Ayers Rock or Uluru is amongst the oldest rocks which are present on this planet; it is believed that it was formed about 500 million years ago. The rock appears to change its colour at different times of the day and year, most notably glowing red at dawn and sunset. It fascinates the visitors with its glowing and sizzling red colour and also mesmerizes them during rainfall, when it covers itself in white blanket, giving a most incredible look. But apart from being an eye-candy, Ayers Rock and its enclosing regions also hold a prehistoric religious value for the Anangu people, who are its traditional owners. The carved paintings and crevices on the rock indicate human settlements existed in this region some 10,000 years ago. Amongst the aboriginals, there are many myths and legends associated with the formation of this rock. Read on to get acquainted with some amazing and interesting facts about Ayers Rock.
State: Northern Territory
Elevation: 863 m
Prominence: 348 m
Total Circumference: 9.4 km
Interesting And Fun Facts About Ayers Rock
- Ayers Rock is a large sandstone formation and lies in central Australia.
- This rock is pious to the Anangu, who are the Aboriginal inhabitants of this region.
- The area surrounding Ayers Rock has large number of of waterholes, rock caves, springs and ancient paintings.
- The name Uluru has been given to the rock by the local Pitjantjatjara people. Although it does not have any specific meaning in Pitjantjatjara language, but is read as a local family name by senior traditional owners of Uluru.
- The surveyor William Gosse observed this landmark on 19th July 1873 and gave it the name ‘Ayers Rock’ in honour of the then Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. Since that time, this rock is called by both the names.
- It was renamed ‘Ayers Rock/Uluru’ on 15th December 1993 and became the first authorized dual-named feature in the Northern Territory. The order of the dual names was officially turned back to ‘Uluru/Ayers Rock’ on 6th November 2002 after a request from the Regional Tourism Association in Alice Springs.
- This rock is mainly made up of rough-grained arkose, which is a kind of sandstone characterized by a large quantity of feldspar together with some conglomerate. Standard composition of Ayers Rock is 50% of feldspar, 25-35% of quartz and up to 25% rock pieces. Most of the feldspar in this rock is K-feldspar.
- Uluru is famous for its change in colour. Depending on the position of the Sun and time of the year, it changes colour from shades of sizzling red, blue, pink, tantalizing mauve and brown, whereas rainfall forms a silver veil over the complete rock. The most notable colour change can be seen at dawn and dusk.
- In reality, Ayers Rock is grey in colour but the excessive amount of iron in the rock getting oxidised on the upper surface of the rock is the reason for the notable red colour and the change in different shades that it is well-known for.
- Kata Tjuta, also known as Mount Olga or the Olgas is 25 km west of Ayers Rock. To provide the visitors with awe-inspiring views of both sites at dusk and dawn, special viewing regions with parking and road access have been built.
- Uluru is an Inselberg, meaning ‘Island Mountain’. Inselberg is a term given to any isolated rock hill, knob or ridge that rises abruptly from a levelled plain or gentle sloping.
- The noteworthy aspect of this rock is its homogeneity and lack of jointing and parting at bedding surfaces, resulting in lack of development of scree slops and soil. Though characteristics played a major role in the survival of the rock, while the surrounding rocks were eroded.
- According to a current survey, there are around 21 species of native mammals which are living near Ayers Rock. These include Mulgara, Woma Python, Great Desert Skink and the Marsupial Mole. Also, actions for the reintroduction of locally extinct species such as Common Brushtail, Malleefowl, Rofous Hare-wallaby or Mala, Possum, Bilby, the Black-flanked Rock-wallaby and Burrowing Bettong are being taken.
- The region around the rock is inhabited by seven different species of bats, which depend on day roosting sites within the caves and fissures of Ayers rock and Kata Tjuta.
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park flora symbolises a large segment of plants found in Central Australia. Many of these types are regarded exceptional and are limited to the park or the immediate area. In addition to this, several indigenous plants are also found in the park.
- There are carvings and cave paintings at the bottom of the Ayers Rock which were made by Anangu people belonging to the Pitjantjatjara, Yankuntjatjara and Luritja language groups. These carvings and cave paintings date back to thousands of years.
- The famous attraction for the visitors is hiking IN the Ayers Rock. However, it is closed due to high winds which are recorded at the summit. Besides this, about 35 deaths have been recorded so far which were caused due to recreational climbing.
- Anangu, the local residents, do not ascend the rock as to them it is of great sacred importance.
- For reasons linked to cultural Tjukurpa beliefs, the inhabitants also request not to click pictures of some particular portions of and around Ayers Rock.
- Various notorious incidents took place in 2010 such as striptease, nudity and golfing on the summit of Ayers Rock, which have led to new calls for the prohibition of hiking the rock.
- The Australian government gave back the ownership of Ayers rock and its tourist attractions to the native Pitjantjatjara Aborigines, with one of the terms being that the Anangu would let it back to the National parks And Wildlife Agency for 99 years and it would be handled united. Hence, the Kata Tjuta National Park is owned and managed by the local Aboriginals.
- The region of Ayers Rock receives rainfall of about 200-250 mm a year and in the summers the temperature can go as high as 45°C