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Northern Territory - Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is famous internationally for its world's biggest rock monolith, the Uluru, and its 36 rock domes and deep gorges of the Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas. The whole area is sacred to the Aboriginal people; in fact, Northern Territory has the most Aboriginal-owned land in Australia. It was only in 1987 when this area was handed back to the Aborigines and its sights reassumed their traditional names. It was also during this year that this park was named as a World Heritage site.

It is impossible not to visit these two wonders when arriving at this park. It is not only the view of these two spectacular wonders that amazes people but also the extensive knowledge of Aboriginal culture gained that gives visitors an unforgettable and distinguished experience.

Uluru / Ayers Rock

Measured at 3.6km long and 2.4km wide, Uluru stands at the height of 348 meters above the plains. It is made from a single piece of sandstone, which extends 5km beneath the desert surface. Uluru is also well known for its immense Aboriginal cultural significance. Archeological evidence suggests that Aboriginal people have lived in Uluru for at least 22,000 years and that both Uluru and Kata Tjuta have long been places of enormous ceremonial and cultural significance to a number of Aboriginal tribes.

The traditional tribe owners of Uluru are the Anangu people and they believe that ancestral spirits formed these sites during the creation period. The Anangu also believe that they are the direct descendants of these ancestral beings and, as such, responsible for the protection and management of these lands. The name Uluru means "great pebble" in the Aboriginal language.

Uluru is also an outstanding natural phenomenon, whereby the giant rock changes it colors according to the day's weather. The colors vary from bright red to dark gray or black during sunny or rainy days respectively.

Kata Tjuta / The Olgas

Kata Tjuta, meaning "many heads" in Aboriginal language, is a collection of 36 massive rock domes located 42km to the west of Uluru. Kata Tjuta is not one large rock but a system of gorges and valleys that allows people to walk around and soak in the quiet and spiritual environment. It is of equal significance as the Uluru is to the Anangu people but fewer stories about it have be told. The tallest rock, Mount Olga, is 546 meters high, which is nearly 200 meters higher than Uluru.

There are two major walking trails, namely The Valley of the Winds and The Olga Gorge. The former takes about three hours and leads you to several deep gorges. The latter leads up to the beautiful Olga Gorge and to its deadened cliff face and a rock pool.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre

An award-winning cultural center, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre is packed with multilingual displays, videos, and exhibitions. With excellent information and resources of the surrounding area's geology and history, the center should be visited before proceeding to the exploration of the rocks.

The Nintiringkupai display focuses on the history and management of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and includes timely brochures and information on walking trails, sights, and tours.

The Tjukurpa display, with its art, sounds, and videos, is a good introduction to the Anangu complex system of beliefs and laws.

The Maruku Arts and Craft shop offers Aboriginal art and crafts by Aboriginal people. This shop is also wholly Aboriginal-owned. There are also dancers and musicians who give performances to the tourists. The shop forms part of this cultural center.

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