5 Things To Do in Uluru

5 Things To Do in Uluru

Uluru is in the heart of the Australian outback, a wild and remotely vast land traditionally looked after by the Anangu people. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park protects the massive Uluru, a giant red sandstone rock 462km from the next closest town. Uluru is approximately four million tonnes and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site protecting this sacred land.

How to Get to Uluru

Flights arrive in Ayers Rock Airport from Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns or Alice Springs with JetStar, Virgin Australia or Qantas. From the Ayers Rock Airport, free AATKings Resort Shuttles will take you from the airport to your accommodations.

How to Get Around Uluru

A free shuttle bus drives the 20-minute loop of the resort stopping at all six accommodations as well as Town Square where the art galleries, boutique shops and IGA Supermarket are. The bus runs between 5:30am-12:30am daily.

In order to get to Uluru or Kata Tjuta, you will need to either book a tour or (the cheaper option) is to buy a 1-, 2- or 3-day pass for the hop-on, hop-off bus. They will take you to the sunrise and sunset viewing platforms as well as the hiking spots in both parts of the park.

Where to Stay in Uluru

The town around Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is called Yulara where there are six types of accommodations for you to choose from. You can splash out on a resort-style hotel (Sails in the Desert or Desert Gardens), stay in a beautiful hotel (The Lost Camel), book a self-contained 1- or 2-bedroom apartment (Emu Walk Apartments), enjoy a hotel on a budget (Outback Pioneer Hotel), experience the backpacking life in a hostel (Outback Pioneer Lodge), or go camping (Ayers Rock Campground). If you're really here for a good time, a $3000/night experience in the middle of the desert with glass windows overlooking Uluru is also available at Longitude 131.

You can book all your accommodations through Ayers Rock Resort.

Things to Do in Uluru

Watch the sunrise from Kata Tjuta

You will need to depart your accommodations at approximately 4:30am to take the bus to the viewing platform at Kata Tjuta. Come early as it will get busy with people snapping beautiful photos of the sun peeking above the horizon behind Uluru and the pink light grazing the domes of Kata Tjuta.

jana meerman kata tjuta uluru sunrise (2)
jana meerman kata tjuta uluru sunrise (4)
jana meerman kata tjuta uluru sunrise (4)
jana meerman kata tjuta uluru sunrise (4)
jana meerman kata tjuta uluru sunrise (4)

Hike Valley of the Winds in Kata Tjuta

After you have watched sunrise, the hop-on, hop-off bus will drop you off at the start of the Valley of the Winds hike, a beautiful 7.4km circuit that loops all the way through the domes of the national park. Some of these domes are taller than Uluru! The signs in the park say to give yourself up to four hours to hike; I completed it in 1 hour 40 minutes. You must start this hike early as you cannot access the trail after 11am due to heat. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen and please don't wear flip flops or jeans...

jana meerman kata tjuta uluru sunrise (9)
jana meerman kata tjuta uluru sunrise (9)
jana meerman kata tjuta uluru sunrise (9)
jana meerman kata tjuta uluru sunrise (14)
jana meerman kata tjuta uluru sunrise (2)

Watch the sunrise over Uluru

The following day, catch the hop-on, hop-off bus at 4:45am to Uluru. A return pass (cheaper than an unlimited hop-on, hop-off day pass) will still take you first to the sunrise viewing platform before dropping you off at one spot and pick you up at another to return you home. The sun rises opposite Uluru so you won't get quite the same show as you do from Kata Tjuta but you do get a chance to see the morning light up close on Uluru.

jana meerman uluru (1)
jana meerman uluru (1)

Hike the base of Uluru

After sunrise, get off the bus at Mala Carpark to complete the 10km circumnavigation of Uluru. The walk does not touch the rock since it is a sacred place, but you get the full view of every single angle and curve of the magnificent rock. The entire loop took me 1 hour 45 minutes. Free tours operate here where local guides will tell you about the legends of the land. You can still climb the rock, but please just don't. It damages the rock and is against the Aboriginal culture.

jana meerman uluru (4)
jana meerman uluru (4)
jana meerman uluru (4)

Watch sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta

At the Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge, a viewing platform looks directly across to Uluru. If you don't have unlimited hop-on/hop-off's, this is a great, free spot to watch the sky come alive with vibrant colours over Kata Tjuta casting a pink glow on Australia's most famous rock.

jana meerman uluru kata tjuta sunset (1)
jana meerman uluru kata tjuta sunset (2)
jana meerman uluru kata tjuta sunset (2)
jana meerman uluru kata tjuta sunset (2)
jana meerman uluru kata tjuta sunset (2)
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