Situated in the heart of the Red Centre is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. It includes one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock), and the dome-shaped rock formations of Kata Tjuta, or the Olgas, which lie around 40 kilometers away.
Uluru is a massive sandstone monolith that rises 348 meters in the middle of the surrounding desert. It’s of sacred importance to the traditional custodians of the land, the Anangu people, who believe their ancestors created the landscape at the very beginning of time. Head to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre to learn more about the traditional law that guides the indigenous people here or take a dot painting workshop to discover how Aboriginal culture is expressed through art. You can also embark on a guided walk around the base of Uluru to learn more about the traditions and Dreamtime stories associated with the rock. However, the indigenous custodians request that you don’t climb it.
No trip to Uluru is complete without watching the sun rise and set over this magnificent landscape, with the rock transforming from pinks to purples and dark red with the changing light. You can also get a bird’s eye view of Uluru during a scenic helicopter or hot air balloon flight or traverse the surrounding landscape by camel.
A short drive from Uluru takes you to the 36 red-rock domes of Kata Tjuta, with these 500 million-year-old formations shrouded in mystery. A guided walk through the Valley of the Winds offers a fascinating insight into traditional bush tucker eaten by the indigenous community, together with sightings of rare native plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.