Ayers Rock, or Uluru, is a well oiled machine. Not the rock of course, but the resort and National Park complex. We got our first taste of The Rock the night before while enjoying a dinner under the stars at the Sounds of Silence experience, but even that really didn’t prepare us for the full beauty of Uluru.
We decided that the best way to learn more not just about Uluru, but the traditional custodians of the area, the Anangu, was through a special Anangu tour. We opted for the sunrise trip, which first took us to a viewing platform to watch the day break over the rock just as it’s done every day for the last 500 million years.
We of course weren’t alone, winter is the busy season for central Australia, but I was still able to pick a great vantage point from which to watch the massive stone wonder. The sunrise was breathtaking of course, further cementing in my mind why it’s in consideration to be named one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the world. After we had all snapped our photos and enjoyed a cup or two of hot chocolate, it was time for the cultural education.
At the Cultural Centre located within the National Park itself we met our Anangu guide, Sammy, and his interpreter. I’ll write about this experience in much greater detail, but it was a remarkable experience to walk along the base of the rock with Sammy as he told us more about his people and their traditions. The two hours flew by and I was sad to suspend our education for the day.
It wasn’t the last time I would see Uluru though, I still had two more unique ways to experience the best the park has to offer. In the afternoon we joined up with Ayers Rock Helicopters for a thirty-minute flight highlighting both The Rock as well as the other nearby stone megaliths, the Olgas, or Kata Tjuta. While The Olgas don’t get the same attention as does Uluru, I was deeply impressed by them and thrilled to have had the opportunity to see them from the air.
That evening, just as the sun was setting beneath the horizon, I drove back to the National Park to capture the dwindling sunlight over Uluru. In one day I had seen the many faces and colors of Uluru, and I wanted to make sure I captured one of the most beautiful.
It can easily be said that this was the Day of the Rock, and it definitely was. But the busy day was only a brief introduction to the stunning beauty and wonder that is Uluru.