Explore the ancient heart of the Australian continent and learn about the culture of the traditional indigenous owners of this land.
By Josie Bi
Australia's Red Centre is a spectacular landscape of ever-stretching desert, colossal rock formations and mountain ranges. The area's greatest attraction, Uluru, is also one of the most recognised natural icons in the world. Taking a break from the city, I travelled to the heart of Australia and immersed myself in this ancient landscape.
Regarded as sacred by local Indigenous tribes and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Uluru is one of the most iconic sites in Australia and the world. Uluru, or also commonly known as Ayers Rock, is a giant sandstone monolith standing in the midst of the great Central Australian Desert. To get there it's a long 450-kilometre drive from Alice Springs.
This giant rock is incredible to photograph. During the sunrise, you’ll witness the rock bathed in the sun's morning rays, turning it ferociously red. And at the end of the day when the sun is setting, its mighty silhouette is pitched against a sky painted purple and orange.
Just three minutes drive, west of Ayers Rock, is Kata Tjuta. Kata Tjuta has thirty six rock formations in the region with colossal dome shaped rocks of varying magnitudes. The highest dome, Mt Olga, stands at 1,066 metres above sea level and 198 metres above the peak of Uluru. This area is definitely not to be missed.
Ayers Rock Campground
Located just 15 kilometres from Uluru, Ayers Rock Campground allows you to experience the desert's untamed wilderness with the convenience of modern amenities such as restrooms, showers, and even a supermarket.
Set up camp, explore the surrounds and then come back before sunset to start a bonfire with your friends and fellow campers. Toast a marshmallow or two and don’t forget to look up, as you’ll find a million stars looking back down at you.
Uluru Camel Tours
Riding on the back of a camel is a great way to explore the desert. You can cover more ground and it’s definitely easier than walking.
There are camel tours offered by select operators in the area, with different sessions and durations to choose from. A sunset tour will have your caravan cast incredible shadows as you journey along the sand.
50 kilometres from Uluru lies the largest salt lake in the Northern Territory - Lake Amadeus. The lake stretches 180 kilometres and its elongated shape can be seen from space. The surface of the lake is a dry and shiny layer of white salt that shimmers and glistens in the sun. Far away are small islands of red sand inhabited by desert plants. You can either drive along the length of the lake or park your car and venture closer to examine this natural wonder.
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