Sunday, June 19, 2011


We finally made it to Uluru, one of the last stops on our epic road trip.  Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is about a 4 hour drive southwest of Alice Springs.

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the middle of the desert.  It has been a sacred place to the local Aboriginal tribe, the Anangu, for thousands of years.  Today, it is a major tourist site for Australia and in some ways as associated with the country as the kangaroo.

For the tourist, this large rock is a surreal experience.  The peculiar red sandstone changes colors depending on the angle of the sun and the position of the viewer.  We chose to walk around the base of Uluru, a trek of 10.4km.  We were struck by the way the rock changed with each step--giving a new perspective and insight.

The rock has several near-permanent waterholes that were important for the Anangu in this harsh, desert environment.  There are several areas that remain sacred and off limits to visitors and also several rock art sites.

After our hike, we stopped at the Aboriginal cultural center and reviewed the significance of Uluru to the local Anangu people.  Like most similar experiences in Australia, the cultural center does a good job of describing the relationship of Aborigines to the land and traditional foods.  However, gaining any real insight into the longest surviving culture on earth is frustrating and fleeting at best.

We finished our day by viewing Uluru at sunset.  As the sun sets, the rock changes color.  The picture at the beginning of this post is shortly before sunset and this is shortly after sunset.

Kilometers travelled - 634
Total kilometers travelled - 9792

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