Ayers Rock, Australia

Ayers Rock, Australia, which is now officially known by its aboriginal name "Uluru," is a gigantic rock that rises up out of the ground and towers over the surrounding land in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Land Down Under. It is of tremendous importance to Australia, both as an iconic national symbol, and as a place with deep cultural and spiritual significance to the local aboriginals.

Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the entire Kata Tjuta National Park is administered jointly by the local Anangu people and Parks Australia. The Anangu people cherish Uluru because in this harsh desert outback region, the stone serves as an important source of water. It is also deeply evocative of their traditional culture and mythology, in which it has always played a central role.

Ayers Rock is composed of layers of hardened sandstone. The reason it looks orange or reddish brown is because of the effects of oxidization on the sandstone. On the northwest and southeast sides of the massive rock, erosion has created narrow paths for water to travel down, so after storms these paths become filled with rain water and drain as water falls that reach the ground below. This became the source of much of the Anangu's drinking water.

Uluru offers spectacular views of the inhospitable land surrounding it, and it's fun to have a look around at the summit. It can, however, be dangerous to climb all the way to the summit because of the steepness of the climb, lack of proper trails, and incredibly strong winds that sometimes come. Every year somebody dies attempting to climb, or descend from, the summit. The local authorities discourage climbing, and unless you are an expert outdoorsman and climber you should consider a helicopter tour that can safely transport you so you can see the expansive views without risking your safety.

Source by Paul Jorgensen

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