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Uluru/Ayers Rock was first discovered by Europeans in the early 1870's though there is evidence of human habitation in this area going back more than 10,000 years. The English name of Ayers Rock was given by the surveyor William Gosse in 1873, who named it in honour of the then current Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. Up until recently, the English name was the one most commonly used, but in 1993 the traditional Aboriginal name was officially accepted along with the adoption of a dual-naming policy, becoming Ayers Rock/Uluru. However, in 2002 a request to reverse the order of the names was accepted and it became Uluru/Ayers Rock.


Uluru/Ayers Rock is a sandstone rock formation which stands 348 metres (1,142 feet) high and is situated in southern Northern Territory 280 miles (450 kilometres) by road from the nearest major town, Alice Springs . The rock formation is huge, though you really can't get a feel for its size from photographs. To put it in perspective, if you were to walk around the bottom of Uluru you would walk a distance of 5.8 miles (9.4 km)!

Uluru is located within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed for both its natural and cultural importance. Uluru is sacred to the local Aboriginal groups who operate walking tours of the local area in an effort to educate visitors on the importance of Uluru and inform about the local flora and fauna. The locals do not climb Uluru because of its sacred status and although they request that visitors do not climb the rock, climbing is still legally permitted. However, the 0.5 mile (800 metres) climb is tougher than you might think!

Tourism began in the area in the mid 1930's and by the 1950's tour bus services began. Demands for accommodation and services within easy reach of Uluru were answered and a number of motels and a campground were opened. By the 1970's the adverse effects of these were becoming apparent though and the decision was made to establish a reserve around Uluru and move all tourist facilities outside of this reserve. So the resort town of Yulara was established, just 11.25 miles (18km) from Uluru, giving tourists somewhere to stay in the area.

Unless you're on a road trip the easiest way to get to Uluru is by plane, landing at the nearby Connellan Airport . Flights from the major cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns are available with a journey time of just a few hours.

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