Backpacking in Uluru (Ayers Rock)

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Backpacking in Uluru (Ayers Rock)

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Rising from the broad desert plain in the deep centre of Australia Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) is Australia’s most recognisable natural icon. The famous sandstone monolith stands 348 metres high and, like an iceberg, has most of its bulk below the surface.

When you visit Uluru on your gap year in Australia you can connect with the oldest living culture on earth and listen to the many local stories dating back to when time begun. 

Backpacking in Uluru ©TourismNT

Uluru is located 440 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Just 40 kilometres to the west of Uluru / Ayers Rock is Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas. This massive pile of rock domes dates back 500 million years.

Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta have great aboriginal cultural significance for the Anangu traditional landowners, who lead walking tours on the local flora and fauna, bush foods and the Aboriginal Dreamtime stories of the area.

Other points of interest in Uluru

Watarrka National Park, encompassing Kings Canyon, lies 300 kilometres to the north-east of Uluru and 310 kilometres west of Alice Springs.

Kings Canyon has 300-metre-high sandstone walls, walking trails, palm-filled crevices and views across the desert.

Hot air ballooning ©TourismNT

Nature in Uluru

While the Central Australian environment may at first seem stark - a barren landscape supporting spectacular rock formations - closer inspection reveals it as a complex ecosystem, full of life.

The spinifex-covered hills, sand plains, open woodlands, limestone ridges, watercourses and swamps of Central Australia’s Northern Territory contain a variety of plants and animals that have sustained the lives of Aboriginal people for generations. An intimate knowledge of the diverse range of flora and fauna is vital to support life in the remote areas of this harsh desert landscape. This knowledge has lead people to water supplies and the understanding of the medicinal properties of plants has assisted in healing injuries and ailments for thousands of years.

Uluru walking trails Uluru is 440 kilometres south west of Alice Springs, fascinates and inspires people from around the world. Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta have great cultural significance for the Anangu traditional landowners, who lead walking tours that inform about the local flora and fauna, bush foods and the Aboriginal Dreamtime stories of the area.

The Anangu people prefer visitors don’t climb Uluru because it’s a sacred site, so nowadays many visitors choose to do the Uluru base walking trails instead.