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In the heart of Australia, in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, lies one of the country's great landmarks, Uluru. It is a sandstone rock, some 300 kilometres southwest of Alice Springs. Formerly named Ayers Rock by white settlers, it is currently more commonly known by its Pitjantjara name Uluru. Uluru is a sandstone monolith standing 348 metres, although the bulk of the rock actually sits under the ground. It has a total circumference of 9.4 kilometres.
Uluru has a dual name, with Ulura being the traditional Aboriginal name, and Ayers Rock the English name. The colour of the rock changes with different times of the day and year, and looks silvery-grey on the rare occurences when it rains, with water running off the rock through channels.
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is generally open all year, closing at night and for occasional brief periods for cultural reasons.
Opening hours during the years are usually as follows: 
The cultural centre is open from 7:00am till 6:00pm daily.
The Uluru Climb is open from half an hour before sunrise till half an hour after sunset, depending on weather conditions. Do take note that Uluru's Traditional Owners, the Anangu people, prefer that visitors do not climb Uluru, as it is a sacred site. It's expected that climbing Uluru will be forbidden from 2011 onwards.
Visitors to the National Park over the age of 16 are required to pay a park usage fee.
At the time of writing, the following prices apply.
It is possible to fly from several major cities to Connellan Airport or Ayers Rock Airport, just outside the park. Ayers Rock Airport (AYQ) is serviced by daily flights from Sydney, Perth, Cairns and Alice Springs. All flights are operated by Qantas. Direct flights from Melbourne and Adelaide are also available.
Most travellers, however, will first fly into Alice Springs and then catch a bus, hire a car or join a tour from there.
For those with more time on their hands, it is possible to board the world famous Ghan train to Alice Springs either from Darwin in the north or Adelaide in the south. It is an overnight journey, roughly taking a day from either direction. To visit Uluru you would need to spend some time in Alice Springs though as the train only stops for a few hours.
The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru should take around 4 to 5 hours complete, assuming that sealed roads (the Stuart Highway and Lasseter Highway) are used. It is possible to cut this down, however this requires driving on a non-sealed road, so it is recommended that if a rental car is used, the terms and conditions are carefully checked to ensure the driver is covered. Otherwise, rent a 4wd vehicle to be sure of your capabilities.
When travelling for extended durations in the remote regions of the Outback, water and food supplies for 48 hours should be carried.
Most eateries around Ayres Rock are connected to hotels, however there are a number of other options mainly located in the Resort Shopping Centre. Geckos cafe offers quite a varied menu, from salads to pizzas. Bough House offers more traditional Ozzie cuisine including kangaroo, emu and crocodile. There is also the option of self catering at the IGA supermarket.
There are a couple of options for places to have a drink or two around Yulara. The Pioneer Barbecue Bar is located at the Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge. Another option is the Bunya Bar which is part of the Desert Gardens Hotel.
Camping is not permitted within the park.
Ayers Rock Resort is located in the township of Yulara, 8 kilometres from the entrance to the National Park, and 18 kilometres from Uluru itself. The Resort offers a variety of different accommodation styles, from the luxury Sails in the Desert Hotel to the more budget dormitories in the Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge. There is also a campground - camping is not permitted within the park itself.
For those wanting an upmarket, luxurious wilderness experience, Longitude 131 has 15 luxury tents with views over Uluru (not your typical family holiday camping tents!). Children under 12 are not welcome, and the resort comes with a suitably luxurious price tag to match its accommodation standards.
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