Australia’s Big Rocky Things

When you think about it, Australia is very well placed for big rocky things. Quite apart from the obvious ones like Uluru and Katatjuta, there are many others such as the Bungle Bungles, the Flinders Ranges gorges, the Twelve Apostles, Mt Augustus in WA, the Three Sisters, Standley Chasm, Katherine Gorge, etc.

On a recent trip, I took in what I like to think of as the Big Five Rocky Things of Central Australia, these being:

  1. Uluru (Ayer’s Rock)
  2. Katatjuta (The Olgas, pictured)
  3. King’s Canyon
  4. Palm Valley
  5. Chamber’s Pillar


Of course, one could argue that these are not the top five. But just for the moment assuming they are, how would you rank them in terms of their appeal to you as Outback places to visit? There are of course points for and against each of them. For example, one could say that although Uluru is overwhelming in its size and “presence”, its very popularity has made it scarcely a “true Outback” location any more. Easy access by road or air, five-star accommodation, dozens of buses, crowds of people, …

King’s Canyon I like: a challenging walk around the rim, marvellous views, no guard rails ..… and no admission charge!

Both Palm Valley and Chamber’s Pillar require a bit of 4wd action to get there – that’s a plus, or is it? 

Just send a comment telling us how you’d rank them. (You don’t have to use your real name.)


About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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4 Responses to Australia’s Big Rocky Things

  1. Lavinia Ross says:

    I looked them all up – all quite impressive places. I wouldn’t hold it against Uluru that it is easily accessible and popular. Our own Grand Canyon is a tourist hot spot, but no less impressive when one looks out over it and drinks the scenery, and soaks up the general feel of the earth. Aside from all that, the order you have them in would work for me.

  2. Mandy says:

    I would put Uluru on top. I haven’t been there but it has a romantic, almost spiritual call to my heart. Then I’d have to come along on your next trip to rate the others!

  3. I pretty much agree with your ranking, at least if we stick to the Center. Might swap Standley Chasm for Chambers Pillar — but then I haven’t been to Chambers Pillar yet. But I’ve seen the rest. I do love the other big rocks, and have visited the Bungle Bungles, Twelve Apostles, Three Sisters, Katherine Gorge, and others. I might add the Hammersley Range to the list of big rocky things outside the Center. But for the Center,that’s pretty much it.
    I do agree that easy access steals a bit of the romance away. It’s nice that everyone can see some things, but there should always be something out there for the people who are willing to put in a bit of extra effort. That difficulty of reaching some things seems to me to be part of the definition of the Outback.

    • dazzlerplus says:

      Although it might be regarded by some as a touch elitist, I do agree that the “hard to get there” factor is somewhere there in the definition of “the Outback”. After all, the Outback is not just another kind of theme park. Someone has said “Think how much better it would be if all the Outback tracks were sealed roads.” I disagree with that, and it’s not that I think only the 4wd owners should be able to get there. I meet 19-year old backpackers who are working in the most remote places, and I’m sure they don’t own 4wds. I come across people riding motor bikes and even bicycles in the Outback. Finding a way to get there is part of the appeal of the Outback.

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