Australia (863 m) – Most Iconic Mountain in Australia
Mount Uluru, an immense rock prominence jutting up from the very middle of the Australian continent, is better known by the name westerners have given it, Ayers Rock. Arguably Australia’s most famous natural site, Uluru is considered to be an island mountain, as it is essentially a large sandstone formation from which the surrounding area for miles in every direction has been eroded down to a flat plain. It is famous for the red glow which it gives off at sunrise and sunset.
The area around Uluru has been settled for at least ten thousand years. Aborigine tribesman consider the mountain sacred, and ancient petroglyphs and other remnants of early habitation have been found all over the site. Uluru was first explored by Europeans in 1872, and the mountain was first scaled in the later part of the 19th century.
Mount Uluru became a major tourist destination in the 1930s. However, due to the importance of the site to local tribesmen, the area around the mountain was returned to a more or less pristine state the 1980s. Although still popular with tourists, its remote location in the middle of the desert in the heart of the Australian continent makes it an extremely off the beaten track destination. The closest sizeable town is Alice Springs, more than 250 miles to the northeast, while Sidney and Melbourne are more than 1,200 miles away to the southeast.