The drone of a didgeridoo, the chanting of the indigenous Anangu people, and the clapping sticks that drive their chanting and dancing can be heard as you approach the Tjukurpa Tunnel. This is your welcome to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre.
Tjukurpa is the story and the spiritual law of the Anangu people, and the Tjukurpa Tunnel is where you are encouraged to begin building your understanding of their way of life before your visit to Uluru or Kata Tjuta. Much of Tjukurpa is considered sacred and cannot be discussed publicly, so this is a fantastic opportunity to take in those parts which can be shared. Artefacts and informational plaques are displayed throughout the tunnel, and documentary DVD’s are screened on a loop, providing fascinating insights.
Walk alongside the imposing form of Uluru to the Kantju Gorge and waterhole, on land held sacred by the Anangu indigenous people. The Anangu have walked this land for thousands of years, and once held religious ceremonies here. They believe that the shape and physical features on this section of the monolith represent the activities of the Mala (or rufous hare wallaby), which they see as one of their ancestral beings, during the time of the Tjukurpa (creation time).
The sheer cliffs of Uluru look amazingly different from every angle, and scroll through a vast array of colours as the sun moves across the desert sky. You will never tire of looking at this incredible figure, as it is always changing. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during heavy rain you will see quite a show, since small streams and waterfalls cover Uluru, transforming it into a completely different natural wonder.
The nightly Sounds of Silence experience is hosted by the Ayers Rock Resort at Yulara. A gourmet meal is served under the stars, combining with red center hospitality, outback tales and stargazing for an unforgettable evening in the Australian outback. The white-linen and silver-service dinner is served at sunset, with the changing colors of Ayers Rock visible on the horizon from your table as evening falls.
Prepared with a gourmet twist, the traditional outback meal includes barramundi fish, kangaroo, emu and bush salads. After dinner over coffee and port, settle back for an evening of stargazing under the immense southern skies.
There’s a cattle ranch in Australia’s center that’s bigger than the state of Rhode Island. An arid grassland covered in dust and 4,500 cattle, it’s also a welcome, comfortable stop on the road leading west towards Uluru. When the Severin family moved out here in 1956, they saw a total of six people in their first year out on the ranch. Gradually, however, hardy tourists heading west towards Uluru would stop for fuel and supplies, and what began as a way to help weary travelers has grown to a guesthouse, bar, and ranch that’s an Australian site to itself. Take a guided walk through grasslands that stretch towards red-earthed horizons, and learn how the grass is converted on site into natural, Curtin Springs paper. Hop aboard a 4WD and go bouncing away towards Mt. Conner—an open swath of land and hills that’s covered in kangaroos. Have a yarn at the Curtin Springs pub with a colorful outback character, or simply get some much needed sleep from the long, adventurous drive.