Update: November 2019
Uluru is taller than the Eiffel Tower and is made of arkosic sandstone. A magical trip to Uluru in the Outback is likely to near the top of most traveler’s bucket lists when venturing to Australia.
I had the pleasure of exploring Australia’s Outback back in 2013, and I definitely see myself revisiting the region. Planning a trip to Uluru, or Ayers Rock as it is sometimes known requires a fair amount of thought.
Being among the top attractions in Australia, there are tons of ways to experience Uluru. This guide will help you plan your trip to Uluru with ease!
Be Aware of the Aboriginal Requests
Although the signs around the site are hard to miss, I would suggest you take a look at what is requested of visitors by the native people who consider this massive sandstone formation theirs. The site holds historical significance to the native people of the area (known as the Anangu).
Uluru is a very sacred place to the Aboriginal people of Australia. There is a lot of controversy around climbing Uluru, and as of October 2019, you can no longer climb it.
There are also requests to refrain from photographing certain areas and not capturing the native Anangu in images. There are many chilling tales of misfortune at the Visitor’s Center cautioning visitors to respect these requests.
Be Wary of the Distances
I drove through from Alice Springs which takes around 5 hours. I discovered that there are long distances to cover when traveling to and from the rock itself. It is essential that you take these factors into account when deciding on the duration of your stay.
You will be doing yourself a real injustice if you visit Uluru without experiencing it entirely. The accommodation area is around 20km’s from the rock which is a significant 40km journey roundtrip.
The journey around the base of Uluru is 11km and can take a while longer because of various photo stops or a trip to the Visitor’s Center.
Plan a Trip to Uluru
Taking into account the amount of traveling involved and the different experiences to indulge in, I recommend a two or three-day stay at Uluru. A 3-day itinerary will safely allow you to experience a sunrise AND sunrise, plus a trip to Kata Tjuta (about 50km from Uluru).
Be sure to include a visit to the cultural center and some time to venture onto one (or two) of the many amazing walking experiences offered. Anything shorter is likely to feel rushed.
Top Ways to Experience Uluru
Experience the View from Lasseter Highway Sand Dune
The unofficial viewing area from this spot provides a spell-binding first look at the rock. Located around 20km from the entrance into Uluru-Kata Tjuta Park, it is unmissable when driving in.
Set your Sights on a Spectacular Sunrise and Sunset
This one tops the list by far. One of the most magical things about Uluru is that it looks completely different at dawn, during the day and at dusk.
Natural light influences the color of the colossal rock formation, so it’s impossible to choose a favorite time!
Sunrise shows Uluru off in a flaming red which then settles into the terracotta hue for the day. At sunset, it all changes again, bearing a striking reddish hue before settling into a dusky pink for nightfall.
Sunrise and sunset tours are very popular at Uluru with great photo opportunities and good wine.
Do the Base-Walk Around Uluru
Uluru is best experienced by venturing on a walk around the base. The base walk is 10.6km and mostly flat.
Apart from a small area of sandy footing the walk not too demanding. There are a few drinking stations along the way and no shade on the backside of the rock. I suggest taking a hat, lots of water and comfortable shoes!
It’s also a good idea to get started early to avoid harsh sunlight. A camel ride around part of the perimeter is another an interesting way of experiencing Uluru.
You can also rent bicycles for more adventures!
Visit the viewing deck at Kata Tjuta
Kata Tjuta is a marvel of its own. Whilst there be sure to look out for Uluru from the dune viewing area. The captivating site provides yet another view of Uluru and is a great option for sunrise or sunset as well.
Decide on Activities
With so many different options, it’s a good idea to get a head start on choosing activities beforehand. Camel rides, sunset drinks, outback cycling, sand dunes and guided walks are just a handful of what is offered.
I suggest putting together a list of your personal must do’s. It’s also a good idea to book certain activities in advance and confirm the day before.
Visiting Uluru is going to leave you spellbound. While taking pictures and documenting your time is important, don’t forget to take a step back and revel in the beauty of it all. Remember to enjoy every second of your trip!