It’s difficult to catch that perfect, postcard picture of Uluru (more commonly known as Ayers Rock) while you’re on a bumpy bus taking you there. You might be desperate to capture the moment your eyes first settle on the iconic rock, but you will soon learn that there is a bigger picture to this mysterious place.

Ayers Rock

There’s an overload of culture and a necessity for respect around Uluru, almost making it nerve-racking to kick up the red sand beneath your feet. Sieving it through your fingers proves that it really is as powdery and dusty as you imagined: this isn’t beach sand, this is the desert sand of the blistering outback.

The best way to see Uluru is with a sunrise tour, with an Aboriginal tour guide to steer you around the 10km walk around the base of Uluru. The tour guides use the unique formations on the rock to explain Indigenous people’s beliefs through gripping stories, as though they sprung up by mere coincidence. Even the progressive gentle buzz of the numerous flies won’t distract from the fascination about how central Uluru is to the Aborigine culture. The faded drawings on cave walls as rough as sandpaper stand out to show how far back in history the importance of Uluru goes, and how little we know about it here on the other side of the world.

Some angles of Uluru around the base look dissimilar from the rectangular profile generally displayed through media. It is always changing, from the outline and shape to the influence of the sun on its colour. At sunrise it is a sharp bronze, transforming into a soft red-brown and back into the mesmerising bronze for sunset. There’s more to Uluru than that one silhouette, and it all comes to a climax in the darkness at night where stars outnumber people.

Every patch of the sky is covered in silver specs of detail and the air is still but more refreshing than any breeze could offer. That’s when you appreciate how overwhelming this big open space is, and as you’re paused in the present of the moment, the epiphany clicks and you get the bigger picture. There are many more important and amazing things in the world than we realise.