Why does Uluru have 2 names?

Why does Uluru have 2 names?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 02/03/2023

Reading time: 3 mins

Uluru can be found in the middle of Australia. Uluru is one of the most fascinating and is one of the biggest rocks in the world.

Uluru (or Ayers Rock) was the first feature to have two names in the Northern Territory. Uluru has always been called Uluru by the Anangu people. But it got renamed in 1837 and became known worldwide as Ayers Rock. Until 1993, when it got the dual name Ayers Rock/Uluru. In 2002, the names were reversed, and the rock is now known as Uluru/Ayers Rock. This means you can say Uluru or Ayers Rock. However, in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park they will always call it Uluru.


For over 30,000 years Anangu people have lived in Uluru and Kata Tjuta areas. Anangu people believe they are responsible to protect these ancestral lands of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. There’s Aboriginal rock art around Uluru that you can still see today. Rock art is evidence of how cultural knowledge and Tjukurpa stories got passed on between generations. There are about 80 rock art sites around Uluru. Anangu people own Uluru and the surrounding lands. The national park is leased to Parks Australia by the Anangu people. Both have been working together on the national park since 1985. This was when the traditional owners were handed back Uluru and the national park.

Ayers Rock

William Gosse was the first non-Aboriginal person who saw Uluru in 1837. William Gosse named Uluru Ayers Rock after Sir Henry Ayers who was once the Chief Secretary of South Australia. From then, Ayers Rock was commonly known by this name.

What can I do in Uluru?

There are many tours that take you around Uluru and the national park. There is a one day tour from Alice Springs or a three day tour of Uluru and Kings Canyon.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre

To learn more about the Anangu people and their culture, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre is the place to go. We recommend visiting the cultural centre first to get a better understanding of the Anangu people.

Uluru Base Walk

When visiting Uluru, it’s highly recommended to do the base walk! Though it can be a a quite long three to four hour walk, you learn so much about Uluru and the Anangu people. On the base walk you’ll see the Aboriginal rock art, and waterways and discover native plants and animals. If you don’t have time to do the base walk, you can do the shorter walk and see some parts of Uluru.

Uluru sunrise/sunset

There are five different viewing areas of Uluru to capture the full scene of the sunrise and sunset. Both experiences are different, so we recommend you see the sunrise and sunset if you can! The scene is just beautiful, and you won’t forget it.

You will be able to see the most amazing things Uluru has to offer when you plan your trip here!

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.