Even if we've never been within cooee of Uluru, all Australians know what it looks like. But without failure, on their first visit, everyone is surprised at just how massive the sandstone rock is. It stands 863m above sea level and is 9.4km in circumference. Scientists believe it stretches around 6km under the bright red earth.
For a totally different look at the rock, Jules took a 15-minute round trip in an Ayers Rock Helicopter with pilot Tim Beeson. Jules Lund's reaction was one of awe and excitement the same as everyone who does the flight.
It's amazing to see it from above, as you take in the lines of sediment formed over millions of years.
Not just the rock itself, but you see the mountains of South Australia and Western Australia from the dead centre of the Red Centre.
The local landscape is dominated by spinifex, low shrubs on sand dunes, sprawling areas of mulga woodland and plains dotted with large desert oaks.
The area around Uluru and Kata Tjuta was declared an Aboriginal reserve in the early 1900s and Uluru (then known as Ayers Rock) was declared a national park in 1950. In 1958 Uluru and Kata Tjuta (then known as Mt Olga) were excised from the reserve to form the Ayers Rock-Mt Olga National Park.
Now held by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust, the freehold title to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was returned to the traditional owners in 1985. The park was then leased back to the director of National Parks and Wildlife. It is jointly managed under the direction of a board of management, which includes a majority of Anangu traditional owners. Ayers Rock-Mt Olga National Park was renamed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in 1993.
There are sensitive and sacred sites specific to "men's business" and "women's business" and visitors are asked to respect them.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park covers 132,566 hectares of traditional lands. More than 150 species of birds as well as many reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates that have adapted to arid environments have been recorded there.
Related video: Uluru uncovered
The heart of Australia.
Ayers Rock Helicopters have 15-minute flights for $125 per person and 30 minutes for $240 per person. Hotel transfers, flight, in-flight commentary and airport drop off if required are included. They operate from sunrise to sunset every day. They also have other exciting outback flights, including mystery tours.
Virgin Blue has one-way flights to Uluru from:
- Sydney $168
- Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide $198
- Perth $249
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at October 14, 2010, and are subject to change.
For further information
Ph: 136 789
Ayers Rock Helicopters
PO Box 4816
Alice Springs 0871
Ph: (08) 8956 2077