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Uluru (Ayers Rock), one of the world’s biggest rocks, is literally at the heart of the Australian outback. Its massive sandstone folds change color depending on the time of day, briefly blazing a memorable red at sunset, while rare desert storms send torrents of water cascading down its flanks. Thirty kilometers to the west is Kata Tjuta, a striking cluster of domed rocks, with the tallest, Mt. Olga, several hundred meters higher than Uluru. Both sites are considered sacred places by the Anangu, the land’s traditional owners. An Anangu-led tour provides a fascinating insight into the area’s cultural importance, and will help you understand ...

Uluru (Ayers Rock), one of the world’s biggest rocks, is literally at the heart of the Australian outback. Its massive sandstone folds change color depending on the time of day, briefly blazing a memorable red at sunset, while rare desert storms send torrents of water cascading down its flanks. Thirty kilometers to the west is Kata Tjuta, a striking cluster of domed rocks, with the tallest, Mt. Olga, several hundred meters higher than Uluru. Both sites are considered sacred places by the Anangu, the land’s traditional owners. An Anangu-led tour provides a fascinating insight into the area’s cultural importance, and will help you understand why the local indigenous people request that you not climb Uluru. Instead, do the 10-kilometer Base Walk and inspect the crevices of this towering monolith at your leisure. At Kata Tjuta, tackle the Valley of the Winds walk, which winds through these fabulous formations. Due north of Uluru is Watarrka (King’s Canyon). A hike into this stunning chasm exposes you to soaring cliffs, ancient fossils and the lush ferns that populate the aptly named Garden of Eden.

Paul Smitz
About the Expert

Paul Smitz has coauthored a dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet on places such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, various Pacific Islands, Prague, and Brussels.

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Paul Smitz for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June and July, when the temperature is perfect for long walks