Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is located in the red centre of Australia. Uluru is most noticeably distinguished by a huge rock surrounded by a flat red sand desert right in the middle of Australia. It’s a very scared place for the indigenous aboriginal people of the land so treat the area with the utmost respect. Ayers Rock is unlike anywhere else on earth and is an absolute must see when visiting Australia. Here is your Uluru ultimate travel guide.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are a couple different ways to get to Uluru depending on your budget and how much time you have up your sleeve.
Fly: The quickest way to get to Uluru obviously is to fly. Ayers Rock has it’s own airport with various airlines flying there daily including Jetstar for a discount option, and Virgin & Qantas for more premium airlines. Another option is to fly into Alice Springs and drive to Uluru, which takes approximately 4 hours. You can also take a bus or an organized tour departing from Alice Springs.
Train: The most scenic and luxurious way to get to Uluru is via the Ghan train. This is a beautiful and historic train that travels from Adelaide to Darwin stopping at various places in between. The Ghan is an all inclusive train that will ensure you arrive to your destination in style. They have a variety of different package options depending on where you want to go and how long you wish to travel. This is a more expensive option but an incredible way to travel across Australia.
Drive: The other option to get to Uluru is by driving. This can be either by self driving or by joining a tour from most major cities around Australia. The drive can be long and fairly uneventful though the majority of the outback.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
Being in the middle of the Australian desert, Uluru has a very extreme contrasting climate. The weather can range from searing hot weather during the summer to below freezing temperatures in the winter. For this reason the best time to travel to Uluru is during the shoulder seasons. These dates range from March – May & October – November. Since they are the shoulder seasons you’ll less likely encounter large crowds and may even find accommodation and flights at discounted rates compared to peak season.
WHERE TO STAY
There’s limited options when it comes to accommodation in Yulara (the town area). Since the number of hotels are limited, I highly suggest booking early (like a minimum of a month before) since accommodation fills up quickly. You can find all accommodation options for Uluru here. The following are my favourite options.
DESERT GARDENS HOTEL – The Desert Gardens Hotel is a great hotel located in the Ayers Rock town area for a mid range budge. It’s complete with an outdoor pool, free airport transfers, and is close walking distance to the lookout for sunset. It has all the amenities you need for an enjoyable stay in Ayers Rock.
OUTBACK PIONEER LODGE – For budget accommodation the Outback Pioneer Lodge is the place to stay. This is the lowest priced accommodation you’ll find in the area with both private rooms and dorm rooms. The accommodation is basic so don’t expect too much from this place. That being said, even if you’re not staying here I do highly recommend coming here in the evenings for a drink or some food at the bar. The Outback Pioneer Lodge is the liveliest place in town with a full bar setup and a DIY BBQ & buffet.
LONGITUDE 131 – If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury hotel, it doesn’t get much better than Longitude 131! This is the closest hotel to Ayers Rock itself with direct views of the the rock from your hotel room. Longitude 131 is an all inclusive resort which includes meals, drinks and activities with possibly the world’s most picturesque pool view. Since it is a luxury resort expect it to come with a very high price tag.
WHAT TO DO
For starters, there’s the obvious thing. You come to Uluru to see the rock, that’s of course a given. I highly recommend viewing Ayers Rock at various times throughout the day, each time giving you a completely different experience. Get up for sunrise, do the base trek during the day, then sip on some sparkling wine while the sunset gives the illusion of the rock changing various colours. Other things to see and do include visiting Kata Tjuta (the other rock), find aboriginal paintings on the rock, and visit the visitors centre.
For a more info on the best things to do check out my complete guide on the best things to do in Uluru.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
PARK FEES – Uluru is located within a national park, Kata Tjuta National Park. For this reason be prepared to pay the National Park fee upon entry. The fee is $25 per person (subject to change) and is valid for 3 consecutive days. The pass can be purchased ahead of time online or at the entry gate when you enter the national park.
BRING FLY SPRAY – This is an important tip, bring fly spray! There are so many flies in the Australian desert, and they love to land on peoples faces or fly right into their mouth. Another option is to buy one of those Aussie cork hats, and look super cool while wearing it. Also be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen as the sun is intense and there is very little shade around.
Enjoy Uluru! It is such a fascinating part of Australia full of culture, history and natural beauty. Soak up every minute of your experience there, it’s a place unlike any where else in the world. As always if you have an questions leave them in the comment section below or contact me directly.
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