Uluru (Ayers Rock)
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Rise with the Rock
Ayers Rock – known as Uluru to the Anangu Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory – is perhaps the most well-known symbol of Central Australia, though there are no photos, no stories, no tales of wonder that can prepare you for seeing the Rock beset by the sun in the early morning hours. A UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the Anangu's most sacred places, Uluru (Ayers Rock) has a certain aura about it that's difficult to quantify.   Uluru (Ayers Rock) rises from the red sand of the Outback like a stoic sentinel, and at more than 863 meters tall, lords over the whole of the desert. The island mountain first saw human beings more than 10,000 years ago, and is now visited by more than 400,000 people each year; balancing public interest and cultural beliefs is an issue that the traditional stewards of the region and the Australian government have been facing together for more than a quarter of a century, since October 26, 1985, when the government returned care of Ayers Rock to the Pitjantjatjara people.   Flash Parker traveled to Australia’s Northern Territory courtesy of Tourism Northern Territory and Goway Travel. His highlights are part of AFAR's partnership with the United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations across the entire globe. See more about Flash’s trip at the USTOA blog - http://ustoa.com/blog/category/afar/
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Possibly the World’s Oldest Oasis
For millions of years, this red rock in the middle of miles and miles of desert has been an oasis for both the Aboriginal peoples and desert dwelling animals of Australia. It has provided the shade, plants, and water crucial for survival in this scorching land. Not only has it been an oasis to peoples of the past, but when you’re walking on the desert paths surrounding the rock in the searing heat, you too will understand why it is such an incredible oasis. There are many trips and tours offered to the rock, but I would highly encourage you to sign up for one of the tours offered by Anangu Tours. These tours are led by an Aboriginal guide of the Anangu people who will tell you the history of the rock as they know it, in their original language (shared through a translator). Not only do you learn the history of the rock, but they teach you about the “bush” food they eat and the medicines they create from nature. Through folklore, tradition and education you will leave with an incredible understanding of why this place is so sacred. Uluru is not an easy place to reach, and with all the amazing things to see and do in Australia, it is easy to be tempted to give it a miss. But if you do, you are truly missing out on experiencing the original life -breath and heart of Australia – possibly the oldest oasis in the world. Visit http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/uluru/ to plan your next trip.
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Uluru's Sacred Oasis
Although Uluru is an iconic image, I cannot even begin to describe the power of this place when seen up close. The size alone will blow your mind (it takes 6 hours to walk around the entire rock) and the many inlets, crevices, and plants growing in and around this “rock” will put you in awe of nature. This oasis named the “Sacred Waters” of Uluru is a deep pool at the base of one area of the rock. It has been the watering hole crucial for survival to both the Aboriginal peoples and desert dwelling animals of Australia for millions of years. The path of the water running from the top of the rock to the pool below has created this beautiful stain on the rock that shimmers like the inside of an abalone shell. In the scorching heat of the desert, just looking at this beautiful oasis instantly begins to cool you down. Although there are many trips and tours offered to the rock, I would highly encourage you to sign up for one of the tours offered by Anangu Tours. These tours are led by an Aboriginal guide of the Anangu people who will tell you the history of the rock as they know it, in their original language (shared through a translator). Uluru is not an easy place to reach, and with all the amazing things to see and do in Australia, it is easy to be tempted to give it a miss. But if you do, you are truly missing out on experiencing the original life -breath and heart of Australia – possibly the oldest oasis in the world.
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Get a Special Perspective on Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Uluru (Ayers Rock) is magnificent whichever way you look at it. But there's something extra meaningful about witnessing this spiritually significant landmark in the company of an Anangu guide, who can can share stories from one of the world's oldest living cultures. Walk the perimeter of the mighty red rock as your guide tells the story of Kuniya Tjukurpa, a great battle between Kuniya (woman python) and Liru (poisonous snake man), then you’ll visit a sacred waterhole and be given the option to join a Maruku Arts dot-painting workshop at Ayers Rock Resort.
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