Every Australian should visit Ayers Rock-Uluru at least once in a lifetime. Every overseas visitor should include it on their itinerary.
This majestic monolith epitomises the beauty and timelessness of the Australian bush.
It seems to ignore the countless tourists climbing over and around it. It retains its majesty and dignity despite the modern amenities and sealed roads around it. Its sheer size and impact is awe-inspiring.
The road into Ayers Rock-Uluru has been cleverly designed for maximum impact. You see it from a distance several times. Then you get a couple of appetising glimpses as you get closer.
Suddenly, the road bends and the rock is there in front of you. It is breathtaking!
Ayers Rock- Uluru fills the windscreen, and I have seen many tourists stop suddenly in the middle of the road to get out of the car without a thought for anyone around them.
There is a plethora of information on the rock, and I don't profess to be an expert, so it is best to find what interests and intrigues you about it, and read up on that.
One story you probably won't read about was told to me by the Aboriginal Woman who was spokesperson for the Yunkyunjatjara Lands. She said Uluru belonged to her people until the 1960's when the Pitjantjatjara people moved across from Western Australia. The Yunkyunjatjara and Luritja people had to move to the East.
When the Land Rights negotiations were held the Pitjantjatjara people did most of the negotiating and claimed Uluru as theirs. It was only recently after much internal negotiating that the Yunkyunjatjara, Nunkyunjatjara people have been recognised as the traditional owners and have a share in the royalties.
My inspiration to make my first trip to Ayers Rock-Uluru came from a book written by Derek Roth, who along with Bill Harney, was one of the first rangers there.
My first visit was in May 1981, four months before Azaria Chamberlain was taken by a dingo. There were plenty of dingoes around the camping area at the time as well as a number of big, mongrel-bred camp dogs. The camping area was adjacent to the rock in those days and you could set up your tent to look out at the morning sun on the eastern face.
Around the time I was there, a truck driver got drunk and was thrown out of the bar. To get even, he drove his truck into the bar and killed or injured three people.
As you may have noticed, I am not keen on sharing my camp with hundreds of others, and I have found alternative campsites near the Rock. About 5 to 10km before Yulara, look for tracks off to the left of the main road. A couple of these lead to good secluded campsites, originally made by the road building crews and they are free!
The one we choose even has a view of Ayers Rock-Uluru from the sand hill beside the camp. You don’t get that for your $25 plus in the Yulara Caravan Park!
Some visitors set up camp at Curtin Springs and make a day trip to Ayers Rock-Uluru from there. The Severin family have owned the roadhouse forever it seems, and the atmosphere there is friendly and hospitable. They have camel rides and run tours out to nearby Mt Connor. The bar staff are efficient, the meals are good and the camping is free. What more could you want!
(If you enjoy your stay at Curtin Springs you might want to put a couple of dollars in the Flying Doctor donation tin.) In fact, if you ever need a shower or a favour in the Outback, an offer of an RFDS donation will always help. They are the Outback’s life line.
PS: Coote Road, which leads to the Yulara Airport is not named after the yet-to-be-famous, author of this site, but after Harold Bell Lasseter’s pilot, Errol Coote. He crashed his aeroplane while looking for Lasseter’s Gold Reef. See his book, “Hell’s Airport”.
From Ayers Rock-Uluru secrets to Outback Secrets
Click here to find out more about the RFDS