Uluru - a hypnotic presence

by Friederike Standhartinger
(Linz, Austria)

On our first trip to Australia in August 2002 we drove from Darwin to Uluru in a campervan. Usually, before I leave home, I like to read books about the place I want to go to. Among others I had read Bill Bryson's "Down Under".

Anyway, driving hundreds of miles to see a rock which we had seen on postcards, calendars, T-shirts and on the internet a thousand times already, at some stage seemed a stupid thing to do. There is an abundance of striking rocks in our home country Austria.

And yet, when we were finally looking at Uluru in the light of the setting sun, I remembered what Bryson had written:

"And then you see it, and you are instantly transfixed. There, in the middle of a memorable and imposing emptiness, stands an eminence of exceptional nobility and grandeur... Uluru is, no matter how you approach it, totally arresting. You cannot stop looking at it; you don't want to stop looking at it."

Well, of course, there were many tourists there, but I didn't mind their presence. It was a similar experience to when I first saw Leonardo da Vinci's "La Gioconda" in the middle of a crowd of tourists in the Louvre in Paris or the famous sunset at Cable Beach: When I finally turned my eyes from the spectacular sight I noticed that the beauty and serenity of Uluru (like that of Mona Lisa and the sunset at the Indian Ocean) was reflected on the peaceful faces of the people around me.

On the following day we walked around Uluru, which was an experience not to forget. As you draw closer it becomes even more interesting. The monolith is pitted, there are wavelike ribs, it's more irregular in shape than you would think from the distance. It's an awesome site, and we could understand that it is sacred to many people.

Why there is a chain handhold inviting people to climb the rock is completely beyond my comprehension. I guess in Europe there would be a public outcry, if some tourist board made it possible for tourists to climb cathedrals, churches or chapels.

Photo by Ernieski

Comments for Uluru - a hypnotic presence

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Beautifully said
by: Birgit

Thanks for those really beautiful words, Friederike, both yours and Bryson's.

I always struggle to put those kinds of experiences into words. I'm glad that my readers are so much better at it than I am!

Thanks from Australia lover :)
by: Anonymous

Hello, B!

Australia is my dream and it's great that you made a niche blog about this country.

Because reading on Wikipedia, for example, is pretty boring.

I read many bloggers who write about Australia and yours is one my favorite.

I only can advice to add more photos in high resolution, because many of your pictures are great, but I can't see it in HD.

As I wrote you visited Australia first time when you were a student - it's great.

I dream about my own journey to Australia, hope one day I will start my great trip for 2-3 month.

After I've wrote your story of blogging and your monthly money incomes I also started my travel blog.

Thanks for all. Good luck!

Your Jenny!

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