compiled of arkose, a type of sandstone rich in feldspar which also contains iron oxide, contributing to the landmark’s reddish hue.

How was Uluru dreamtime formed?

Dreamtime represents the essence of the Aboriginal people of Australia's society, as well as their cultural traditions and spirituality. Dreamtime is when ancestors, gods and living mortals unite to learn the heritage and customs of the Aboriginal people. It is the centre of everything the Aboriginal Australians believe in, and there aren’t many other sacred sites that are as prolific as Uluru.

Their belief is that Uluru was created at the beginning of time by 10 ancestors, or spirit people, of the Aboriginal people.


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