As a lover of unique places, I always wanted to do an Uluru trip but never got around to it. That is until 2019!
Here I cover my Uluru experience, the recommended 3 day Uluru itinerary travel tips, and the best places to see on your Uluru trip. Visiting Uluru is going to leave you spellbound! It may be the best adventure in the Australian outback!
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Previously Uluru was known as Ayera rock and was named Ayers Rock by William Gosse in 1873 after Sir Henry Ayers. In 1993 the name of the national park changed from Ayers Rock-Mount Olga National Park to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to acknowledge and respect the Aboriginal Anangu people and their land. It is possibly the most famous and coolest rock in the world!
Uluru was created around over 600 million years ago, and originally sat at the bottom of the sea! The aboriginals have been in the area for the last 10,000 years! Do you know it is 348 m high?
Anangu people, who are known as the world’s oldest civilization call this place home. Hence it is protected by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Exciting Uluru trip – 3 days itinerary and must-know travel tips
- Exciting Uluru trip – 3 days itinerary and must-know travel tips
- So where is Uluru?
- When is the best time to go to Uluru?
- How many days is good for Uluru?
- How can you visit Ayers Rock in Australia?
- Book Uluru tours from Alice Springs
- Uluru Sunset and cultural center
- Uluru Sunrise and Kata Tjuta hike
- Salt Lake
- Tank Hill
- Kings Canyon Rim Walk
- Garden of Eden
- Camel rides in Uluru
- Let me know in the comments-
So where is Uluru?
Uluru is close to central Australia and is about 5-6 hours drive from Alice Springs, Northern Territory of Australia. The red rock lies right in the center of Uluru National Park, just east of Kata Tjuta.
Alice Springs is the gateway to this sacred and iconic place. Sadly Alice Springs gets a negative rap of being a small town but don’t let that stop you from visiting. I absolutely loved the peace and quietness and there are also bars and restaurants to keep you busy! Also, sunsets at the ANZAC Hill are beautiful (only a short climb), and check out the rock art at the visitor center.
When is the best time to go to Uluru?
I went in April, and the weather was just perfect at night! During the day it was still quite hot but totally manageable. Just don’t forget to take at least a 1-liter water bottle with you! (more tips below)
Having said that, the best time to travel to Uluru is from May to September. It won’t be too hot nor too cold whereas December, January, February is Australia’s summertime and is the worst time to travel to the lovely Uluru. Similarly, June to September is the winter months.
How many days is good for Uluru?
I would say at least 3 days. But if you can 4 days is better to cover all the must-see places in a leisurely fashion.
How can you visit Ayers Rock in Australia?
You can get there by driving or taking a bus. Flying from the Ayers rock airport and then arranging the tour or private transport to Uluru seems to be the go-to option. (more on that below) You can find the cheapest flights through the most trusted sites such as Skyscanner or Momodo. Qantas and Virgin Australia fly to Uluru from all Australian capital cities (except Canberra!)
You could also hire a private car from Alice Springs to Uluru, and visit Uluru on your own but genuinely there is so much value in going with a local guide/ tour company. You will learn a lot of interesting facts and stories about Ayers Rock, outback history in a cultural center, its inhabitants, and more.
I met a few travelers who did Uluru trip on their own and knew nothing about the fascinating Uluru stories! They just drove there, saw the red rock, and left! But am sure you are cooler than that, you can make this trip memorable and fun, continue reading to know-how!
Book Uluru tours from Alice Springs
Since there is no airport in Uluru National Park, once you arrive in Alice Springs, I recommend booking a tour that includes everything for the best bargain. Look for Uluru tour packages that include pick up and drop off from your accommodation, inclusive of the National Park entrance fee, meals, snacks, and accommodation.
Uluru is a highly visited destination and there are loads of Uluru tours to choose from, some of them offer one-day tours and some 2 or 3 days Uluru trips.
As you may have seen on my Instagram, I went on a 3 days and 2 nights tour with Mulgas Adventure tours. It was fully focused on fun, affordability, education, way better food on our tour (even a guide from another tour was eyeing our food!), and a more relaxed schedule. All are run by only experienced Australian-born guides who have a wealth of knowledge and are happy to share them!
If you are worried about spending 3 days on a tour with the teenagers focused on the party or the elders who remind you of your distant uncle and aunties, let me assure you Mulgas knows how to balance the tour! They have been doing this for years and are known as the best in the business. In fact, it was referred to me by a fellow traveler as well! Their tours are so entertaining word of mouth does the marketing for them!
Mulgas’s target market is the younger travelers usually from 18- 35 years old and of course, there will be times when you will meet an odd 45 years old passenger but if they are joining this adventurous Uluru trip, they must be as adventurous as you!
And in regards to the party, some drinks by the bonfire are always enjoyable after exploring Uluru all day. But a late-night one won’t go down well as most people want to sleep and see the awe-inspiring sunrise over Uluru in the morning. (more on that below)
I was glad our Uluru tour was full of common activities, which allowed us to talk and engage with each other and within a few hours, we all knew each other by first name!
PS: Thanks to our tour guide Ben for organizing drinks and dinner AFTER the trip once we were back in Alice Springs, freshly showered and smelling of roses!
Most times, the tour guides get unnoticed despite the hard work they put in to deliver a great tour. So, let me just share our guide Ben had incredible nonstop energy, knowledge, fun-loving, professional, safety-focused, problem-solving and dynamic capabilities!
All three days, he was always smiling and full of energy! There was never a dull moment around Ben! I truly believe it set a great vibe for the comrade of the group as well.
It was great to see people from all around the world joining this exciting 3 day Uluru trip and happily helping to cook, wash dishes and contribute to packing. All this participation in tasks created a homey bonding within the group, that ultimately helped to turn strangers into friends! I am glad I went with Mulgas Adventure and highly recommend the same tour to you.
Now, without further ado let me share,
The best places to see on your Uluru trip.
You can also use it as a 3 days Uluru travel itinerary.
Ps: Click on the blue link of the name of the places, and it will take you straight to the google maps of desired destinations 🙂
Uluru Sunset and cultural center
Day 1: As we arrived in Uluru, we visited the cultural center and gained an understanding of Aboriginal culture. You can see the big aboriginal exhibition that teaches you about Aboriginal culture, things you can eat in the outback from the plants, buy the painting made by Anangu people, and learn the history of Ayers Rock.
With that in mind, we then drove to the base of Uluru for a walk. It was a strange but nice experience to be able to walk and touch this giant red rock in Australia! There are also caves where aboriginal people used to live, cook and play! They used some of these caves for indigenous rituals and taught young generations how to hunt and gather with drawings on the wall!
It was then time to head to the sunset viewing area. We drove there and as we park in the big car park, I noticed hundreds of people waiting for the same sunsets over Uluru! After all, it is one of the must-sees during the Uluru holidays.
If you want to avoid the crowd and watch sunsets over Uluru in a relatively peaceful area, head to the right as there is a path with fewer people! It is a perfect place to take some Instagram-worthy photos and you won’t be disappointed with the amazing color change that the rock undertakes as the sunsets!
Upon returning back to the car park, I was pleased to see our tour guide had a table set with nibbles, dips, and champagne! At the same time, it was an incredible experience to watch the full moon rise next to the Uluru. I couldn’t ask for more as it was the perfect way to end our first day in the outback.
Uluru Sunrise and Kata Tjuta hike
The Valley of the winds
Day 2: If there is one thing from this list you want to do, let it be this one. It is not like in Bagan Myanmar where you have to rush to find sunrise spots. There is a big sunrise viewing deck in Uluru (click on the name above that will take you straight to google maps). All you have to do is put your alarm on and get up on time so you won’t miss the stunning sunrise over ayres rock.
We got up at 4 am, had breakfast, and made our way there. It wasn’t easy to wake up that early but guess what! Our group was the first group to get there and we got our well-deserved first-row seats too!
Watching this iconic sunrise over Uluru is a ‘must do’ on every traveler’s list. On one side you can watch the sunrise over Uluru and on the other Kata Tjuta which means many heads!
After witnessing the beautiful sunrise, it was time to explore Kata Tjuta National Park also known as the valley of the winds. Rock formations at Kata Tjuta are estimated to be 500 million years old! The complete walk takes around 3-4 hours (fast-slow phase) and there is a signboard at the first lookout that shows the current weather! When the forecast temperature is 36-degree Celsius or above, the track actually closes!
Therefore it is imperative, to wake up on time for the sunrise, and that way you will have ample time to hike Kata Tjuta and complete it before the midday sun!
If I was hiking by myself I would have missed many interesting areas. For example, our tour guide Ben pointed out the elephant structure, flora & herbs, and more things. It was like receiving little surprises along the way that kept the hiking enjoyable through and through!
Then minutes before we got to the second lookout – Karingana, we had a surprise cookie break! Ben then gave us an option to either continue the hike or go back to the coach with him. There was no pressure like you must complete it but nobody from our tour wanted to go back! So, we continued the hike with pleasure!
It was 31 degrees and flies were EVERYWHERE but we were rocking our fly nets, (I took it off for pictures), and enjoyed this interesting landscape that is so rare!
We finished the hike before mid-day and had an awesome lunch back at the campground!
On the way back from Kata Tjuta, we stopped at the Salt Lake! It is a bit of a walk to get to from the parking lot but if you have time, definitely worth it. Along the way have a unique experience touching the ever so soft and fine red sand in the northern territory of Australia!
Tank hill is in Kings Creek Station and is a pretty decent spot for watching sunsets. As the name suggests, there are four tank hills and a spectacular view around the ranges all around.
I know some people who have stayed at Ayers rock resort and similar places but we were happy with our Uluru camping arrangements!
Back at the campground, we had a delicious dinner and a warm bonfire waiting for us. With a belly full of good food we then slept on our swag. If you don’t know, swag is a roll-out sleeping tent that comes with an inner mattress and you just throw in a sleeping bag on it.
That brings me to the topic of
There may be some dingos (native Australian dogs) around but they walk in single unlike in Fraser Island where they walk around in packs! So, it is less dangerous but they may sniff and lick your face while you are asleep!
There may be potential for the attack but the reality is the incidence of attacks on humans is relatively rare. Just don’t feed or encourage them anywhere you see them. The same goes with wild Kangaroos and Wallabies.
We didn’t have any dingo incidents and we all slept watching the million twinkling stars above us! It is one of the adventurous experiences of your Uluru trip.
Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Day 3: It was our last day at Ayers Rock Australia and another early start. The temperature gets too hot real quick around Uluru so, the best time to do sightseeing is the first thing in the morning. Hence our plan was to watch the sunrise at the Kings Canyon and do the Kings Canyon Rim Walk.
There are a number of different hikes you can do at the King’s Canyon. We did the 6KM full circuit and it started with the very steep 780 stairs known to locals as “Heart Attack Hill”! It was difficult but not impossible. Just take it slow and enjoy the view as you go up! Then once you are at the summit of this hill, you will be greeted with a gorgeous view.
Note: Kings Canyon is basically made with Sandrock, you can not tell how stable it is just from looking at it! So, it is best to avoid stepping around the edges and always be 3 meters away.
After the first portion of the steep hill, the rest of the walk is pretty flat but gets more vivid with red cliffs! The surrounding areas reminded me of the Grand Canyon in the USA!
Garden of Eden
The next thing we did was to hike up and down through the Canyon to get to a hidden gem called “Garden of Eden”. It made total sense to sit there in speechless view and eat an apple! Garden of Eden was beautiful even with dark water holes and cliffs on all sides.
Camel rides in Uluru
Oh, and before I forget, we were also offered camel rides at the outback! These are wild camels, so they train and make use of them. If you are thinking about animal rights, just don’t go on it but a little selfie hurt nobody, right?
Uluru Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon Tips:
Take time off the Internet
I recommend visiting Uluru the red center with the mindset to enjoy nature and time off of the internet/ social media. As a digital nomad, my work is all online and I admit it was hard for me to adjust on the first day. But as I engage with others on the tour, participate in the tasks, and gave myself permission to enjoy my time. I gradually stop thinking about work, phone signals, and WIFI. It was such a relief to just enjoy, be there, and not scroll through social media!
Respect the aboriginal request
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is jointly run by the Australian government and representatives of the Aboriginal society. They are so very polite not to put any gates or fences around the majestic Uluru. So, we can have a personal close look at this iconic landmark.
There is only a signboard that states please don’t climb Uluru. But despite that, there are people who climb it and leave their rubbish at the top and most importantly, risk their own life! 37 people have died at Uluru to date! It would be the best idea to respect the Anangu people and their cultures as you are on their land!
Buy the FLYNET
Flynet is basically a hat with a thin mesh net around it. There are A LOT OF flies around Uluru and they come out in multiple numbers in the daytime! I highly recommend buying a fly hat which costs under $10. You can buy this in Yulara or Alice Springs Pharmacy, Woolworths, or Coles. There were some people who came without it and you could see, every day it was a struggle for them! Also, fly repellent roll-on or cream would be handy as well but you would have to put them on frequently as it wears off. Therefore, flynet is the easiest option!
Bring at least a 1-liter water bottle
I can’t emphasize how important it is to drink at least a liter of water every day. And when you are in a dry area like Uluru, it is vital! DO yourself a favor, and bring at least a 1-liter water bottle with you. You can refill it on the coach for free!
Don’t forget the sunscreen
I am one of those people who forget to put on sunscreen but not on this trip! Sun is super strong in Australia due to the thin Ozone layer. So, make sure you buy sunscreen and use it 1-2 times a day before you go out in the sun.
Pack the right clothes
If you are going to be walking around hiking, I recommend packing cotton airy clothes as Uluru gets hot during the day. And for the nighttime, the temperature tends to drop like in the desert so pack a few warm clothes as well. Basically, packing light is the goal as it’s only a 3 day Uluru tour.
Read the signs
When you are walking the base of the Uluru or hiking up in the Kings Canyon, take note of the signs on the ground. Some sign reads there are sensitive sites so no pictures are to be taken and some have vital warning signs of steep cliffs and so on. Don’t miss these and you will be safe!
It’s Mount Conner, not Uluru
From the distance, even I thought Mt Connor was Uluru as they look quite the same from far! Pay close attention, you will notice the edges of Mount Conner and Uluru are different! Hence it is quite popular with locals as “fool-a ru”! Note: It is only possible to arrive at the base of the Munt Conner with a 4WD car.
I recommend strolling along a little further from the campground to watch the stars at night! Because there are minimum lights, the sky looks absolutely gorgeous with the million stars and the milky way! It is one of the must-sees in Uluru.
Bring a camera
This one goes without saying but I’m going to include it as a reminder! You will be seeing some of the most beautiful landscapes in Australia so, bring your camera. If not, at least your phone to take some pictures as memories of your time in the outback. And don’t forget your charger, there are loads of charging points at the campground
Let me know in the comments-
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