Uluru

Last week Josh’s work travels took him to Alice Springs, a town that is about as close to the middle of Australia as you can get. About 4 hours (by road) from Alice is Uluru, or Ayers Rock, which was our weekend destination. We flew into Ayers Rock, so our first view of the famous monolith was from the plane.
 
 

 

 

I actually remarked to Josh that it looked smaller than I had expected. Boy, was I wrong. It is hard to tell its size because you don’t realize how far away you are, but trust me, up close it is huge!

Our first stop, after setting up our tent in the campground, was the visitor’s center, which had a great display showing Aboriginal culture and beliefs about Uluru. It was very interesting and well put together, but you weren’t allowed to take pictures of it. Next stop was the sunset viewing area. Watching the rays hit Uluru as the sun goes down is one of the most popular activities in the park. As Josh pointed out, never before have you seen so many people gathered to look in the opposite direction of the sunset! It truly does start to glow as the sun goes down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we set out to walk around the rock, about 9 kilometers. You can climb it, but the Aboriginal owners of the land ask that people don’t. It also didn’t look very pleasant to me! 
 
Walking around Uluru was much more enjoyable. It was fascinating to see it from all different angles, to see the rock up close and far away, and see all the formations created by wind and rain over the years. Uluru was formed by erosion because it is made up of much harder stone than the surrounding landscape. It is the visible tip of rock slabs that extend far beneath the ground, perhaps as far as 6 kilometers. It is made of sandstone formed when a shallow sea covered most of Australia. Uluru is a very special, spiritual place for the Anangu people who believe it was created by their creation ancestors. There are many special sites around the rock for traditional men’s and women’s law. 
There were a few things that surprised me while walking around Uluru. One was that the rock is much less smooth and solid than it looks from far away. There are many different formations that can be seen from different angles. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other thing that surprised me was that it was surprisingly lush, with cool waterholes and shady trees near the base. 

 

 

 

There were also amazing caves, some of which contained Aboriginal drawings. Some of them were hard to see, and they are hard for anthropologists to date, because they used the same space for drawings and just painted over the old ones.

 

It is hard to really take in the significance of the places we were standing, places where families have lived for generation upon generation. I feel very lucky to have gotten to go there, truly a place I never thought I’d see! (And if you think there were lots of pictures today, I’ve still got more to come!)

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3 Responses to Uluru

  1. Janet and Frank says:

    How lucky indeed to see such a fabulous place!!!! I certainly had never heard of it and what a wonder to see. Thanks so much for sending this. Love, Aunt Janet

  2. lucyanne.summers@gmail.com says:

    Jessie, I’m seeing a photography show at a fine art gallery! I really like the one with the blue rock,and the reflecting pool and on and on and on. What a great idea you had for the blog! see you soon love, mom

  3. seth_thomas1982@yahoo.com says:

    What Lucy said. I would add that the quality of you blog makes me think that you would make a great travel journalist. It makes it seems as if I’ve gottent the feel for these places without having actually been to them.

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