The Red centre of Australia – Uluru/Ayers Rock
“Do you want to go all the way to see a rock?” was the question few of my ex-colleagues asked. Well, it was one of my bucket list items, so I had to cross it off. I booked the tickets for the perfect long weekend during the Queen’s birthday in June. I am referring to a place called Uluru which is in the Northern Territory of Australia. Uluru is also known as Ayers Rock.
Note: I have used Uluru and Ayers Rock interchangeably throughout the post.
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the middle of Australia. It is in the Northern Territory. The rock is sacred to the aboriginal people of the area and climbing the rock is not considered as respecting the rock. The rock formation stands 348 meters high and has a total circumference of 9.4 kilometers.
Previously people used to climb Uluru but now respecting the sentiments of aboriginal people, the climbing Uluru has been banned.
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How to get there?
- The best way to reach Ayers Rock is by flying.
- Ayers Rock airport, also known as Connellan Airport, (situated in Yulara) is the nearest airport.
- There are two flights per day that run between Sydney and Ayers Rock. The providers are Jetstar and Virgin Australia.
Where to stay?
- There are plenty of options to stay at Ayers Rock starting from AUD 190 to AUD 400 for 1 room accomodating 2 adults.
- The budgeted option is the YHA Ayers Rock, also known as Outback Pioneer Lodge.
Things to do at Ayers Rock
Even though Ayers Rock is in the middle of nowhere, it is surprising to see the things that it offers. Cars can be hired at the airport. I suggest doing that as Ayers Rock is remote and the best way to commute around is by driving.
- Sunset at Uluru – I would definitely recommend doing the sunset tour at Uluru. A glass of wine and watching the sun go down with the background of this huge sacred rock is something to die for. They say that the rock changes its colours depending on when the Sun is aligned.
- Hike in the Kings Canyon – The views at the top of Kings Canyon are breath taking. A definitely a must-do for all the hikers. Read “The red rocky walls – Kings Canyon it is!” for my travel story and experience.
- View the Milky Way and shooting stars – This is my most favourite experience in Uluru. There is absolutely no light pollution and I had never seen so many stars in my life. Its spectacular. Read “Glittering dots and dust in the sky…” for my experience.
- Field of light – Around 50,000 glass lights illuminate the spiritual rock. This is a night tour which runs half an hour after the sunset. And it is very pretty. Beware of where you step during the nights as the area does have snakes. Always be within the paths lighted.
- Visit Kata Tjuta – Also known as The Olgas, this 36 domed heads rock is taller than Uluru. This is also home for one of the best walks, “Valley of the Winds“.
- Visit Talinguru Nyakunytjaku – This is a place to look from the sand dunes. It provides amazing views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
- Eat at the open-air restaurant – Sounds of Silence or Tali Wiru are the open-air restaurants. Even though on the expensive side (ranging from around AUD 200 to AUD 450), the visit to the Red Centre is definitely not complete without having the delicious food at these restaurants.
- Other walks and hikes in the area – There are some amazing hikes/ walks around in the national parks. More information can be found on the website – parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru.
Changing colours of the big Sacred rock (Uluru)
I had taken a sunset trip with AAT Kings. We were driven to a spot to witness the sunset over the rock and experience the spectacular colour changes of the rock. Yes, the sunset was dramatic and beautiful. It definitely lived up to the hype. To top it up, the tour had organised some wine and nibbles to watch the sunset. How wonderful is that?
Is it safe for solo female travelers?
Absolutely yes. Uluru is extremely safe for solo female travelers. I have traveled to Uluru three times and been solo twice. I have never had any issues while I was there. However, like any other place, be cautious and know your surroundings, especially at nights.
Uluru is definitely one of the most magical and spiritual places I have ever been to. It is definitely worth visiting this red centre of Australia. It has so much culture and history that it is fascinating.