(Australian Associated Press)
Uluru National Park has reopened after record-breaking rain on Boxing Day caused flash-flooding.
The Walungurru district recorded 232mm of rain in 24 hours, cutting off roads and washing out walking tracks.
Park Manager Mike Misso said rangers had been out assessing damage from the deluge since 5.30am on Tuesday.
“We’re doing some works today to secure some of the more popular walks, so the park’s definitely open but there will be some areas that remain closed due to heavy erosions on the walking tracks,” Mr Misso said.
All vehicle tracks in the park have also reopened.
Mr Misso said the rainfall event wasn’t entirely unexpected, as summer is technically the wet season even in the country’s arid centre.
However the extent of the event had caught even locals by surprise.
“Speaking to some of the rangers who’ve been here a long time they haven’t seen rain like this for several years,” Mr Misso said.
There was 61.4mm of rain in one hour on Christmas night alone, which the Bureau of Meteorology described as a one-in-50-year rainfall event.
Twenty-five houses in the community of Kintore were flooded and dozens were evacuated at the height of the flooding.
The town square of Yulara was flooded and had to be pumped out by the local fire service.
Mr Misso said the upside was the inundation would provide Uluru visitors with spectacular views.
“The desert landscape is like a sponge, it sucks up the water very rapidly,” he said.
“What we’ll see over the next few weeks and months is an explosion of rich vegetation. The desert will bloom.”