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Mt Augustus VS Ayers Rock

Mt Augustus VS Ayers Rock
06/09/2019 Tim Casey
Mount Augustus

As West Australians, we are slightly preferential to Mt Augustus and holds great pride that it is bigger than Ayers Rock.  Though Uluru is its own iconic destination and here are a few little facts that compare the two. Travelling to both these renowned destinations are amazing journeys that are filled with red dirt, blue sky and an onset to another year of amazing wildflowers.

Both are “Island Mountains” or Inselbergs where Uluru is a rock monolith consisting of a single rock while Mt. Augustus is a monocline that is an asymmetrical anticline formed by a geological linear, strata dip in one direction between horizontal layers on each side. Uluru dates to around 600 million years old and 348m high while Mt Augustus just a mere 1.6 billion, 3 times older than Uluru and twice the size as it stands 858m in height.

Mt Augustus is approximately 480km northeast of Carnarvon and stands 715m above sea level and is known as Barringurrah to the Wajarri people, this area is dominated by arid shrubland with wattles, cassias and eremophilas that cover the surrounding plain and the most amazing site with the Mulla Mulla – WA wildflowers appear.

A closer look reveals Mt Augustus’ amazing rock art, mysterious caves and for thousands of years natural springs. There are multiple walk trails ranging from 200m – 12km return, though majority of explorers take the less strenuous walk challenge to the Summit Trail, many hikers and bushwalkers get their lookout fix with this track especially if you are known to post the odd selfie or are a budding photographer, but you are looking at a 5-hour return walk on this trail (though should never be underestimated).

As an asymmetrical anticline meaning that the rock layers have been folded into an arch-like structure and are not physically even, therefore Augustus is steeper on the north eastern side than the south-west. Both consistent of sedimentary rock, but differ in almost all aspects including rock types, geological evolution, rock structure and age of rock formation including the underlying rocks.

On the other hand, Ayers Rock located in the Red Centre is Australia’s most infamous tourist destination. Uluru or Pitjantjatjara is officially the largest sandstone rock formation, with a circumference greater than 9km and is not a giant boulder as we are led to believe but part of a huge and mostly underground series of rock formations that are estimated to extend over 100km long and 5km deep.

The area surrounding Uluru is sacred to the Anangu people with its formation home to spring water holes, ancient paintings and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The steepness and problematic climb of Ayers Rock has contributed to the decline of tourists ascending the rock over the past 20 years and the non-climbing based activities that are now on offer has contributed to the upcoming closure of the climb.  Though if this on your bucket list and it is a must to complete or just a snippet of it now is the time to do so, with the complete closure of the Uluru climb coming into effect in October 2019.

With these amazing destinations on offer with their distinctive colours that wash over the rock faces during the day and Western Australian wildflowers that amass during Autumn and Winter seasons, why not get out and travel and see Australia – what’s stopping you?

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