Uluru for kids: The rock that’s even better than the hotel pool

Every day at preschool, my four-year-old daughter and her peers sit in a circle to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land they are gathered on and give thanks to elders past, present, and emerging.

This recognition and respect for our traditional landowners and learning about the unique position and history of Aboriginal people in Australian culture inspired a trip to the heart of this sunburnt land. To Uluru within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, an area that’s been home to the Anangu people for 30,000 years.

After checking into the Sails in the Desert, a property within the Ayers Rock Resort that offers seven styles of accommodation from the campground to five-star, we discover that tradition and culture can be found at every turn. Our first stop is at the Uluru lookout point, not five minutes walk from the hotel.

The unfolding afternoon light dances on the burnt-orange earth we leave footprints in and a sense of calm sweeps through the breeze passing over the abstract shapes and sounds of the desert. No wonder this incredible landscape is one of the most important in Aboriginal Dreamtime, home to the oldest living civilization on earth. I feel fortunate to share in its glory.

Uluru made her 348m rise from the desert floor to watch over Australia’s ochre-hued western desert some 500 million years ago. Aboriginal people believe both Uluru and nearby rock formation Kata Tjuta were created at the beginning of time by ancestral beings they are directly descended from.

There is no doubt that Australia’s famous Outback monolith feels otherworldly. An “Oh, wow. Look at that, Mum!” from a four-year-old who moments before was only interested in finding the hotel swimming pool, confirms we are in the presence of greatness.

Visitors could once scale Uluru via an iron handrail bolted into the rock. The climb was closed in 2019 in respect of Tjukurpa, meaning the Anangu people’s connection to their environment and ancestors, and the spiritual significance of the site. The line running up the Rock where millions of tourists trod is now referred to as a scar. Visitors today are encouraged to participate in a variety of more culturally sensitive activities. Walking tours, self-guided bike rides, cave drawing discovery, and billabong sightings are just some of the ways to keep all ages active and engaged.

Over the next four days we take a mother-daughter 15km bike ride around Uluru, enjoy a sunrise tour through the national park, and partake in informative activities on offer within the resort.

The National Indigenous Training Academy at Yulara trains and employs people within Ayers Rock Resort so the majority of activities are led by those who have the strongest connection to the storytelling.

They guide us through captivating bush yarns, laugh with us during a didgeridoo workshop, delight us in stargazing and bring out our creativity in a traditional dot painting. And yes, we did find a gumtree-shaded pool to relax by in the 26-degree autumn heat when the dust started to settle on our days.

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

About the author

Ozzie

Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.

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