The heart of Australia the spectacular rock named Uluru or formerly known as Ayers Rock is one of the most visited destinations in Australia. It has been on our Aussie bucket lists for a very long time and it was a dream come true to see this breathtaking sight. No matter how many pictures you see of the amazing rock, you don’t understand it’s true beauty until you see it for yourself.
As you turn onto the Lasseter Highway and heading for Uluru the first rock you will see is NOT Uluru. Lots of travelers to the area get bitterly disappointed when they realise they have been fooled into thinking Mount Conner was the infamous Uluru.
Although you are disappointed at first, when you stop and look at Mount Conner you will see how amazing it is in its own right. Unfortunately, you cannot get to Mount Conner as it is on private land. But you can book a tour from Curtain Springs Roadhouse. Don’t forget to stop at the designated area to get a great picture of Mount Conner. Then walk up the sand dune on the other side of the road to get a great view of a large salt lake (one of seven in the area).
Uluru stands 348 meters high. That is 2.5 times the height of Sydney Harbour Bridge. To be able to get to Uluru and The Olgas you do need to purchase a pass at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park entry gate.
Uluru base walk
The total walking distance around Uluru is 10.6 km. You can hire bikes and even do a Segway tour. If you don’t feel up to doing the whole walk then you can drive around and park at various places to see parts of the main sights. If you are feeling adventurous you can climb the rock although the local aboriginals ask that you don’t as they believe this area is sacred. This climb is very dangerous and claimed many lives.
Uluru Sunset (and Sunrise)
There is a designated area that gives you a great view of Uluru at Sunset. Make sure you get there early and pack a picnic to witness this amazing sight.
If you are looking for the perfect sunrise picture then head for “Dune Sunrise viewing platform”. It’s a tiered platform that every tour bus and tourist heads for, so make sure you get up very early to get a spot or you will have a lot of people in your pictures.
Kata Tjuata – The Olgas
Kata Tjuta or also known as The Olgas is a group of large domed rocks approximately 40km from Uluru. You really need a whole day to visit this amazing place. We enjoyed walking through the Valley of The Wind (7.4km). It gets very hot in there so make sure you start your walk very early. The track is very narrow at times and you will need to climb over rocks and boulders. The view is well worth it. Don’t forget to visit Walpa Gorge as well. The best time to see the Olgas is sunset, they change colours and come to life at the end of the day.
You can stay at the Ayers Rock camping resort, however, when we visited in peak time we could not get a site for over 3 weeks. So we opted to stay at the free camp approximately 20km from Yulara. The site is listed as “Sunrise Uluru” on Wikicamps. This camp has the most amazing views of Uluru at sunrise and sunset however you need to get past 2 large sand dunes to get there.
When we stayed at this camp, we did not know that this was Aboriginal land as we thought we were in the National Park. Apparently this camp has been closed but check Wikicamps comments. We did not see any signs at the time saying it was illegal for the 80+ campers to be there.
How to get there
Uluru is 450km from Alice Springs. You can get plenty of supplies from Yulara but being a remote community you will be paying more. If you don’t have a lot of time in the area then you can go on a day tour with lots of various bus tours from Alice Springs.
We absolutely loved our time in the area and felt that the 3 days wasn’t enough. We could of quite easily spent a few more days enjoying the walking tracks in the area.