– Uluru Rock –
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 (208 mi) south west of the nearest large town, Alice Springs; 450 km (280 mi) by road.Kata Tjuta and Uluru are the two major features of the Ulu?u-Kata Tju?a National Park. Uluru is sacred to the A?angu, the Aboriginal people of the area. The area around the formation is home to a plethora of springs, waterholes, rock caves andancient paintings. Uluru is listed as a World Heritage Site.
Uluru is one of Australia’s most recognisable natural landmarks. The sandstone formation stands 348 m (1,142 ft) high (rising 863 m/2,831 ft above sea level), with most of its bulk lying underground, and has a total circumference of 9.4 km (5.8 mi). Both Uluru and the nearby Kata Tjuta formation have great cultural significance for the A?angu people, the traditional inhabitants of the area, who lead walking tours to inform visitors about the local flora and fauna, bush foods and theAboriginal dreamtime stories of the area. Uluru is notable for appearing to change colour at different times of the day and year, most notably glowing red at dawn and sunset. Although rainfall is uncommon in this semiarid area, during wet periods the rock acquires a silvery-grey colour, with streaks of black algae forming on the areas that serve as channels for water flow. Kata Tjuta, also called Mount Olga or The Olgas, lies 25 km (16 mi) west of Uluru. Special viewing areas with road access and parking have been constructed to give tourists the best views of both sites at dawn and dusk
Fauna and flora
Historically, 46 species of native mammals are known to have been living near Uluru; according to recent surveys there are currently 21. A?angu acknowledge that a decrease in the number has implications for the condition and health of the landscape. Moves are supported for the reintroduction of locally extinct animals such as Malleefowl, Common Brushtail Possum, Rufous Hare-wallaby or Mala, Bilby, Burrowing Bettong and the Black-flanked Rock-wallaby.
The Mulgara, the only mammal listed as vulnerable, is mostly restricted to the transitional sand plain area, a narrow band of country that stretches from the vicinity of Uluru to the Northern boundary of the park and into Ayers Rock Resort. This area also contains the marsupial mole, Woma Python and Great Desert Skink. The bat population of the park comprises at least seven species that depend on day roosting sites within caves and crevices of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Most of the bats forage for aerial prey within 100 m (330 ft) or so from the rock face. The park has a very rich reptile fauna of high conservation significance with 73 species having been reliably recorded. Four species of frog are abundant at the base of Uluru and Kata Tjuta following summer rains. The Great Desert Skink is listed as vulnerable. A?angu continue to hunt and gather animal species in remote areas of the park and on A?angu land elsewhere. Hunting is largely confined to the Red Kangaroo, Bush Turkey, Emu and lizards such as the Sand Goanna andPerentie.
Of the 27 mammal species found in the park, six are introduced: the house mouse, camel, fox, cat, dog and rabbit. These species are distributed throughout the park but their densities are greatest near the rich water run-off areas of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park flora represents a large portion of plants found in Central Australia. A number of these species are considered rare and restricted in the park or the immediate region. There are many rare andendemic plants in the park. The growth and reproduction of plant communities rely on irregular rainfall. Some plants are able to survive fire and some are dependent on it to reproduce. Plants are an important part of Tjukurpa, and there are ceremonies for each of the major plant foods. Many plants are associated with ancestral beings.
Flora in Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park can be broken into the following categories:
- Punu – trees
- Puti – shrubs
- Tjulpun-tjulpunpa – flowers
- Ukiri – grasses
Trees such as the Mulga and Centralian Bloodwood are used to make tools such as spearheads, boomerangs and bowls. The red sap of the bloodwood is used as a disinfectant and an inhalant for coughs and colds. There are several rare and endangered species in the park. Most of them, like Adder’s Tongue ferns, are restricted to the moist areas at the base of the formation, which are areas of high visitor use and subject to erosion. Since the first Europeans arrived, 34 exotic plant species have been recorded in the park, representing about 6.4% of the total park flora. Some, such as perennial buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris), were introduced to rehabilitate areas damaged by erosion. It is the most threatening weed in the park and has spread to invade water- and nutrient-rich drainage lines. A few others, such as burrgrass, were brought in accidentally, carried on cars and people.
Admission to the park costs A$25 per person, (at time of writing this) and provides a three day pass. Passes are non-transferable and all passes are checked by park rangers.
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/0.5 mi) and steep hike to the top, where it can be quite windy. It is recommended individuals drink plenty of water whilst climbing, and those who are unfit, suffer from vertigo or medical conditions restricting exercise, do not attempt it. Climbing Uluru is generally closed to the public when high winds are recorded at the top. There have been at least 35 deaths relating to recreational climbing since such incidents began being recorded. The local A?angu do not climb Uluru because of its great spiritual significance. They request that visitors do 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.
The visitors guide says “the climb is not prohibited, but we prefer that, as a guest on A?angu land, you will choose to respect our law and culture by not climbing.” On 11 December 1983, Prime Minister Bob Hawke promised to hand back the land title to the A?angu traditional owners and agreed to the community’s 10-point plan which included forbidding the climbing of Uluru. However, the government set access to climb Uluru and a 99-year lease, instead of the previously agreed upon 50-year lease, as conditions before the title was officially given back to the A?angu. In 2009, the Australian government indicated that climbing Uluru may no longer be allowed under the proposed “Draft Management Plan 2009–2019?. The public has been invited to comment on the plan prior to submission to the Minister for the Environment. Several controversial incidents in 2010, including a striptease, golfing and nudity on top of Uluru, have led to renewed calls for banning the climb
Discover a wealth of information on travelling by Motorhome, Caravan or Boat when planning your holiday or trip of a lifetime
Which ever way you wish to travel, do it with style!