‘Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park’ is Australia’s one of the most famous tourist hotspots, which is renowned for its iconic massive sandstone monolith called Uluru & the rock domes called as Kata Tjuta. Australia’s ‘Aboriginal tribe’ of Anangu people are the traditional owners of ‘Uluru’ & ‘Kata-Tjuta’ & both of these natural wonders form the basis of their traditional beliefs. The ancient culture of the Anangu people, who have been continuously inhabited in this part of ‘Australia’ for past 5,000 years, is nurtured & promoted by the government with great respect & interest.
The park is settled in the southern part of the huge Amadeus sedimentary basin which is located in the ‘Northern Territory’ of ‘Australia’. It is approachable by the Stuart & Lasseter Highways & is located 1431 km south of ‘Darwin’ & 440 km south-west of ‘Alice Springs’. The park encloses extensive sand plains, alluvial desert & dunes & its landscape is dominated by the picturesque Uluru monolith, famously known as ‘Ayers Rock’ & ‘Kata Tjuta/Mount Olga’.
The ‘Uluru’ & the ‘Kata Tjuta’ are certainly the most prominent attractions of this famous national park. However, the settlement of the Anangu people, known as ‘Mutitjulu’, inside the national park is also an excellent place to linger for a while.
Uluru: The sandstone monolith ‘Uluru’ has a base circumference of 9.4 km & it features smooth, sheer sides slanting at 800 gradients. The top of the ‘Uluru’ is relatively flat & stands 348 meters high, although the major portion of it lies underneath the ground. Myriad caves, inlets & overhangs at the base are the result of chemical degradation & sand blast erosion. The Uluru features multitudes of cave paintings & inscriptions, some of which dates back to the ancient period. The formation of the ‘Uluru’ & ‘Kata Tjuta’ is believed to be started some 550 million years ago & they are the result of folding & the erosion of the neighboring rocks.
Kata Tjuta: Kata Tjuta comprises a cluster of 36 conglomerate rock domes made up of phneocrysts of fine-grained acid & basic rocks as well as granite & basalt, cemented by a matrix of sandstone. Several crevasses can be seen here which were formed due to the erosion. The
‘Kata Tjuta’ is also created by the same process as Uluru & it features hemispherical domes, sheer sides & steep-sided gorges. Both ‘Uluru’ & ‘Kata Tjuta’ are revered by the indigenous Anangus since they believe that their culture was created by the ancestral beings & both these natural marvels are the physical witnesses of that glorious feat.
Cultural Center: The cultural center of the ‘Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park’ is located on the main road to ‘Uluru’. It provides valuable insights of the ‘Tjukurpa’(in-depth information of Anangu culture & religion), Anangu’s history, art, language & traditional beliefs. The center also offers photo galleries & exhibitions of the local artifacts. Interactive sessions for learning the local Pitjantjatjara language with the help of audio-visual aids, are also made available here. Explanations are provided in English, Japanese, German, French & Pitjantjatjara.
THINGS TO DO:
There are so many things to do in this arid landscape. Varying color of the ‘Uluru’, which changes from bright orange to maroon depending upon the changing angle of the sun rays, makes the photography top loved activity in the park. Apart from the photography, hiking through the trails those go through the bushes is also loved by several visitors.
‘Anangu Tours Company’, operated by the local Anangu guides, arranges spectacular guided tours around the ‘Uluru’ & ‘Kata Tjuta’, which offer excellent opportunities to explore these natural wonders from the best possible places while getting valuable insights of Anangu’s lifestyle. The Base Walk is one of the best ways to see Uluru whereas, other trails, including Liru Walk, Mala Walk & Kuniya Walk unveils several interesting places around the Uluru.
‘Kata Tjuta’ also has several walking trails, including the most famous ‘Valley of the Winds Walk’, which offer good exposure to the gorges & water holes. ‘Bush walk’ is another preferred activity in the park & it includes roaming around through the jungle of bushes under the guidance of an Anangu guide who introduces the visitors with the fruits, nuts & medicinal plant available & extensively used by the local tribes in their routine life.
Visiting the cultural center to understand the lifestyle of Anangus, motorcycle tours & photography from the sunrise & sunset points also make out to be fantastic options to make the stay memorable.
Camping is not permitted inside the park & a small town called Yulara, which is situated just outside the park, offers a wide range of accommodation ranging from camp sites to five-star luxury suites. The town is well equipped with the service stations, gas refueling pumps, a supermarket, restaurants & myriad tour operators.
The ‘Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park’ was declared as the ‘World Heritage Sites’ by UNESCO in the year 1987. This spectacular national park has given honorable recognition to Australia’s indigenous culture & today, it stands as the national heritage of Australia.