The heart of Australia
Biophilia: according to the biologist Edward O. Wilson, «an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world» (Oxford Languages).
The word originates from Greek and literally means «love of life or living things» and indicates a feeling of fascination and communion with nature.
The heart of Australia, Australia’s Red Centre, the spiritual heart of Australia, Ayers Rock… Whatever you call it, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is one of the most magical places in the country; it’s the land of the Anangu people who have populated the area since thousands of years, venerating one of the largest monoliths of the world: Uluru – which is only the tip of an iceberg if we wanna say it like this, as it rises 348 meters above the surface but it still extends approximately 6 kilometers underground.
Discovered around 1870 by Ernest Giles, it was then the explorer William Gosse who named it after Sir Henry Ayers, Chief Secretary of South Australia at that time.
In the ancient Aboriginal history this landscape goes back to the beginning of time when three ancestors created the land. For the Indigenous people of Australia in fact, Uluru is not just a rock but a living and breathing being to which they feel especially connected, therefore since 2019 it’s not allowed anymore to climb it and it’s not even allowed to freely take photos: for the Aboriginals taking photos of holy places is a huge lack of respect, so there are designated spots for that and photos for commercial purpose must have an official authorization (that can be quite expensive also).
The magic of this iconic place is certainly connected to its spirituality and even if you are not a spiritual person, I guarantee you will still be impressed by the different colors that change depending on the time of the day: from blue and purple to red and orange, The Rock is actually just grey underneath but the rust (the oxidated iron on its surface) gives it that powerful red for which is known.
At 45 minutes drive from the Uluru is Kata Tjuta; the name means “many heads” and refers to the 36 domed rocks also known as The Olgas, for Queen Olga of Wurttemburg.
Most of the areas here are restricted to visitors to respect the Aboriginal traditions, but Walpa Gorge and the Valley of Wind are included in two of the walks allowed.
Things to know that may be helpful to organize your trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park:
1.You don’t need an organized tour: we independently booked our flight from Sydney, reserved a room in the Resort and decided what activities we wanted to join from the list on http://www.ayersrockresort.com.au (We booked the very suggestive Field of Lights Star pass and the Uluru Sunrise & Kata Tjuta; I regret not to have done the cycling around The Rock but our time was limited).
You can also be completely independent if you are willing to rent a car or if you have enough time to organize your own road trip from Alice Springs or anywhere else, just make sure to check the terms and conditions to camp in the Park.
2.The shuttle bus from and to Ayers Rock airport (the smallest I have ever been to) is complimentary; you’ll just need to check which one takes you to the hotel you have booked. Due to the very limited amount of flights per day, the shuttle service has fixed schedules – you can ask the reception of your facility for further details.
3.You need an entrance pass to the Park (38AUD for 3 consecutive days is the cheapest one); it can be purchased in advance by visiting the Ayers Rock Resort website.
4.Ayers Rock Resort is like a small city where about 2000 people live (the whole staff of the resort) so you will have a variety of choice for restaurants, bars and pubs but there is one supermarket only, IGA.
5.Everything in the resort is at walkable distance but you can choose to hop on the free resort shuttle that departs approximately every 20 minutes from 10.30am to 12.30am (it drives only in the Resort, therefore it doesn’t get to the National Park; for this, you can eventually purchase the hop on-hop off ticket on the website).
6.The area of the resort is home to a large variety of insects, small animals and reptiles.
When I was there (in March) many visitors were wearing a fly net but to be honest it wasn’t worth spending at least 10AUD for few flies that were as harmless as the cute and small Sandy Inland mice: with their cute big eyes, you can notice them running through your feet at dusk; don’t get scared and try not to step on them.
What may be more worrying than the flies, certainly are the 13 different species of snakes: only 8 of them are venomous but if you also are not an expert and come across one, you better assume it’s venomous and keep distance 😛
Most snakes only bites if disturbed so try to stay calm and wait for them to move away; if in worst case scenario you get bitten, seek immediate medical attention by dialing 000.
Once upon this World, in the Yulara region, Mother Nature made her magic again giving us the possibility to feel connected to a magical and spiritual land, the second most iconic place in Australia, a place that I have dreamed to visit for years; for the occasion of my birthday, she also gifted me with the most stunning sky, so clear that I was amazed to realize how I was looking at the Milky Way with my own naked eyes.
For many it’s just a rock; for Aboriginal people it’s a holy place; for me it’s a dream come true…
And what is Uluru for you?
Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page…
I’ll read ya!