This is the first of a two-part series on Australia’s unique geological formations. Keep an eye out for the September issue of Home Review for part-two, featuring a completely contrasting landscape.
The Outback is Australia’s sprawling interior – largely arid and sparsely populated. Its remoteness and harsh climate has implied that most of its expanse has been devoid of any large scale human impact. It has, however, had a rich history of human habitation over the millennia – indigenous people that have a close relationship with the land have passed down the knowledge from generation to generation.
The core of the Outback is colloquially termed The Red Centre, deriving its name from the characteristic colour of its soil. And here lies the most iconic of sights of the continent – Uluru, a largely monolithic rock that rises to a spectacular 350 metres above the surrounding plains; and sprawls to nearly 10 kilometres in circumference.
Though Uluru was first sighted by westerners only in 1873, archaeological evidence shows that the native Anangu people have lived in the region for atleast 30,000 years. According to their legends, Uluru was created by Tjukuritja – their ancestors, who roamed the lands in the form of people, plants or animals and created all the features that are seen today.
In the vicinity of Uluru, is the Kata Tjuta – a cluster of 36 dome-shaped rocks that spread across 20-odd kilometres. Like Uluru, this site is also sacred to local populations and since the past two decades is once again being used for religious ceremonies. Walking trails cut through the Kata Tjuta and offer a closer look at the smoothly shaped rock surfaces, which together with Uluru are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Other unique geological formations in the Red Centre include the precariously balanced granite boulders called Devils Marbles, the weathered Kings Canyon and the repeating ridges and valleys of the MacDonnell Ranges.
Text And Photos By Kunal Bhatia And Shuvajit Payne