Ayers Rock – Uluru


Yulara Ayers Rock Tours and Attractions

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. It lies 335 km southwest of the nearest large town, Alice Springs; 450 km by road. Together with Kata Tjuta, Uluru forms one of two landmarks that are the main features of the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area. It has many springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Uluru is listed as a World Heritage Site for its natural and man-made attributes.

In October 1872 the explorer Ernest Giles was the first non-indigenous person to sight the rock formation. He saw it from a considerable distance, and was prevented by Lake Amadeus from approaching closer. He described it as “the remarkable pebble”. On 19 July 1873, the surveyor William Gosse visited the rock and named it Ayers Rock in honour of the then-Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. The Aboriginal name was first recorded by the Wills expedition in 1903. Since then, both names have been used, although Ayers Rock was the most common name used by outsiders until recently.

Ayers Rock Climate

The park receives an average rainfall of 307.7 mm per year, and average temperatures are 37.8 °C  in the summer and 4.7 °C in the winter. Temperature extremes in the park have been recorded at 45 °C during the summer and -5 °C  during winter nights.
UV levels are extreme most days, averaging between 11 and 15.

Local Aboriginal people recognise five seasons:

1. Piriyakutu (August/September) – Animals breed and food plants flower

2. Mai Wiyaringkupai (November/December) – The hot season when food becomes scarce

3. Itjanu (January/February/March) – Sporadic storms can roll in suddenly

4. Wanitjunkupai (April/May) – Cooler weather

5. Wari (June/July) – Cold season bringing morning frosts

Climbing the Rock

The local Anangu do not climb Uluru because of its great spiritual significance.
They request that visitors not climb the rock, partly due to the path crossing a sacred traditional Dreamtime track, and also due to a sense of responsibility for the safety of visitors to their land.

Climbing Uluru is a popular attraction for visitors. A chain handhold added in 1964 and extended in 1976 makes the hour long climb easier, but it is still a long 800 m and steep hike to the top, where it can be quite windy. An above-average level of fitness and a high tolerance to the extreme hot desert conditions is required.
Over the years there have been at least 35 deaths relating to climbing the rock.