“Do you want to go all the way to see a rock?” was one of the questions few of my ex-colleagues asked. Well, it was on my Australian bucket list, 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 / Ayers Rock which is in the Northern Territory of Australia. In this post, you will find the details to visit this spiritual capital of Australia and the things to do at Uluru / Ayers Rock.
Note: Uluru is also known as Ayers Rock. And hence I have used Uluru and Ayers Rock interchangeably throughout the post.
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About Uluru / Ayers Rock
Also known as Ayers Rock, Uluru is a large sandstone rock formation in the middle of Australia. Located in the Northern Territory of Australia, 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 / Ayers Rock but now respecting the sentiments of aboriginal people, the climbing Uluru / Ayers Rock has been banned.
Best time to visit and Number of days required
The best time to visit Uluru / Ayers Rock is during the winter season (between June and August) as the weather is pleasant. The temperature range between 20 to 30 degrees centigrade during winters.
You need at least 3 to 4 days at Uluru / Ayers Rock as there are plenty of things to do even though it is in the middle of nowhere. There are many national parks and attractions in the area.
How to get to Uluru / Ayers Rock?
- 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. Jetstar and Virgin Australia are the two popular flight providers. The flight journey is approximately 5 hours.
The closest train station that you can go is at Alice Springs. There are trains that operate between Adelaide and Alice Springs. The famous Ghan (one of the most amazing things to do in Australia) travels between south to north and back.
- Unfortunately, there are no direct trains between Sydney and Alice Springs.
Where to stay in Uluru / Ayers Rock?
- There are few options to stay at Ayers Rock. They range between AUD 190 and AUD 400 per night for one room accommodating 2 adults.
- The budgeted option is the Outback Pioneer Lodge (also known as YHA Ayers Rock). This is also the only place that has a night club and most of the tourists visit this place even if they are not staying at Outback Pioneer Lodge.
- Some of the other options you can consider are Sails in the Desert, The Lost Camel Hotel and Desert Gardens Hotel.
Hiring Cars at Uluru / Ayers Rock
You can hire cars either at the airport or in the city centre. I suggest doing that as Uluru / Ayers Rock is remote and the best way to commute around is by driving. Ensure to hire a car with full insurance and zero excess fee.
Things to do at Uluru / Ayers Rock
Even though Uluru / Ayers Rock is in a remote place of Australia, it is surprising to see the things that the place offers to its visitors.
Watch the Sunrise
I would definitely recommend doing the sunrise tour at Uluru / Ayers Rock. During one of my trips to Uluru / Ayers Rock, we drove to the rock to see the stunning sunrise. It is totally worth getting up really early just to get a glimpse of that sunrise.
See the Changing colours of the big Sacred rock
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. They say that the rock changes its colours depending on when the Sun is aligned. It definitely lived up to the hype.
A glass of wine and watching the sun go down with the background of this huge sacred rock is something to die for. The tour had organised some wine and nibbles to watch the sunset. How wonderful is that?
View the Milky Way and shooting stars
This is my most favourite experience in Uluru / Ayers Rock. Uluru / Ayers Rock is one of the many places in Australia where you can see Milky Way. There is absolutely no light pollution and you can see billions of stars without any interruption. I had never seen so many stars in my life and it was spectacular.
Are you in New South Wales and are looking for places to see Milky Way? Then see the top 10 places to see Milky Way in NSW.
Spend time at 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.
Hike at Kata Tjuta
Also known as The Olgas, this 36 domed heads rock is taller than Uluru / Ayers Rock. You can do plenty of walks / hikes in the area and it feels like you have gone back in time. One of the best walks that I did at Kata Tjuta was the “Valley of the Winds“.
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.
Visit Talinguru Nyakunytjaku
Talinguru Nyakunytjaku is a view point to look at the sunrise from the sand dunes. It provides amazing views of Uluru / Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta. You can drive till the viewing point.
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.
Hike in the Kings Canyon
Part of Watarrka National park, the Kings Canyon is an awesome place to visit when you are in Uluru / Ayers Rock. There are many hikes to do and is around 3 hours from Uluru / Ayers Rock. The views at the top of Kings Canyon are breath taking. It is a must visit place for adventure seekers, especially hikers. I did the RIM walk at Kings Canyon which was a very short yet lovely hike.
Is it safe for solo female travelers?
Absolutely yes. Uluru / Ayers Rock is extremely safe for solo female travelers. I have traveled to Uluru / Ayers Rock 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. Also, there is wildlife (snakes) at the desert so be careful.
Uluru / Ayers Rock 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. Visiting Uluru / Ayers Rock is one of the top things to do in Australia.
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