THE DUKE and Duchess of Cambridge were left marvelling at Uluru at sunset after spending a day in the Australian outback.
William and Kate watched as the landmark sandstone outcrop - also known as Ayers Rock - changed colour before their eyes from a luminous red to a deep purple as the sun dipped below the horizon.
Ahead of their visit to the site, revered by local Aborigines, the Duchess described it as “absolutely stunning” after seeing it from the air while landing at a local airport.
The couple were able to spend more than an hour visiting Uluru before watching the magical sunset.
William and Kate’s day in the heart of Australia saw them meet indigenous people from across the country when they visited a training academy aiming to put Aboriginal workers front and centre in the tourism industry.
And they received a traditional welcome from elders from a local community - and a souvenir spear.
Before enjoying the sunset, the Duke and Duchess posed for photographs with Uluru in the background, just like any other tourist couple - but it was the world’s media taking the pictures.
After the cameras were put away, William said to Kate: “I actually thought the sun was going to be behind us for some reason, but it’s the other way around.”
A schoolgirl, who was lucky enough to witness the photo opportunity, joked about the flies that plague anything that moves.
She said: “You were both like magic when the photos were being taken. I was like ‘How are they not swatting flies away?’.”
Kate laughed: “I know. It was difficult”, while William added: “They were all coming for us.”
Uluru was named Ayers Rock in 1873 by surveyor and explorer William Gosse in honour of the then chief secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers.
The sandstone rock, which rises 1,142ft (348m) above the red earth around it and has a circumference of 5.8 miles (9.3km), was formed over hundreds of millions of years when sand was deposited on the bed of an inland sea.
The seabed was compressed into rock and then turned through almost 90 degrees by the shifting of tectonic plates, meaning the layering of the sandstone of Uluru is almost vertical today.