Uluru is a natural sandstone formation that exists very close to the geographical centre point of the Australian continent. Uluru is a sacred site for the local Aboriginal people of that area in central Australia. It is also listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
It was named Ayres Rock in honour of the then Chief Secretary of South Australia Henry Ayres when it was first sighted by William Gosse. Both names have been used since that time. It has had a dual name since 1993, with Uluru appearing first in honour of the original caretakers of the land.
It is one of the most recognisable national landmarks of Australia, mostly due to its solitary nature. It is surrounded by flat plains, making it seem as if it was artificially placed there rather than occurring naturally.
Uluru naturally is a big tourist attraction and a key reason why people visit that part of the Northern Territory. The local Aboriginal people do not climb the site because of its cultural significance, but this did not stop tourists from wanting to do so.
The climbing of Uluru was a continuing issue and point of contention between the local people and those who wanted to climb. Many cited the fact that the climb was not only dangerous, but that people were disrespecting the site, such as couples who wanted to have sex on top of it.
In October 2019 climbing of the site was officially banned. In the lead up to the ban date, many thousands travelled to climb the site before it was illegal to do so.
Historically there have been 46 different native species that have lived near the rock. There is also a large bat population that lives inside caves on the rock site.