Updated: Oct 7, 2022
Australia is a country of great extremes and Uluru portrays this magnificently. Situated in the remote Australian outback, aptly named the red centre, it takes many hours to reach this iconic destination. It’s a place you must visit to be fully immersed in the spirituality of the land and to appreciate the experience. It has definitely been on our list of places to visit and we were so excited to finally get there.
Travelling from Alice Springs took us around five hours driving, towing our caravan. Yes, it’s a long way! There were plenty of places to stop along the way, to enjoy the vastness of the land and the beauty of the country. On arriving at Yulara, the name of the town near Uluru, we made our way to the Ayers Rock Campground to set up and rest before we set out to see the rock.
Uluru is spectacular! Words cannot express its magnificence. We were overcome with joy and wonder as we made our way out to the national park. Arriving at the sunset car viewing area early, as we were told it can get busy, we set up our GoPro on time-lapse, laid out our cheese and wine, took a few selfies and prepared ourselves for the experience. And what an experience…we were absolutely mesmerised as the sun made its way across the face of the rock. We stayed until after dark to fully immerse ourselves in the many colours of the landscape as the sky changed colour. It was just amazing!
The next day we were up early to join the Mala Walk. It is a free ranger-guided tour to Kantju Gorge at Uluru, past some significant rock art and cultural sites, taking around 1.5 to 2 hours. The indigenous rangers authentically know and understand the area’s history, sharing the Tjukurpa (creation stories), the history of the rock and the cultural significance of the site.
We then visited the Uluru Cultural Centre for morning tea followed by a visit to the art gallery and souvenir shops. There is so much information about the history of the area, artefacts, photos and displays, which all support the Anangu people.
We then drove out to Kata Tjuta, known as The Olgas. Kata Tjuta consists of 36 large domes that you can explore from the two main hiking tracks: The Valley of the Winds and The Walpa Gorge. We chose the Valley of the Winds walk taking us along a path around the red domes and the views were just beautiful.
Field of Light
That night we booked into the Field of Light tour and were absolutely thrilled with our experience. After canapés with sparkling wine, the sun slowly set and 50,000 glass spheres gently came to life. The art installation by British artist Bruce Munro covers 49,000 sq. meters of land, with light stems handcrafted, recyclable, and entirely solar-powered. In the complete darkness, thousands of light spheres come to life and we were able to walk in the field and immerse ourselves in the display. It is simply amazing!
We decided to experience this beautiful landscape from a different perspective with a helicopter ride. From the air, both Kata Tjuta and Uluru are immense. The vastness and colours of central Australia are so impressive with the magnificent rocks taking centre stage. We chose to fly with Professional Helicopter Services and they were brilliant.
Now there are a few things you will want to know when planning your trip to Uluru so that you can make the most of the experience. Your trip to the Red Centre will be expensive! It’s remote and there is little you can do to save money, however, keep in mind the experience is worth every cent you spend.
Fuel $2.14 per litre
Driving from Alice Springs or Watarrka (Kings Canyon) to Uluru, you need to allow yourself half a day to get there. Uluru is 450km from Alice Springs and 280km from Kings Canyon. Once at Yulara, it can take from 20 - 40 minutes to reach Uluru or Kata Tjuta.
Accommodation $57 per caravan site
Staying at the Ayers Rock Campground is one of the cheapest places to stay. We had a powered site (for air-con) and water hook up. There is also a refreshing pool.
Park fees - $38 per person
Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park is jointly managed between Parks Australia and Anangu Traditional Owners. A Park Pass is essential to enter the park available online and cost $38 for a three-day pass. The national park opens before sunrise and closes just after sunset.
There are many tours and experiences at Uluru. Remember, you have driven a long way to get to Uluru, so make sure you get the most from your experience that your budget will allow. Do you want to ride a camel, fly over the Rock, hire a bike or a Segway, participate in a workshop (painting, digeridoo) or join a cultural experience? There is also the Sounds of Silence dinner, Field of Light and the outback astronomy shows.
The phone reception inside the national park is limited. However, once back at Yulara, there is full 4G service.
All roads in the national park are sealed and you do not need a 4WD.
So, if you’re planning an Uluru adventure, allow yourself the time to experience as much as possible. The connection to the land at Uluru is a memorable experience that will stay with you for a long time. Enjoy every moment.