- Hiking / Trekking
- Place or Religious Monument
- Unesco World Heritage
Ayers Rock is a quite remarkable site, and definitely one of the essential places to see when visiting Australia. Used as an actual symbol for the country itself, it is too often forgotten that it also has great religious significance for the aboriginal Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara peoples, who quite literally venerate it.
Though it is possible to climb up to the 350-metre high summit, you should bear in mind that the aboriginal tribes consider this offensive due to it being a sacred site. I did, however, get to see and admire some magnificent several-thousand-year-old rock paintings here.
I advise you to avoid visiting Ayers Rock on a day trip from Alice Springs (more than 1,000 kilometres in total) if you possibly can. Stay a little longer here, at the heart of the desert, and enjoy the magic of the site without all the tourists around.
Ayers Rock, from now on called Uluru, its Aboriginal name, is a must see on any Australian journey. As well as being a sacred Aboriginal place, it is a unique site in the middle of the desert which left me speechless.
I recommend that you go there either at sunrise or sunset. I saw both of them myself, and it's a magnificent show even if it's very touristy. At sunrise, it is then possible to walk around the sacred mountain (around 10km), but it is essential to leave very early in the morning to avoid the intense heat and a large number of people on the route!
Whilst walking around it, you can see several Aboriginal paintings and learn a little more about this culture. Some people chose to climb the mountain, something I didn't do due to the sacred character of the place and the respect that is owed to it. Uluru will remain one of my most beautiful memories of the country.