AYERS ROCK, ULURU AND THE OLGAS - KATA TJUTA
The Ayers Rock, Uluru National Park in Central Australia is one of the world's
better known landmarks. Steeped in aboriginal mythology, and stunning in its
appearance and sheer size, it has been a magnet to visitors for years. This
popularity has resulted in the building of a modern tourism complex 'Yulara',
completed in 1984, a major airport and other visitor facilities.
Ayers Rock (Uluru) was named by explorer William Gosse who visited there
in July, 1873, and named it after Henry Ayers, then Governor of South Australia,
The largest monolith in the world, it rises 348 metres above the surrounding
plains and is nearly 9km. around its base. Some 30km. west are the Olgas (many
heads) a group of domes of which Mt. Olga, a massive outcrop, is the tallest.
The Ayers Rock-Mt Olga/ Uluru National Park lies 478km. south-west of Alice
Springs and is accessible by plane, coach or private vehicle. The all-bitumen
Lasseter Highway to the National Park was opened in September 1983.
In the 1980's the Australian Federal Government considered in its wisdom
that the future of Australia would best be served by giving Ayers Rock to the
indigenous aboriginals and then leasing it back. It is now under aboriginal
management and is a National Park. Yulara Village has plenty of accommodation
and facilities in the village are adequate. Coach tours, hire cars and air transport
are all available to Uluru from Alice Springs and major cities.
The rock itself is renowned for its changing colours as the light reflects
from its surface at different times of the day. A climb at the western end provides
access to the summit, however it is only recommended for those of average or
better fitness. Deviating from the marked track is dangerous and several people
have fallen over the years.
Significant points of interest are 'The Climb', 'Maggie's Springs', the
'Kangaroo Tail', and 'The Brain'.
Mount Olga (Katatjula) is some 25 km. west of Ayers Rock and has a number
of walks for visitors. 'The Olgas' are a spectacular collection of rocks, carved
by erosion and time, and offer plenty of variety in photographic and painting
There is an entrance fee to Uluru National Park, and professional photographers
will need a permit in advance to take photographs or film, and sun-hats and
creams are advised.