We caught our first fleeting glimpse of Uluru through sand dunes from a distance of about 30 kilometers. Even at this distance, the world’s largest monolith is an arresting site.
But here’s the thing about Uluru: The closer you get, the more amazing it becomes.
People familiar with the geologic formation once known as Ayers Rock have seen iconic photos of an enormous, smooth, half-dome red rock rising from the desert.
But come closer and you soon see that Uluru is not smooth at all. It is weathered, worn, pock-marked – a series of boulders with grooves, cracks and crevices that alternately catch and deflect the light.
Most amazing of all are the two water features found at the base of the rock, features that figure prominently in the Dreamtime Stories about Uluru.
The Kantju Gorge:
And the Mititjulu Waterhole:
We may never understand the full significance of Uluru in Anangu aboriginal culture.
It is only after a young boy passes the rituals and training necessary to become a man that he will learn the Anangu stories, stories that are not to be shared with outsiders.
In fact, several portions of the rock are considered so sacred that tourists are forbidden from taking photographs.
As is often the case, Conor summed up our experience of Uluru best: “When you look at the rock… It’s like it’s alive.”
More pictures of Uluru are posted here.