The Changing Colours of Uluru

Uluru or Ayers Rock is the most famous landmark in Australia. The ‘big rock’ in the centre of the country represents more than just a big stone in the middle of the country. It is Uluru colours believed to be a sacred site for the neighbouring Aboriginal communities, as well as a big part of their myths and legends of how Australia was created. Regardless of what you believe, there’s no doubt that the giant sandstone rock is beautiful and unbelievably large. Its size is hard to comprehend, as the majority of the rock is below the earth’s surface. It’s said that 2.5 km’s of the rock in the underground! Ayers Rock is 863 metres high and a circumference of 9.4 kilometres, making this landmark big enough to see from space! As much as the size keeps tourists driving in herds to see it, the sunrise and sunset are what keeps them there.

Uluru Sunrise

The Formation of Uluru

There are said to be two ways in which Uluru was formed. The first way is told by the Anangu people of Uluru, the traditional owners of the land, who retell the story of the Dreamtime formation. The other is a recent story by modern geologists.

  • The Aboriginal Dreamtime Story of Uluru

    Uluru was said to of form at the very beginning of time, known as the Dreamtime. Numerous ancestor spirits took part in creating the structure, with each section formed due to a particular spirit and event. The south side of Uluru is said to be formed by the war between the snake species, the poisonous and carpet. The North Side by Mala, the hare people of the region, and even a large mark on the side of the structure is said to be a mother snake who was doing a ritual dance towards her nearby eggs. Overall there are around 10 different ancestral spirits who crafted the famous site.

  • The Geologist’s explanation on Uluru

    Uluru was said to of formed around 500 million years ago. This was the same time where the supercontinent known as Gondwana was separating, slowly creating the smaller continent Australia. Due to the moving plates, the earth fans were being put under extreme pressure. Two of these fans were in the location of Where Uluru is today, with one made out of the sand, and the other made from conglomerate rock. This was around the time when the Australian continent developed. Uluru originally started underwater and began with two fans, one made of sand, were as the other was composed of conglomerate rock. The pressure soon grew too much, and the fans finally formed together to create the structure we know today as Uluru.

Uluru’s Certain features

  • The Southern Side

    Uluru’s southern side displays a large portion of potholes and deep plunges. Turning the rock into a bumpy and Uluru features a series of steep valleys with large potholes and gaps. These holes within Uluru were not their millions of years ago, and have only developed and grown over time due to continuous erosion. Rainfall slowly falling and pooling in the deeper sections of Uluru has slowly cut away at the rock, creating deeper and deeper holes.

  • The North-West Side

    The other side of Uluru has seen a different form of Erosion, with large parallel ridges cut away along the rock. With rainfall trickling down the same spot of the rock until a long straight gap emerged.

  • Uluru’s Smooth Surface

    Uluru’s top features long lines of smooth rock sections, and it is all due to humans. Climbing the Uluru was once a common practice for tourists, with millions of feet travelling up and down the massive rock every day. Nowadays, it is slowly fading out, with it becoming an illegal practice in October this year. However, the damage has already been done, with the millions of feet slowly eroding the rough rock into a smooth structure.

  • Uluru’s Flaky Surface

    Once you get up close and personal, it may look like Uluru is red from sunburn and slowly peeling. But the flaky exterior is all due to the rock’s chemical decay of minerals. Typically an arkose rock, which is Uluru’s material is a greyish colour. But due to the oxidation of the iron found in Uluru, a rusty flaky residue occurs.

  • Its Famously Bright Colour

    If you hear someone talking about Ayers Rock, they are more than likely going to speak about the colours that find their way into their photos. The reason for it’s striking bright colour is due to the iron minerals found within the rock. The iron has slowly rusted over the years, leaving the 3.6km long and 1.9kms wide rock a rusty red colour. However, this isn’t the only colour Uluru shins, with certain periods of the day illumining the colour into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

When to see the Colours

The best times to see these changing of colours is either at sunrise or sunset. At sunrise, the sun creeps from the ground and slowly fills the rock with a bright red, as if it is on fire. As the sun makes its way over the rock, it transforms back to its original rusty orange hue.

At sunset, the fun begins again when the sun hits the rock on its way down, changing from sizzling red and back to orange again. This spectacle is the most popular time in Uluru National Park. Tourists, tour buses, travellers, and even the wildlife come out to capture what is to be an experience to never forget.

Uluru Sunset

Where can you see Uluru?

There are designated areas around Ayers Rock that you are allowed to view the sunset. These car parks are packed with people and their photo equipment, taking video and snapshots of the sun’s descent behind the horizon. There are even grand experiences like ‘Sounds of Silence’ dinner. Watch the sunset on Ayers Rock while you casually enjoy a glass of champagne and gasp in awe of the beautiful view in front of you. Dinner is served after sunset buffet style and with help of hurricane at sunrise lamps. If you want the ultimate experience out at Uluru, dining in the outback while watching the changing colours of the rock might be your best bet.

Be sure to check out our Uluru Sunrise or Sunset Tour today!

Related article: Best time to visit Uluru.

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