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4th April 2004
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 Holiday | Programmes | 50
Australia

Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Best time to go: Temperatures around Uluru can regularly reach 40C, so take plenty of water with you

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Craig Doyle
The red awe and splendour of Uluru landed it a respectable 12th place.

Formerly known as Ayers Rock, the 500 million year old Uluru is the single largest piece of rock in the planet.

Uluru is situated in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territories of Australia and stands 340 metres above the surrounding plains.

Uluru gets its brilliant red colour from arkose, a kind of red sandstone full of pink grains of the mineral feldspar. Visitors to Uluru are advised to see it at sunset, when the rock glows red. At other times of the day, colours range from orange to deep purple.

Ernest Gibbs, European explorer, named Uluru Ayers Rock after Sir Henry Ayers, Governor of South Australia in 1872. The park was then called Ayers Rock-Mount Olga National Park, but the name was changed in 1995 to acknowledge the Aboriginal ownership of the site.

Uluru belongs to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people who call themselves Anangu. They believe that at the time of creation, their ancestors, Kuniya (a python), Kurpany (an evil dog like creature) and Mala (a wallaby type creature) created Uluru.

Climbing Uluru is now discouraged as it goes against Anangu spiritual beliefs. The Anangu call the people who attempt to climb the rock the 'Minga Mob'. Minga means ant.

See our other report from Uluru.
   

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Price: Flights about £700

Approx flight time: 30 hours

  • 35 people have died attempting to climb the rock, mostly from falls and heart attacks
  • Uluru attracts up to 400,000 visitors per year
  • apparently Uluru means 'great pebble' in the Aboriginal language
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