Of all the natural tourist attractions in Australia, Ayers Rock would be the most recognized around the world and almost every international traveler coming to the country will want to holiday here. The rock is known as "Uluru" by its Aboriginal custodians and it plays an integral part in their customs and culture. The rock is the world's largest monolith. It has a height of 320 meters above the surrounding plain and a circumference of around 8 kilometers. It is an ancient rock formation dating back some 500 million years. Like the iceberg, much of its bulk lies beneath the surface of the surrounding plain. It was named after the Premier of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers, by its European discoverer the explorer and surveyor William Gosse. The Aboriginal people believe that there is hollow ground beneath the rock that is the energy source of their "Dreamtime". The rock is about 450 kilometers from Alice Springs.
Ayers Rock is situated about 450 kilometers from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Its nearest settlement is the town of Yulara and this is the place to stay. Ayers Rock resort is situated here and all the accommodation for visitors to Uluru is located in Yulara. There is also a domestic airport so you can fly in direct, stay at the resort, take a tour of Ayers rock and other nearby attractions like "The Olga's" and Kings Canyon and then fly out again as part of your holiday. There is also a day tour from Alice Springs so if you are travelling on the Ghan you can take a day trip to Ayers Rock. Many travelers taking a campervan holiday around the country also come to Yulara to see the rock and there are excellent facilities for this type of traveler.
The local Aboriginal custodians of the rock are the Anangu people. They are actively involved in the tourism industry that has grown up in their midst. They provide tour guides to ensure that each visitor has the opportunity to see the rock from their point of view and to explain the significance of each part of the rock. There is a walking tour around the rock with an Anangu guide that is the best way to experience this international icon. Many people do climb the rock however the local people would prefer that you did not. If you choose to climb you need to be reasonably fit. There are several plaques at the base of the climb that remind you of the deaths of a number of past climbers from heart attacks and the like.
An Australian holiday that does not include a visit to Ayers Rock could only be considered to be half a holiday so make sure it is part of your travelling itinerary.
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