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Heavens Above

There are few places where the stars shine as brightly as they do in the outback. Which is why Uluru is the perfect place to indulge in a spot of star gazing.

Heavens Above

Monday, 5 August 2019

Guest Post by Ute Junker

Astronomy at Uluru

There are few places where the stars shine as brightly as they do in the outback. Far removed from the bright lights of the big cities, the stars blaze fiercely in the desert sky. Which is why Uluru is the perfect place to indulge in a spot of star gazing. Ayers Rock Resort makes it easy to explore the wonders of the universe, with a choice of astronomy sessions. If you are travelling with children, the family-friendly option just after sunset is perfect, while adult travellers will find the after-dinner session makes for a memorable nightcap.

The sessions, which are an entertaining mix of science and mythology, include the opportunity to look at the stars through high-powered telescopes. However, you will be amazed at how easy it is to spot planets and constellations that are all but invisible in the cities, just with your naked eye.

There is no predicting what you will see - depending on the timing of your visit, you may be able to marvel at the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn or the magnificent sweep of the Magellanic cloud. You may even get to enjoy the blink-and-you-miss-it wonder of a meteor shooting through the sky.

Astronomy at Uluru

These astro tours do more than just highlight the secrets of the cosmos, however. They also give you the opportunity to see the night sky through Indigenous eyes. Just as our ancestors told stories about the stars shining far above them - think of all those planets named after Greek gods - Indigenous Australian's also have a rich collection of beliefs and stories linked to the stars.

Take, for instance, the giant emu in the sky. Unlike the constellations that we are familiar with, which are delineated by stars, the outline of the emu is a negative shape, formed by looking at the dark sky between the stars. Once it has been pointed out to you, you will wonder how it is that you never noticed it before.

Then there are the seven sisters, the heroes of one of the epic tales of Indigenous Australia. Songlines that stretch the length of the continent recount the many adventures that befell the resourceful sisters as they tried to escape the relentless hunter Wati Neru. Eventually, the girls did find a place of refuge: they fled high into the heavens, where they were transformed into the constellation that we know as the Pleiades.

If the night sky fires your imagination join on of the free Astronomy Information Sessions & activities of the Astronomer in Residence Program to meet and interact with the astrophysicist in residence.

About Ute Junker

Ute Junker worked as a magazine editor and TV and digital producer before running away to become a travel writer. She now gets to pursue her passions - including food, history, art, architecture and wildlife - across the globe.

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Create your own itinerary using the My Itinerary planner. Start by browsing and adding experiences to your itinerary to help you plan your days. Then select accommodation that best suits your style and budget before finalising your perfect Uluru escape. You can easily save your itinerary and come back to it at a later date.

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1 Day Hop On Hop Off Pass

This 1-day Hop On Hop Off pass gives you the freedom to explore Uluru at your own pace for one day. From sunrise to sunset, hop on and hop off as much as you like throughout the day. Additionally, this pass also entitles you to one bonus transfer to and from Kata Tjuta within the same day. Download timetable and map

15min Uluru and Resort Postcard Flight (daytime)

Limited on time? Take to the skies on a 15 minute scenic helicopter flight that takes you past Ayers Rock Resort and onto breathtaking views of the desert landscape and the majestic Uluru, as well as Kata Tjuta in the distance. Enjoy this tour anytime throughout the day, excluding sunrise and sunset. Tour duration is approx. 1 hour

15min Rock Blast (Daytime)

Launch off on a rock blasting adventure and take in the sights of Ayers Rock Resort and surrounding desert landscape as you make your way towards Uluru. Enjoy a panoramic view of the breathtaking scenery unique to the Red Centre.  Tour duration approx. 1 hour
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Longitude 131°

Located adjacent to Ayers Rock Resort, Longitude 131° offers an exclusive experience of the Australian Outback, rich in cultural heritage and history.

Emu Walk Apartments

Ayers Rock Resort's 4 star self-contained apartments: Only 20km from Uluru, the newly renovated 1 and 2 bedroom apartments are sheltered behind gardens of native trees. Lowest Price Guarantee.

Ayers Rock Campground

Ayers Rock campground is located only 15km from Uluru and offers cabin accommodation, unpowered and powered sites for caravans, campervans, motor homes and camper trailers. Campground offers modern camping facilities and a playground, pool, supermarket and petrol station.
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Ecology & Museum Tour

Wintjiri museum provides an educational display highlighting local history, Aboriginal culture, geology, flora and fauna. On this interpretative tour of the museum your Aboriginal guide will introduce you to the region's unique ecology and classes of mammals and fauna types not found anywhere else in the world.  Gain insights into the Anangu land conservation and management practices as well as a brief historical overview; starting 30,000 years ago with the Aboriginal habitation to the early European explorers, and the development of tourism at Uluru. Tour duration: approx. 45 minutes. Days and times: daily, 3pm Location: Wintjiri Arts & Museum

Bush Yarn

Welcome to the Circle of Sand, the Indigenous heart of Ayers Rock Resort. You'll become captivated by the yarns told by an Indigenous storyteller of Aboriginal history, culture and traditional techniques used on the land. Dependant on the season, learn about traditional bushtucker or an Indigenous man’s “survival kit” including weapons such as katjii (hunting spears), tjutinpa (clubs), kali (boomerangs) and miru (spear thrower). Tour duration: approx 30 minutes. Days and times: daily, 10am, 11:30am, 11am, 11:30am Location: Town Square Lawn Area

Bush Food Experience

Learn about Australian and local native bush foods with a tasting of seasonal seeds, fruits and spices. Your knowledgeable guide will describe how for centuries the Indigenous people used the bush for food.  You'll find out about the uses of certain plants, fruits, grains and spices and about traditional food preparation methods. Enjoy a cooking demonstration of a recipe using some of the ancient native bush ingredients. Tour duration: approx. 45 minutes.  Days and times: daily, 1pm Location: Wintjiri Arts & Museum
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3 Day Uluru Outback Adventure Itinerary

Discover adventure in the Australian outback over 2 adventure-packed nights. Witness an amazing sunrise over Uluru. Get an adrenaline rush on a Harley Davidson ride. Enjoy dinner under the stars at the award-winning Sounds of Silence and various guest activities. Tours in this itinerary requires a moderate level of fitness.

3 Day Uluru Budget Itinerary

Explore Australia's Red Centre on a budget in 2 packed nights. Experience the magic of Uluru. Enjoy a dinner under the stars at the award-winning Sounds of Silence, walk through the Field of Light and discover various guest activities that will provide you with unforgettable memories. This itinerary is designed for those wanting a budget adventure.

3 Day Luxury Itinerary

Enjoy this 2 night Luxury Uluru getaway and experience the unforgettable Tali Wiru dinner under the Central Australian desert night sky. Watch the sun rise over Uluru as the desert awakens and join various Indigenous activities at Ayers Rock Resort. This itinerary is suited to couples or two singles wanting an indulgent Outback stay.
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