Uluru, or Ayers Rock as it is commonly known, is one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks. But, nearby, there is another natural wonder that is well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Kata Tjuta is a collection of large domed rock formations that jut out of the arid landscape to the southwest of Alice Springs. Together with Uluru, they make up the two most popular landmarks in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which is considered to be a sacred site to the Aboriginal people of Australia.
The lengthy history of the landmark means there are plenty of stories circulating it. As well as viewing the incredible scenery that surrounds it, including dusty red dunes and tufts of greenery, you can learn all about the rich array of legends that surround Kata Tjuta and Uluru while you’re in the area.
The Naming of Kata Tjuta
Kata Tjuta is commonly known as The Olgas to visitors. It was given this name thanks to its tallest peak, Mount Olga, which juts a little higher than the other rock formations in the vicinity.
Mount Olga was named by Ernest Giles back in 1872 after Queen Olga of Wurttemberg.
The Legends of Kata Tjuta
The landscape surrounding Kata Tjuta and Uluru is sacred to the Aboriginal people of Australia, which means there are numerous dreamtime stories that circulate them.
There are a few legends that remember the great snake king, Wanambi, who was thought to reside at the top of Mount Olga, only coming down to ground level in the dry season. It was thought that his breath could turn a breeze into a hurricane, punishing those who committed evil deeds in the region.
Despite there being a rich heritage surrounding the Olgas, much of the mythology is not disclosed to outsiders or tourists – particularly women as, according to Aboriginal tradition, if a woman learns about “men’s business”, she is susceptible to violent attacks.
The Anangu Aboriginal peoples believe something slightly different about Kata Tjuta. They believe that the rock formations are home to spirit energy from the ‘Dreaming’. Since 1995, the site has been used for cultural ceremonies after taking a break for many years.
Kata Tjuta is a magical place that really shows the true natural beauty of Australia. This part of the country is renowned for its rich Aboriginal history and its incredible displays of scenery so, if you’re in the area, be sure to check it out and learn all about the Dreamtime stories and legends that still imbue it today.