Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Lonely Planet review

Nothing in Australia is as readily identifiable as Uluru. No matter how many times you've seen it in postcards, nothing prepares you for the hulk on the horizon - so solitary and prodigious. Uluru is 3.6km long and rises a towering 348m from the surrounding sandy scrubland (867m above sea level). If that's not impressive enough, it's believed that two-thirds of the rock lies beneath the sand.

Sacred sites are located around the base of Uluru; entry to and knowledge of the particular significance of these areas is restricted by Anangu law. The landscape of Uluru changes dramatically with the shifting light and seasons. If your first sight of Uluru is during the afternoon, it appears as an ochre-brown colour, scored and pitted by dark shadows. As the sun sets, it illuminates the rock in burnished orange, then a series of deeper and darker reds before it fades into charcoal. A performance in reverse, with marginally fewer spectators, is given at dawn.