"Living at `The Rock`" Top 5 Page for this destination Uluru National Park (Ayers Rock) by Hewer

Uluru National Park (Ayers Rock) Travel Guide: 436 reviews and 1,214 photos

My work

I lived and worked at Ayers Rock for three years between 1997 and 2000.

I managed the Ayers Rock Resort Visitors Center, as well the hotel tour sales outlets. We were responsible for advising visitors on what to do with their time in the area. Part of my work initially involved guiding German, Austrian and Swiss tour groups around the National Park.

I got to meet some interesting people over the years. There are some colourful characters among the permanent residents there!

The place where I actually lived was in the resort residential area, about five minutes walk from the Outback Pioneer Hotel. The township is called Yulara, and it has a permanent population of between 1000 and 1500, depending on the time of year. It is located about 25km from Ayers Rock (Uluru).

Ayers Rock or Uluru? The monolith has been officially known as Uluru since 1985, when the National Park was handed back to the traditional custodians. The resort village near the resort is called `Ayers Rock Resort`, and the majority of residents refer to Uluru as Ayers Rock, or simply `The Rock`. I remember getting odd looks from people elsewhere in Australia when I told them I lived at `Ayers Rock` - not because of my odd choice for a place to live, but more so for my lack of cultural manners for persisting with a redundant and politically incorrect name. Actually it was a case of neither. I deeply respect the traditional owners and I think `The Rock` was a pretty decent place to earn a living.....

The Rain

One of the most exciting times as an Ayers Rock resident was a heavy downpour.

Usually, if my workload allowed it, I would try to head into the National Park immediately. Sometimes there were long spells with no rain so a heavy downpour became a rarity and a novelty.

The average rainfall per year is about 295 mm (approx 11 inches). There was less than 100mm in 1996 but almost 2000mm in 1974.

January 26, 2000 was the wettest day on record. The waterhole in this picture, usually barely one meter deep, swelled to over three meters, overwhelming the viewing platform! I`ll never forget standing knee-deep in the bar of the Outback Pioneer Hotel later that afternoon, glimpsing Ayers Rock off in the distance from the side entrance of the bar, with three blokes standing on a table belting out `Waltzing Matilda` in protest after resort security came to close the facility due to the flood.

Best of all, nobody seems to like the rain so you`ll have many of the attractions to yourself.

Kata Tjuta

I will always have a particular soft spot for Kata Tjuta, or `The Olgas` as it was called initially by Europeans.

I visited the National Park more than 500 times as part of my work and also out of personal interest, but Kata Tjuta never ceased to amaze me. What surprises me is that Kata Tjuta is often viewed as an optional extra, but to me it was the main event.

Kata Tjuta consists of 36 dome-like formations about 45km west of Uluru. At its highest point, Mt. Olga (pictured just to the right of my head) rises 546 meters above the surrounding plain (1069 meters above sea level). It is some 200 meters higher than Uluru. The entire formation has a circumference of 36km.

There were always fewer people at Kata Tjuta to view the outback sunset that so many come to see.

I`d highly recommend you take the time to appreciate this part of the National Park.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Breathtaking Scenery and a Million Stars
  • Cons:Flies, Crowds, Heat, high price of groceries
  • In a nutshell:Red Sands, Good Times and Spinifex
  • Last visit to Uluru National Park (Ayers Rock): May 2000
  • Intro Updated Apr 16, 2005
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Reviews (20)

Comments (7)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    Excellent info. and photos! Thanks for sharing this valuable and interesting information.

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Lovely stuff. I've never been (plan to in a couple of months) but am really looking forward to Kata Tjuta as you suggest I should. Cheers

  • Gillybob's Profile Photo
    Oct 24, 2007 at 7:30 AM

    I can't wait to be here next year - I'm hoping the planning and anticipation will see me through the UK winter! Gillybob greetings

  • mesoblonda's Profile Photo
    Oct 1, 2006 at 8:51 PM

    G'day Craig! That little one is growing like a weed! Great pic! Thanks for the bday wishes, it's been too long since we've said hello!

  • sorcieus's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2005 at 2:57 PM

    Very helpful page Craig. I am planning to take a 2 day trip to Uluru from Brisbane in Dec.

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2005 at 9:34 PM

    top page indeed, and the pix are superb. well done and tks for sharing...good work ^..^

  • kiwi's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2004 at 1:12 PM

    Wow, You actually lived there! this is a super page, with very knowledgable tips by a resident. Interesting concept that you get 360deg views from mcycle. thanks! Top page!!


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