Landing in the red desert of australia and seeing Uluru with my own eyes for the first time is something I shall not forget in a hurry I tell you. I had heard that photos do not do it justice and yes it is very very true.
Where is it?
Uluru is unmistakable, a huge majestic sandstone rock rising up 348 m (1,142 ft) out of the flat desert in central Australia. it is remote and to give that some perspective, the nearest town is 208 miles away, Alice Springs.
After a long load of flights from UK to Sydney. You get a sense of how far in the middle of Australia it is, as well as how big Sustralia is itself. The flight from Sydney to Uluru would be 3 hours and 30 minutes alone.
An area that is in the middle of Australia, in the Northern Territory, often called the ‘Red Centre’. As you look at the landscape it is difficult not to see why.
Human history at Uluru
Aboriginal peoples have been around in Australia for many many centuries before the Europeans came and started to colonise in the 18th century. In fact Australia was a land of 500 nations of Indigenous people with 100s of dialects and separate languages.
In the Uluru region it was the Anangu people, and they have been around over 60,000 years. Archeologists have gained proof of humans being here at least 10,000 years.
To the Anangu people, Uluru is very sacred. The rock is a living being and represents more than just a sandstone rock. Many of the fissures and caves you find whilst walking the circumference have been used for centuries galore in their rituals and customs. Thankfully, since my visit there, climbing up the rock has been made forbidden. I wanted to respect the local peoples beliefs and customs and did not climb it myself.
A local tribesman gave us a tour of part of the rock and showed us some sacred caves that have been used too far back to remember for things like teaching and meetings etc.
During the afternoon we were lucky to be honoured to watch some local Aboriginal art and craft being made right beneath Uluru itself. this art again goes back to times we will never know, it is so far back.
A lot of the art centres on the Dreamtime stories and the creation of the rock. Stories that have been passed down for hundreds and hundreds of generations.
Snakes feature from the beginning as the rock was said to be formed by a fight between carpet snakes and venomous snakes. Virtually every rock, every pebbles and every hole or mark in the rock has an ancient story attached to it and how it came to be. These stories have been passed down thousands of generations. You can start to get a picture of how sacred the place is and why we should not mess with the rock in form or use, just in the name of tourism.
Helicopter over Uluru at sunset
The sun was starting to set and it was time to board a helicopter for a truly memorable experience. A trip up to see the rock of Uluru in a whole new way, from above in the sky.
From up here you get a real sense of how this red stone stands all alone, rising out of the flat ground around. An epic sight that just leaves you in awe. I actually did not take too many photos because quite simply I wanted to take it all in for every minute we were up there.
As far as experiences go it had been an epic day already, but sunset, overlooking Uluru at sunset is a time I will never forget.
I also want to specifically thank the Anangu people, for sharing their home, their sacred home with me for a short while. But also for teaching me so much about the area and what it means to them. A place I would return to again that is for sure.