Uluru Ayers Rock Sunset

Classic Uluru sunset shot (even with a full moon)

Uluru Ayers Rock Walk Map

Uluru Walking Map (click to enlarge). Sunset location marked by red arrows.

Uluru (Ayers Rock) is apparent even before the plane hits the tarmac. Clearly visible from the air, the airport and the surrounding roads, one of Australia’s most iconic sights is strangely mesmerising. Roughly triangular in shape (most expect an oval), the giant rock stand an impressive 348 metresabove the flat arid landscape and is almost ten kilometres around. To give a sense of scale, remember that Uluru is a bit like the proverbial iceberg with most of Uluru sitting below the surface.

Uluru Ayers Rock Sunset Panorama

Uluru at sunset (panorama)

Uluru Ayers Rock From the Road

Uluru is visible from far around including most of the local roads.

While sunrise and sunset are the highlight times as the rock paints itself in ever changing seductive hues or reds and mauves, a walk around the rock is a great introduction to the monolith. Taking around 3.5 hours (go early if it is hot and carry plenty of water and sunscreen with you) the circuit walk encompasses a potpourri of Anangu (local traditional owners) trails – base walk, Kuniya (woman python) walk, Lungkata (blue tongue lizard) walk and Mara (wallaby) walk. The walk is flat and straightforward and support wheelchair access the entire way. (Recommendation: I suggest starting at either the Mara or Kuniya car parks).

Uluru Ayers Rock Liru Walk

Uluru on the Liru Walk

Uluru Ayers Rock Base Walk Pockmarks

Markings and gashes litter Uluru

Up close, the rock’s detail is striking and the various angles show sides of Uluru not often seen in photos. Erosion has caused gaping fissures, valleys, overhangs and heavy pockmarks. The flow of rare rainwaters have some areas dry with sparse tufted grasses while other section are quite heavily vegetated with clumps of eucalypts and native shrubs. Delicate colourful wildflowers bravely poke their head through the golden grasses adding colour to the surrounding grounds.

Uluru Ayers Rock Lungkata Walk

Along the Lungkata Walk

Uluru Ayers Rock Sunset Profile

Uluru glistens in the late afternoon sunshine

Uluru Ayers Rock Liru Walk Rock Face

Uluru on the Liru Walk

The shadows and light change as the sun rises and sinks, changing the colours from sandy yellows and bronzes to russet reds and subtle purples.

Uluru Ayers Rock Mala Walk

Along the Mala walk

The Mara Walk includes sacred rock artand ancient faces in a haunting rock overhang while interpretive signs share traditional owner’s stories (though not as well as they could) of the rock’s origins and cultural meanings. There is a deep sense of serenity around Kantju Gorge and Mutitjulu Waterhole. The walk steers away from the rock on the north-east side to guard some of the site’s most sacred Anangu areas. The nearby Cultural Centre details more of the bond between Uluru and the local Aboriginal owners and includes an introduction to the complex and sustaining Aboriginal culture.

Uluru Ayers Rock After Sunset

Uluru fades as the sun sinks

Crowds of people gather at the designated sunset point, settled into foldout chairs with a refreshing glass of wine and savouries to enjoy the light show. Tripods compete for space as cameras click furiously, autodrives taking photos every few seconds of changing light while people pose in front of the Rock in various styles and groupings. Meanwhile the vibrant earthy red of Uluru slowly soaks into the sunset the colour calming through a more mellow reddish brown and a dull purplish tinge to a darkened silhouette.

On any measure, Uluru is a staggeringly beautiful sight in such a stark sparse environment with many ways of enjoying the monolith from outdoor dinners to camel rides. All journeys to Australia’s Red Ecntre should include a walk around Uluru for a chance to hear a little of the 40,000 years of historic Aboriginal culture and to enjoy the multiple facets and views of this iconic natural wonder.

In respect of the Anangu people, photos of sacred areas of Uluru (including aerial shots) are not included with the article.

The author travelled as a guest of Tourism NT and Plus7.



8 Responses to Exploring Uluru (Australia)

  • I walked around Uluru in 2007 and had some very unusual experiences. It was freezing cold as we stood a distance from the rock awaiting sunrise, and I piled on every piece of clothing in my pack to stay warm. Once the sun was up and my photos taken, I set off to do the circuit. During my trek the deeply spiritual nature of the place permeated my senses. At one point I looked up to the top and saw a bright yellow and chartreuse green light emanating from the rock. Though the temperatures were still bitter cold, my body instantly got hot all over, to the point I had to strip off hat, gloves, and one of my inner layers. I took much longer than the 3.5 hours normally required to do the circuit, as I did all the side trails and often stopped just to soak in the energy. At the end of the day I stopped by the museum and was chatting with one of the Aboriginal employees. “I know this is going to sound crazy, but I just have to ask if anyone else has ever seen bright yellow and green colors surrounding Uluru?” I asked. Startled, he stopped what he was doing and looked at me hard for a long second. “You saw that?” he asked. It was all the confirmation I needed that I had not been imagining things. There is something more than sacred about Uluru. I don’t know exactly what it is, but even today when I think about it I can recall the serenity and peace.

  • Nice place to visit, i want to go there sometimes ^_^

  • Steve says:

    Not only Australia is famous for the blue side like the beach, sea and other waters. Uluru is an example of the red side of the country. This makes how exciting Australia is! By the way, we had a dinner in Uluru and got a chance to see the amazing sunset as it colors the Ayers Rock.

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Welcome to Travel Wonders
My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.
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