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Ideas on how to visit Uluru (Ayers Rock)


In Australia’s Red Centre lies the spectacular Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Home to many ancient wonders, the park is most famous for the enormous monoliths it is named after. Uluru and Kata Tjuta rise from the earth in all their red glory just 30 kilometres from each other. Standing taller than the Eiffel Tower with a circumference of 9.4 kilometres, Uluru is the largest sandstone monolith in the world. Uluru came to be around 600 million years ago and originally sat at the bottom of the sea. It is home to the Anangu people, who are known as the world’s oldest civilisation.


As temperatures can climb as high as 45ºC at the height of summer (December to February), we do not recommend visiting at this time and winter in the desert can bring some exceedingly cold nights, although the days normally remain warm and clear. If possible, September to November or March to May are the best time to travel. For more information on when the best times are to travel around Australia, check out this blog.


Depending on how much time you have, there are a couple of different ways to get to Uluru.


Fly

Flights are available from all major Australian cities to Ayers Rock Airport (AYQ). The view when flying in and/or out of Ayers Rock airport is breathtaking, make sure to request a window seat on your flight! No guidebook or blog can prepare you for the sheer size and scale of Uluru. Speak to your travel specialist about adding our 3 day Uluru Escape to your holiday in Australia.


The Ghan Train from Adelaide or Darwin

Alice Springs is a stop-off on the famous cross-continental Ghan train route that runs twice weekly between Adelaide and Darwin in both directions. The train is an experience in itself; passing through incredible landscapes, you’ll get to indulge in luxurious food and wine in the company of other like-minded travellers. If you are looking for solitude, you can retreat to the comfort of your cabin, soaking in the sights as they pass you by. When you reach Alice Springs, The Uluru Fixed Wing Scenic Flight is an optional excursion as a part of your train journey; or if you have time, you can have a stopover and stay at the Voyages Uluru Resort and truly get to experience the Red Centre of Australia. Three or four days stopover would be a fantastic way to truly experience this very special place. In our 3 day Uluru Escape package we have you staying at this very resort with all of your transportation and activity needs all taken care of. Alternatively, if you’re keen to add the Ghan rail experience to your holiday, reach out to your travel specialist about what your options are. It is the ultimate Australian outback tour with a big dose of style. 

 

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park


Once you have arrived in Uluru, to truly appreciate its magnitude, it is best experienced by venturing on a walk around the base. You can do this either as a self-guided experience or join a tour led by one of the local experts. The base walk is 10.6km and mostly flat. It does take approximately 4 hours, so a moderate level of fitness is required. Take plenty of water with you and be sure to leave early in the morning to avoid the hottest part of the day. There is the option of shorter walks as well. As of 26 October 2019, you are no longer allowed to climb Uluru and for very good reason. For Anangu (the area’s Aboriginal people), Uluru is sacred ground, and the path of the climb is associated with important Mala ceremonies. The Anangu believe that during the time when the world was being formed, the Uluru climb was the traditional route taken by Mala men when they arrived at Uluru.

If the 4 hour base walk doesn’t quite appeal to you, another option is to hire a bicycle and cycle around the base of Uluru. Speak to your travel specialist today about adding this to your itinerary. The bike ride can be completed in less than three hours and signs along the way describe important cultural and natural features of this sacred site.

 

Uluru Motorcycle Tours offer unforgettable and fun-filled adventures around Uluru and Kata Tjuta. As a passenger on an authentic Harley Davidson Heritage Softail motorcycle or three wheeler trike you will be taken to enjoy spectacular views of Uluru and other breathtaking locations. You can choose from one of the sunrise, daytime or sunset tours. 

 

Bird's Eye View

Experience a scenic flight over Uluru and you will be rewarded with a bird's eye view of this spiritual icon. See the cracks and deep fissures that cover the top of this ancient formation. Flight time is 20 minutes, and the total tour experience takes 1.5 hours. This is a great option, particularly if you are limited for time; indulge yourself with an exhilarating flight over some of the amazing treasures the Red Center has to offer. Departing from Alice Springs Airport (ASP), cross over Palm Valley, Kings Canyon and Lake Amadeus before taking in the sights of Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Parks. Travelling back to Alice Springs via Glen Helen Gorge you will be treated to the sights of Gosses Bluff, Ormiston Gorge, Serpentine Gorge, Ellery Creek, Brinkley Bluff, Standley Chasm and Simpsons Gap. The Red Centre is so much more than just Uluru and this way of travel enables you to experience it all. 

 

Field of Light, a Solar Art Installation of 50,000 lights 

In the pre-dawn light or as darkness blankets Uluru at sunset, witness the spectacle of Field of Light, created by artist Bruce Munro; this stunning display is made up of some 50,000 solar-powered spheres and lights up an area the size of seven football fields. In the local Pitjantjatjara language, this display is referred to as Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’. As you make your way through the installation, enjoy it from different angles before gazing down on this epic artwork from a hilltop above.


Perhaps the most popular way to experience Uluru is to be in its presence at sunset. As the sunlight fades, the colour of the rock changes and the effect is surreal. Stargazing is breathtaking as there are minimal lights; be awe-inspired as you see the Milky Way and the abundance of stars blanketing the night sky above.


The Sounds of Silence Dinner

Enjoy canapes and sparkling wine on a sand dune overlooking Uluru at sunset while the didgeridoo plays. Wandering along a path to your table, enjoy a delicious 3-course bush tucker-inspired menu and fine wines as night falls. As the sunlight fades and the colour of the rock changes, the effect is surreal. Low humidity and light pollution allow stargazers of all ages a spectacular view of the southern skies, particularly on a nightly Astro Tour or at the annual Uluru Astronomy Weekend (held in September). The enlightening weekend includes activities, demonstrations, astro-photography, a starlit dinner, discussions on cosmic events, the Universe, dark matter, Aboriginal astronomy and navigation and more.

 

Connect with local Maruku artists 

Join a dot-painting or wood-carving workshop with local artists at Maruku Arts, a collective of some 900 Anangu artists from 20 remote desert communities around Uluru. Sit with the artists and learn about the ways of the desert, the symbols used in their art and local treatments in bush medicine.

A tour does offer you the best way to get around and see the unique sights you will only find in the Red Centre. These tours are all about getting back to nature, taking in the awe-inspiring rock formations, the magical night sky, and learning about the Northern Territory and its Aboriginal culture. The knowledgeable guides will be able to tell you far more than you can find out for yourself, and you’ll be inspired by the facts and information they share. Remember to pack comfortable hiking boots and a water bottle.

Thanks for reading our blog

We have lots more information to share with you if you need it. Our team lives and works within New Zealand we have travelled extensively in this part of the world and experienced the best (and worst) of what there is to offer.  If you have any questions about tours, locations, or just want some friendly advice please reach out to us by chat, email, or phone. There is no penalty for getting in touch, we do NOT charge any consultant fees so you can take the hassle out of your travels for free!

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