It is in fact an inselberg, an isolated sandstone rock formation standing in the middle of a flat plain. Its fame comes not from its height (it's not particularly high - 348m) but from the fact that it is, literally, monolithic.
Still, picture me looking out the bus window, unimpressed. And then, THEN, we got off the bus and up close and personal. Despite the 40 degree heat, this is when I started to understand why the traditional owners refer to Uluru as a living thing. Because it isn't just a big hunk of rock - it's full of life. And it isn't just monolithic - all its nooks and crannies and crack and crevices are full of interest and colour and delight.
From the long black tunnels carved by rainwater (which, during the rainy season, is supposed to pour down the rock in sheets),
to the cave paintings adorning its multiple surfaces,
Uluru has many stories to share. One of my favourite of all the things I learned was that the rock art is virtually undatable because it has been continually added to over hundreds of years.
One of the most surprising things about this legendary red rock is that it's actually quite green, in places.
Tjukurpa is what the traditional Anangu owners call the creation period, but it also refers to the spiritual and cultural laws they use to guide their lives. One of the creation stories relates to Kuniya, the sand python, who did a ritual dance across the rock. You can see her eye at the top of the ridge here, and her body moving across the rock.
Oh, wait - one more thing. It's Ul-ur-ooo (BIG emphasis on the final syllable) or Oo-lu-roo (emphasis on first and last syllables). Any other attempt at pronunciation rendered me unintelligible to Australian listeners.