Destination Bucket List: Ayers Rock

Let’s venture into a mystic place where the legends are richer than the ground you’ll walk on. “Down under” is our destination for your one big great adventure for mysticism, culture, and belief go hand in hand. Speaking of walks, the Australian Aboriginal has a rite of passage known as the “walkabout” for male adolescent aboriginals; this period is lived in the wilderness for the duration of about six months making the spiritual transition into manhood. Having mentioned this, consider this journey as your own personal “walkabout.”

Legends Of How The Rock Was Formed

Before we begin with our journey, let’s go back to the time when legends are as tangible as the sand coursing through your fingers from the outback desert. Adapting to a dual name policy in 1993 allowing both English name and its aboriginal counterpart to be used, Ayers Rock, or Uluru, can be used interchangeably to refer to the same rock formation that dominates the southern part of the Northern Territory in central Australia known as Red Centre.

Now an official UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area around the rock formation is surrounded by an abundant array of springs, watering holes, caves and ancient paintings. The rock is just over a thousand feet high and almost three thousand feet above sea level with a circumference of almost six miles. It’s a sight for sore eyes during dusk and dawn where the formation appears to glow red, making you actually want to believe the legends that surrounds the rumours of how it came about.

Several stories have circulated since time immemorial and have been passed down from generation to generation of how the rock came about. There are several accounts that are in the fantastical level to say the least; tales vary from two boys playing in the mud after the rain, fighting afterwards until they made their way to the table topped Mount Conner where their bodies are preserved as boulders.

Stories refer to serpent beings waging wars around Ayers rock in turn scarring the rock formation. Others tell tales of two tribes of ancestral spirits who were invited to a feast but were so distracted by the beautiful Sleepy Lizard Women that they failed to appear. The hosts grew angry for having been stood up and sang curses to a mud sculpture that transformed into a dingo. Another story told is that a great war was waged that lead to the death of both leaders of the two tribes. It was said that the earth itself rose up in grief which now manifests as the great Uluru.

Now, science tells us that it’s easier to believe that the rock is a former mountain and its form today is naturally caused by erosion over the years, but the legends are far more interesting to listen to right? To know more about the rich history surrounding Ayers Rock, the Cultural Centre is the best place to start your journey. Touch base with the roots of Aṉangu or the Australian Aborigine. You can learn more about the art, the culture and most importantly, the people and their connection with the country.

Means of Getting There and When to Go

King's Canyon

Getting to Ayers Rock is quite easy, for the transport options are narrowed down to just two. Flying is the fastest way as it takes visitors directly to Ayers Rock Airport at Yulara. Want to travel at your own leisurely pace? You can! Some travelers opt to drive to Uluru and explore the great Australian outback while they’re at it. Passing by the Northern Territory’s famous Red Centre way, it gives visitors a scenic view of King’s Canyon, the West MacDonnell Ranges and Alice Springs, another four and a half hours’ worth of drive will take you to Ayers Rock.

The recommended months to visit are between May and September as the weather is relatively cooler. This season offers more surprises to its visitors as the rock is said to illuminate a more vibrant color. Likewise, hidden waterfalls and the wildlife are more visable during these times. A fair warning to those travelling during summertime between December to February, it is recommended to do the trek only during the morning around 11am as it gets really warm afterwards. A bottle of water to keep you hydrated is a big help.

What to Expect on the Hike

As expected, natural beauty usually equates to its very natural dangers as well. We are, after all, is right smack in the middle of Mother Nature’s sanctuary and nature’s wrath is apparent in raw and uncontrolled environments like this one. Several travel sites have the same warning, the climb is treacherous and strenuous, it is not for the weak, so take heed. Assess your personal limitation as well and those with you on the trip. Take warning signs seriously and monitor weather forecasts.

Start at ground zero. Do an experiential walk around the base of Uluru. Encompassing an estimated 10km loop, see the manifestation of the richness of Aboriginal culture, see the different contours and textures of the rock. Several guided tours are available at the park to give you a clearer perspective of the place and to discover the spots that you can go like waterholes and caves.

Be careful with what you take. It is reported that those who take rocks as souvenirs suffer from misfortune and ill-luck. Countless have tried to send back the “souvenirs” they got to various agencies with the hope of reversing the “curse” that has befallen them.

Ayers Rock at its Finest

Kata Tjuta Dune Walk

The life-changing part is this: experience the Kata Tjuta Dune Walk, this walk is short enough not to tire you so you can enjoy the scenic view of the landscapes. The best part is that this is the perfect spot to witness the changing of colors of Ayers Rock during sunrise and sunset. The sight can prove to be very peaceful to some, even spiritual to others.

So, how was your walkabout? Good? Refreshing? Enlightening? Just remember, your memories are the ultimate souvenir, it’s not overpriced, it’s unbreakable, it’s timeless and it won’t take up too much space.