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Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

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Oceania : Australasia : Australia : Northern Territory : Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
UluruUluru
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Uluru

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a park in the southern portion of the Northern Territory of Australia, part of the so-called Red Centre of the continent. The National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage area. It is best known for Uluru (formerly known as "Ayers Rock"), a single massive rock formation, and to a lesser extent for Kata Tjuta (formerly known as "The Olgas").

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uluru-kata tjuta national park Travel Guide :

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Cities

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Understand

Uluru is one of Australia's best known natural features, the long domed rock having achieved iconic status as one of the symbols of the continent. The rock is a so-called monolith, i.e. a single piece of rock or a giant boulder, extending about 5km beneath the desert plain and measuring 3.6 by 2.4km at the surface. It rises 348 meters above the plain (862.5 meters above sea level) and has a circumference of 9.4km. Some say that Uluru is the biggest of its kind, others say that Mount Augustus in Western Australia is bigger. Whilst this is true, the comparison is not completely valid because Mount Augustus is a monocline, i.e. a slab of exposed rock belonging to an underground layer. In other words, it is not a separate boulder. Biggest or not, standing in front of Uluru and seeing its massive bulk rise above the flat plain surrounding it, it is nothing less than impressive.

Valley of the Winds, Kata TjutaValley of the Winds, Kata Tjuta
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Valley of the Winds, Kata Tjuta

As the park's name indicates, Uluru is not the only protected feature. Not as well known, but definitely worth visiting is Kata Tjuta, a collection of 36 variously-sized rock domes 36 km to the west of Uluru. Although perhaps not as dramatic a sight as Uluru, Kata Tjuta has a more intimate atmosphere. Some geologists believe that once it may have been a monolith far surpassing Uluru in size, but that it eroded to several separate bulks of rock.

Both names come from the local Anangu (Aboriginal) people and respectively mean "Earth Mother" and "Many Heads". In the Anangu language they are written as Uluru and Kata Tjuta, the letters with underscores indicating that they are pronounced with the tongue curled upwards and touching the upper part of the palate instead of the front part or the teeth.

Apart from these two main features the park also protects hundreds of plant species, 24 native mammal species and 72 reptile species. To protect these, off-road access away from Uluru and Kata Tjuta is not allowed.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Get In

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

By car

  • From the north, in Alice Springs take the Stuart Highway (87) South for about 200km to Erldunda Roadhouse. Turn right onto the Lasseter Highway and 245km further on you arrive at Ayers Rock Resort (officially called Yulara). About an hour short of Yulara is Curtin Springs Station which offers a free camp site and other facilities. It's a sealed tarmac road - a bit of a sloping surface in places, but you can easily drive along at 120km/hr. Far more cars on the road than you would imagine, and every driver waves hello to you (that's what you get in these far off places!) Plenty of places to stop and picnic and get water, although no toilets unless you stop at an official roadhouse (few and far between). There's lots of wildlife to see too: camels, cows, dingos and birds.
  • To the south the nearest town is Coober Pedy. Take the Stuart Highway north to Erldunda, 550km away.
  • From the west the Docker River Road ends near Kata Tjuta. As this road is considered part of the Gunbarrel Highway, you will find detailed information in that article.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

By bus

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

By plane

Flights are available to Yulara. Many travellers also fly to Alice Springs and drive from there.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Get around

  • AAT Kings (http://www.aatkings.com.au/). ph 03 9915 1500. fax 03 9820 4088. email enquiries@aatkings.com.au. AAT Kings operate bus siteseeing tours of the park, including sunrise over Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Tours range from $40 to $150.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

See

  • Uluru -- there is a sunrise viewing point on the road around Uluru (northeast from the rock), and a sunset viewing point between the Kata Tjuta turn-off and the cultural center. (A pass is needed to get into the national park surrounding Uluru and Kata Tjuta - cost is $25 per person)
  • Kata Tjuta -- the Kata Tjuta viewing point is situated on the road leading to the domes (south from them).
  • The Cultural Centre --
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Do

  • Uluru base walk 9km which can be walked in a minimum of 2 hours if you are in a rush, or 4 hours if you stop to look at everything, read the signs and stories, etc - well worth doing, the rock looks so different from each different angle.
  • Olga Gorge Walk
  • Valley of the Winds walk
  • An Anangu tour
  • Sounds Of Silence Dinner Cost is $130 pp ($65 children 10-15 yrs old) which may seem steep but it is undoubtedly the best thing you will do whilst in the red centre. You are taken by coach from Yulara to the dining area in the desert (approx 10 min drive). On arrival you are guided to a viewing point where a didgeridoo is being played, and you get to view the sun setting on both Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) - magical! You are then led to a beautifully set dining area - all tables have hurricane candle lamps which make the setting very special. the food is out of this world and has won many awards - lots to choose from and eat as much as you like. Between the main course and dessert, an astronomer talks about the stars that are out that night - we saw Jupiter, Saturn, the Milky Way and the Southern Cross - awesome! An unforgettable evening and a real must-do! Bookings essential as Sounds of Silence is generally booked out 3 to 4 days in advance.
  • Camel to sunrise or sunset Another wonderful experience - cost is $95pp. You are taken from the resort to the camel farm where you are instructed on what you need to do. The owner is very friendly. When we reached the camel farm, all the camels were sat down ready to go, we climbed on with the assistance of the owner - the worst bit of a camel ride is getting up there - once you are on it's great! the camel trek was through surrounding desert, giving us good views all around with a talk on camel history and the area, before reaching a viewing point to watch the sun setting on Uluru. The camels were all well cared for animals, not at all smelly, and were all very well behaved - no grumpiness in sight! Once we arrived back at the camel farm we were treated to home made beer bread with wattle seed dip, camel meat, bush fruits and a variety of drinks. There was also the opportunity to purchase from the gift shop - all reasonably priced.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Sleep

Hotel and hostel accommodation for a range of budgets is available in Yulara just outside the park boundary, which was essentially founded for that purpose. There is no camping permitted within the park boundaries, and there is no accommodation other than in Yulara.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

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