40 things to do before you’re 40 - Number 13!

13. Watch the sunrise over Uluru

The ultimate icon of Australia, Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) has an almost mystical presence. There’s something intangibly moving about seeing dawn’s first light settle on this geological marvel at the heart of the ‘Red Centre’.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Uluru is sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. For them it is inextricably linked with their Dreamtime stories, and even in today’s modern world it retains a sacred place in their culture.

In 1873 Uluru was given a second name, Ayers Rock, after the Chief Secretary of South Australia, Henry Ayers. Since 1993 it has officially had dual-name status, and is now referred to in formal terms as Uluru/Ayers Rock.

Located 335km south-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Uluru sits in terrain which is unmistakeably Outback. In the area there are waterholes, caves, springs and Aboriginal rock paintings.

But it’s the flatness of its surrounds which makes Uluru stand out even more. What earthly business does this striking protrusion have in such a landscape? It all adds to the rock’s enigmatic appeal.

For overnight visitors to this great Aussie wilderness, there’s only one way to stay – in a swag (Aussie bedroll) under the stars! And camping close to this magical monolith gives people the chance to experience one of the most majestic views in the southern hemisphere; sunrise over Uluru.

As dawn’s first rays kiss the sandstone summit, Uluru stirs and awakens as if a living thing. Shades change imperceptibly with the sun’s steady migration, until the entire rock glows fiery red, as though the blood of the nation was coursing through it. Apt, you might say, for a landmark at the very heart of Australia.

A more contemplative and peaceful way to start a day you’d be hard pressed to find. If ever there was a reason to get up before dawn, then watching sunrise over Uluru is surely it.

Topdeck Top Tip: To climb or not to climb? The Anangu ask visitors not to climb Uluru, as it’s a sacred religious site to their people, but neither is there a law against it. Take time to read the reasons for and against so you can make an informed decision.

Lonely Planet visit Uluru: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biuYA54nb7Y

A nice time-lapse video showing Uluru’s changing colours at sunrise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1LNcqgt00E

And another: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e8Fr3CESOU

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply