Uluru (Ayers Rock)
“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” Unknown
Why This Peak?
Making the pilgrimage to Uluru (Ayers Rock) has long been something that I have wanted to see since Oprah went there about six years ago. Uluru is a sacred place for the Aboriginal people of the area. It is known as a deeply spiritual place that defies description.
It is controversial to hike to the top of Uluru. It is considered quite a dangerous climb and a number of people have perished. The Aboriginal people request that visitors not hike Uluru, but many still do.
Peak & Route Facts
Uluru /ˌuːləˈruː/, also known as Ayers Rock and officially gazetted as “Uluru / Ayers Rock”, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in central Australia. It is one of Australia’s most recognizable natural landmarks. It lies 335 km (208 mi) south west of the nearest large town, Alice Springs, 450 km (280 mi) by road.
Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. The area around the formation is home to an abundance of springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Uluru is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Uluru and Kata Tjuta, also known as the Olgas, are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park.
Uluru is notable for appearing to change colour at different times of the day and year, most notably when it glows red at dawn and sunset.
It takes 3.5 hours to fly to Uluru from Sydney as it’s so remote.
Historical and Cultural Information
Archaeological findings to the east and west of Uluru indicate that humans settled in the area more than 10,000 years ago. Europeans arrived in the Australian Western Desert in the 1870s. Uluru and Kata Tjuta were first mapped by Europeans in 1872 during the expeditionary period made possible by the construction of the Australian Overland Telegraph Line. In separate expeditions, Ernest Giles and William Gosse were the first European explorers to this area. The first tourists arrived in the Uluru area in 1936.
On 26 October 1985, the Australian government returned ownership of Uluru to the local Pitjantjatjara Aborigines, with one of the conditions being that the Aṉangu would lease it back to the National Parks and Wildlife agency for 99 years and that it would be jointly managed.
Australia officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world’s sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. Australia’s capital is Canberra, and its largest urban area is Sydney.
For about 50,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who spoke languages classifiable into roughly 250 groups. After the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia’s eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 by James Cook and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788.
The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. A gold rush began in Australia in the 1850s.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states and several territories. The current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II and the current prime minister is Malcolm Turnbull. The population of 24 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. The final constitutional ties between Australia and the UK were severed with the passing of the Australia Act 1986, ending any British role in the government of the Australian States, and closing the option of judicial appeals to the Privy Council in London.