23 Interesting & Unusual Facts About Uluru [2024]

Uluru is a place that has long fascinated, not just due to my minor UNESCO Heritage Site obsession, but also, despite all the photos and YouTube videos, I couldn’t quite get my head around this big rock rising out of the desert, I needed to see it with my own eyes.

Whilst we were there I learned a lot about Uluru, and combined with the research I did beforehand, here I share the most interesting and unusual facts about this sacred rock.

I do not claim to be an expert on Uluru, just an interested traveller who loves doing my research before a holiday, so I can bore my family in the traditional style of dads through the ages!

Related: All Uluru Posts | Flies at Uluru | Views from Imalung Lookout


The Reeves have lived for over 5 years in Melbourne, with little Gracie being born here. We have travelled extensively, picking up lots of tips about how to make the most of this incredible country.
Ben Reeve
Post Author

Physical Facts About Uluru

The World’s Largest Single Rock Monolith

There is some contention whether Uluru or Mount Augustus in Western Australia is the biggest rock in the world.

Well, the truth is that Mount Augustus pips Uluru in size, as it’s around 1.5 times bigger, however Uluru still has a trick up its sleeve.

Uluru is the world’s largest single rock monolith. Mount Augustus is made up of multiple rocks, whereas Uluru is made up of just one. So there we go, it wins, on a technicality!

A Tall Rock

Uluru is reaches 863m metres above sea level, and is 348 metres above the surrounding desert.

A Long Rock

uluru at sunset against a purple sky

Uluru is 3.6km long (it’s also 1.9km wide) and has a circumference of 9.4km – bear that in mind when you set out to do the base walk on a blazing hot outback day!

An Iceberg

One of the most unusual facts I found about Uluru, was that there’s significantly more of it underground than above it.

Uluru is thought to go around 2,500m underground, so there’s about seven times more rock below the surface than above it.

A Heavy Rock

Uluru is estimated to weight just over 1.4 billion tonnes.

In 2018, a survey was undertaken as part of the Catalyst TV program by the Northern Territory Geological Survey using satellite images, rock density and size, which put the mass of the above ground portion of Uluru at 1,425,000,000 tonnes!

Vs Other Iconic Landmarks

I was also interested in how big Uluru is vs other natural landmarks around the world.

Below might seem like a random selection, but these are all things that I guessed might be a similar height to Uluru. I was very wrong on most of them!

LandmarkHeight or Depth (vs surrounding landscape)vs Uluru
Angel Falls (Venezuela)979m+631m
Eiffel Tower (France)330m-12m
Grand Canyon (USA)1,829m+1,481m
Empire State Building (USA)380m+32m
Ha Long Bay Stacks (Vietnam)98m-250m
Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania)610m+262
Statue of Liberty (USA)93m-255m
Great Pyramids (Egypt)139m-209m

It’s Not Actually Red

a close up image of a small portion of uluru showing the red rock with a tree in front but a grey streak where recent water has come down the side
Recent rainfall had washed away some of the orange colour to show the grey rock when we visited

This may be hard to believe, but Uluru isn’t actually red.

No, your eyes don’t deceive you, what you’re actually seeing is rust.

Uluru is made of a rock called arkose, which is actually grey in colour. Arkose contains iron, which when mixed with rain causes the red colour of Uluru.

When you get up close to the rock, you can see parts that have recently worn away where the grey shows through.


Uluru is an inselberg.

Whilst is sounds like a small town in Australia, an Inselberg is actually an isolated hill that sticks out from the surrounding planes.

It is a combination of the German words insel (island) and berg (mountain).

A Long Way From Anywhere

Despite being in the Northern Territory, the closest state capital to Uluru is actually Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia at 1,544km away (Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory is 1,963km north!).

The closest major town is Alice Springs, and that is 465 kms away (for European readers, that’s the same distance as driving London to Paris!).

(P.S. I realise the Northern Territory isn’t a state, but don’t hate me too much).

Facts About Uluru’s History

A Sacred Site

Uluru is a sacred site to the local Anangu people who own the land.

According to Uluru dreamtime, the world was a featureless place until the ancestors of the Anangu emerged and travelled across the land, creating the mountains. Uluru represents the physical evidence of their ancestor’s time on the earth and is seen as one of their most dramatic and inspiring creations.

30,000 Years of Human History

Aboriginal people have lived around Uluru for over 30,000 years,

If you complete the base walk, you’ll see lots of sites sacred to the Anangu people, including a school site and rock paintings.

European Eyes

The first non-Aboroginal person to see Uluru was William Gosse, in 1873.

A year before, Ernest Giles was the first explorer to see Kata-Tjuta, naming it Mount Olga after Queen Olga of Württemberg. He was at Kings Canyon at the time, so was too far away to see Uluru.

As Big as the Himalayas

Uluru and Kata Tjuta were once part of the Petermann Mountain range, which was formed 550 million years ago after the Indian techtonic plate smashed into the Australian one.

This formed a mountain range which would have been as big as the Himalayas, which has been word away over millions of years, with only the harder rock outcrops remaining.

Facts About Tourism at Uluru

Protected for the Future of Humankind

Uluru is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means it is ‘of outstanding universal value to humanity’.

It was added to the list in 1987 for its natural attributes, and then updated again in 1994 where it was recognised also for its outstanding cultural importance.

In fact, there are ten criteria for UNESCO Heritage selection, and Uluru now qualifies under four of them (the record being nine, given to the Tasmanian Wilderness Area):

  1. (v) An outstanding example of traditional human settlement which is representative of a culture
  2. (vi) It is directly associated with events of living traditions
  3. (vii) It contains superlative natural phenomena and areas of exception natural beauty and aesthetic important
  4. (viii) An outstanding example representing major stages of earth’s history, including record of life and ongoing geological processes

National Park Status

Uluru was first given national park status in 1950, under the name Ayers Rock.

In 1958, the area was taken from its Aboriginal owners, to for the Ayers Rock-Mount Olga National Park.

In 1977 the national park saw a name change, to Uluru and Kata Tjuta National (Ayers Rock-Mt Olga) National Park.

on 26th October 1985, the Anangu people were recognised as the traditional owners of the park, and given back the deeds to their native lands. The Anangu leased the lands to the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service for 99 years, and continues to be jointly managed.

The park was renamed to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in 1993.

Keep Off

a side photo of uluru showing where the climb used to be with a clear greay path up the orange rock and a sign at the front saying it was closed on 28 october 2019
The start of the now closed Uluru climb

Climbing Uluru is no longer possible.

The controversial tourist money-raiser was stopped on 26th October 2019, after years of concerns raised by the Anangu people who own the land.

Royal Visits

Uluru has been visited by Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana were here in 1983 as part of their Australia tour, with Kate and William visiting over 30 years later in 2014.

Unusual Uluru Facts

The World’s Most Famous Rock

It’s hard to say this is 100% a fact, but Uluru just appear on top of most of the ‘world’s most famous rock‘ lists I’ve seen.

Step aside, Gibraltar, Blarney, Rosetta and Dwayne Johnson, Uluru beats you all!

An Infamous Story

In 1980, one of the most infamous stories in Australia history took place at an Uluru campsite.

Nine-week old Azaria Chamberlain was taken from her tent by a dingo, leading to a story which everyone had an opinion on, and ended up with the imprisonment, and subsequent release of her mother Lindy Chamberlain.

There have been three inquests, the first and fourth agreeing that a dingo was the cause of death, the second finding that Lindy should be charged with murder, and the third left open.

Wetter Than You Think

Uluru gets around 300mm of rainfall on an average year.

When you consider Melbourne has about 650mm, that’s a surprisingly large amount.

READ NEXT: An Essential Packing List for Uluru [First-Hand Guide]

Three Dozen Deaths

It is estimated that 37 people died on Uluru during the period that climbing was allowed on the rock, with most suffering heart attacks, but some people slipping and falling off the steep sides.


Having spent a few month telling my Australia colleagues I was visiting Uh-lur-roo, and getting confused looks, I finally figures out I was getting the pronunciation wrong.

To get yourself understand, try ooo-luh-roo instead.


In the 2020 update to their ‘Ultimate Travel List 500’ book, Lonely Planet writers voted Uluru as the 3rd best place to visit on earth.

the reeves family picture


Reeves Roam, is a first-hand travel blog. The Reeves have lived in the UK, South Africa and Australia and have travelled extensively in Europe and Southeast Asia.

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Thanks – Ben, Becca and Gracie