The trail at the base of Uluru is about 10.5km long. There was no way we were going to be able to walk that with all of our kids, so we opted to take our bikes. The trail is not at all strenuous and most people we saw that day were walking with just a few others on bikes. The kids were anxious to touch Uluru, they’d been asking if they’d be able to before we even got there. So they took the first chance they could to get close to the rock. Up close Uluru has so many magnificent features. I’ve seen pictures before but it was hard to imagine how it all fits together. This is one of the spots where after a rain water spills over in a series of cascading waterfalls. Unfortunately in the dry season, the most popular tourist season, you are unlikely to see any water here. There are several of these spots around Uluru, they must be just beautiful after a rain. More magnificent scenery… Another place where the trail goes close enough to touch Uluru! You can see some rock art along the way. There are a couple of waterholes, not much water in them this time of year. This was a spot where you had to walk in a little way, we waited for a school group to go first. We’ve seen quite a few school groups doing tours of the region. At the campsite we saw several come and go. They are easy to spot because they set up dozens of identical tents all in neat little rows. 🙂 One of the very few benches along the way! The kids saw this and immediately thought of Wave Rock in Western Australia that we hope to visit later in our trip. So of course they had to surf it. Again with the magnificent features… Another spot to touch Uluru! When you get around to the back the trail is further away from the rock. There’s little shade along this part of the path. I wonder why the path strays so far. There are certain parts of the rock that are more sacred than others, maybe that has something to do with it. Everyone we saw was dutifully sticking to the trail. 🙂 Then we rounded the end and came closer again. During the wet season this particular spot features a waterfall, there was a tiny bit of water at the bottom when we were there. We hung out in the cool shade for a little while before moving on. More rock art and another wave rock. And a gazillion pictures! All the kids had to get up here for a picture. Blame it on TurboBug (2), he was first. Another cascading waterfall. There are certain parts of Uluru that you aren’t supposed to photograph, there are signs indicating these spots and stories behind why. They are sacred sites to the traditional owners. This waterfall was right at the end of one of those sites. More rock art! I wish there had been more information about the paintings. I had never heard of the marsupial mole. According to this article, sightings are very rare at only 5-10 per decade. They have a backward-facing pouch like a wombat and they can ‘swim’ through the dirt, having slightly webbed back feet. They apparently made these holes in the rock. Amazing! So what about climbing Uluru? It seemed like everyone we met had the same question: Is the climb open? It wasn’t open the day we did our bike ride. This is the trail, see the lighter section of the rock? That dark line going up the lighter line is a handrail. Climbing Uluru takes about an hour but they close it during windy conditions, or when they have to make rescues. Signs nearby explain that the Anangu do not want anyone to climb Uluru. Over the years nearly three dozen people have died attempting the climb. It’s also an incredibly sacred site to them. In fact, the park is working toward closing the climb permanently. I have to wonder how old this sign is, though. In the 1980s the government agreed to hand ownership of the land back to the Anangu and agreed to forbid climbing, the land would be leased back to the government and jointly managed with the traditional owners. The agreement was broken and allowing people to climb Uluru ended up being a part of the lease. I guess the government wasn’t quite willing to give up the lure of the climb and all the tourists it brings in. The climb was not in our plans for this trip anyway. It’s steep, it’s an hour-long hike, and it’s very hot. Did I mention we have young kids? So the climb being closed wasn’t really an issue for us. Our bike ride was a perfect way for us to experience Uluru as a family. It’s so different up close and it’s one of those lifetime experiences that I’m so glad we were able to do. We’ve been to Uluru!!!