Ayers Rock is one of the worlds most spectacular and recognizable natural objects. It rises from the desert in central Australia and is of immense significance to the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land. Its Aboriginal name is "Uluru". The first European to see Ayers Rock was Ernest Giles during an expedition into Australia's interior in 1872. He was not able to reach the rock due to lack of supplies. In the following year a surveyor named William Gosse was mapping a route for the overland telegraph and he became the first European to visit the rock and climb to its summit. He named the rock after Sir Henry Ayers who was the chief secretary of the South Australian government. He also visited the nearby Olga's, a separate rock formation that lies nearby that had been named by Giles. The Aboriginal name for the Olgas is Katu Tjuta.
The rock itself is enormous reaching a height of some 348 meters above the surrounding plain and like an iceberg, has only 10% of its bulk above the surface. Around the perimeter of the rock are numerous caves and overhangs where Aboriginal rock art is displayed. Ayers Rock can be accessed easily by air as it has its own airport with regular flights from the east coast and from Darwin in the north. Ayers Rock resort provides a wide range of accommodation for visitors, at the nearby township of Yulara. The resort caters for backpacker and campervan visitors as well as those who seek a little more luxury accommodation in hotels and apartments like "Sails in the Desert" and "Latitude 131" resort.
Many tourists come by campervan or motorhome and the highway is fully sealed from both the north and the south. Driving distances are vast so it is important to come well prepared. When you arrive you can explore by yourself or you can join an organized tour. These tours can provide a wealth of information about the rock and its significance to the local Anangu Aboriginal people. You may climb the rock if you wish however the local people would prefer that you did not. The climb is extremely arduous and not to be attempted unless you are reasonably fit and not afraid of heights. There are several plaques erected at the base of the climb that mark the passing of several climbers who did not make it back.
Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory is one of the world's most amazing natural sights and a place to come and admire one of the true wonders of the natural world.
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