Facts about Uluru

19 Uluru facts

Ayers Rock

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a very picturesque rock formation that seems to change color depending on the light falling on it. Discovered by Western civilization only at the end of the 19th century, it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Australia. It attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.

It is a sandstone formation, located in the southern part of the Northern Territory in Australia.
It is 348 meters high above ground level, 863 meters above sea level, 3.6 kilometers long, and 1.9 kilometers wide, with a total circumference of 9.4 kilometers.
It is believed that 2.5 kilometers of its mass are hidden underground.
It is considered the world’s second-largest sandstone monolith.
It is surpassed by Mt. Augustus (1,105 meters above sea level) in Western Australia.
It was landmarked by William Gosse, an Australian explorer, during his survey in 1873.
He named it Ayers Rock, after Sir Henry Ayers, Chief Secretary of South Australia.
It is estimated at 600 million years old.
During the last 300 million years, the majority of Uluru was formed by softer rocks eroding away.
Uluru is sacred to Pitjantjatjara–the Aboriginal people of the Central Australian desert.
Both names–Uluru and Ayers Rock–are officially in use since 1993.
At first, it was named “Ayers Rock / Uluru” but since 2002, as requested by the Regional Tourism Association in Alice Springs, it has been renamed “Uluru / Ayers Rock.”
Uluru belongs to the Anangu (Aboriginal people of Australia), who lease to the Australian Government. It is a 99-years lease.
Ayers Rock was owned by the Australian Government until 1985 when it was decided to return the ownership to the local tribe.
It is famous for its red-orange hue.
It is thanks to the oxidation of iron content on the surface.
It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
Uluru, along with the surroundings area, houses over 400 species of plants.
Along with Kata-Tjuta, a group of 36 conglomerate bornhardts, the Uluru forms Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
It covers an area of 1,326 square kilometers and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for natural and cultural landscape.
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park houses the largest variety of flora and fauna in Australia.
The greater bilby–a desert-dwelling marsupial native to Australia–is the oldest animal that can be spotted in the area surrounding Uluru.
Its fossils date back to 15 million years ago.
One-third of income from tourism to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park goes to the Anangu community.
Despite the Anangu tradition that allows only certain elderly males to climb the rock, tourists were allowed to climb Uluru until 2019.
To help with the climb, a metal chain was installed in 1964, but as of October 2019, it is no longer available. 

Princess Diana Spencer with Prince Charles (now King Charles III) climbed Uluru in 1983.
37 people died during their attempt to climb Uluru.
To circle Uluru, a 3.5 hours walk is required.
Hungry for more facts?

Related content