The Rock stands there in the middle of miles of sun-baked red earth – 208 miles southwest of Alice Springs – like some kind of primordial testament, a gigantic orange bump on an otherwise flat horizon. And the testament depends upon to whom it is testifying. Ayers Rock, Uluru in the language of Australia’s Anangu aboriginal people, is different things to different people.
A geologist may see an arkrose sandstone monolith, standing 1,142 feet high, two-thirds buried for 700 million years, while tourists flock in great numbers wanting to climb it. Uluru is sacred to the aborigines; to them it is to be revered, not conquered. They look with scorn on the climbers, whom they call “black ants” (tourists look like a line of black dots as they ascend the narrow trail). At night the desert sky blazes with stars, while Uluru makes its mysterious presence known by blacking out the heavens behind it.
Uluru/Ayers Rock with Rainbow, photographed by ladigue_99.