It is rare that a well known sight actually lives up to expectations when you finally visit it, but Uluru is an exception to the rule. It is easy to understand the spiritual importance when you see it, both from a distance, and up close, a huge organically shaped rock rising out of the flat arid landscape of central Australia.The image of Uluru on the horizon as it changes colour with the light is justifiably iconic.
Uluru is best experienced up close though, particularly at dawn, where you can really appreciate it’s size and detail. It is literally massive, in the true sense of the word, with a 10.6km walk to go around the base. The amount of variety and detail is quite astonishing, with something special around every corner.
It’s worth mentioning the issue of whether to climb Uluru. There are two very good reasons not to. The mountain is sacred to the local aboriginal people, is it disrespectful to climb it (which is interestingly is the opposite of Japanese culture in which climbing mountains is seen to give respect). Imagine if you visited someone’s home and they asked you to remove your shoes, and you just said no and continued. Given the amount of disrespect aboriginals in Australia have been shown over the past 250 years the least you can do is respect their wishes.
The second is safety, how much risk do you want to take for a photo? 36 people have died trying to climb Uluru, it’s surprisingly steep and high with nothing other than some chains to help you up. To try and reduce the number of people hurt there are a number of weather related rules in place which will close the climb. Apparently it’s closed about 30-40% of the time, usually for heat reasons if you visit in summer.
Also the best views are of the rock, not from the rock over the arid landscape. The base walk is an amazing experience, and provides plenty to fully enjoy Uluru.