Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Uluru

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If you are planning on visiting Uluru, here’s every possible things that you need to know about it. Located in the Northern Territory of Australia, Uluru is one of the remote desert area to visit that is full of cultural history to discover. It is also an outdoor paradise because there are so many trails to hike and take in all the red rock scenery along with Australian locals such as Kangaroo and other wildlife animals.

Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Uluru
Sunset Over Uluru
Photo Credit: Points Life

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    Where Is Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park?

    Uluru and Kata Tjuta are two different rock formations but they are located in the same national park in the Northern Territory of Australia. The location is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site.

    When Is The Best Time To Visit Uluru?

    Uluru is pretty much an outdoor destination in the middle of the desert place. So when it is Summer (December – February), it can get really really hot there, but you can expect lesser crowds and accommodation price is more affordable. The best time to visit Uluru is during Fall season (March – May) and Spring time (September – November) in Australia. That’s when the weather is warm but not too hot. However, it could get crowded and accommodation price can be more expensive.

    How To Get To Uluru?

    The best way to get to Uluru really depends on your traveling time and where your journey begins. But here are a couple options:

    • You can fly into Uluru: The fastest way to get to Uluru is to fly into Uluru. The closest airport to Uluru is Ayers Rock Airport (AYQ) which is a small airport and about 15-20 minutes drive from the Uluru site. Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia all fly from major Australia cities to Ayers Rock. There’s no International direct flight into Ayers Rock. The time it takes to fly into Ayers Rock really depends on what your original airport is. To give you an idea, it takes 3 hours and 30 minutes from Sydney to Ayers Rock one-way. 
    • You can drive to Uluru: If the Outback adventures interest you, you can drive to Uluru. Depending on where you start, it can be a long and several days of driving time. You can shorten the time by flying into Alice Springs and then drive to Uluru. It takes around 5 hours each way.  

    Where To Stay In Uluru? (Uluru Accommodations)

    There’s no place to stay within the national park itself. Ayers Rock Resort is your only option. It is 10 minutes drive from the Ayers Rock airport and 10 minutes drive from the Uluru site. Ayers Rock Resort offers a variety of accommodation options that range from campgrounds to budgeted hostel, hotel and luxurious cabins. Here are the names:
    The best place to check the rates and book is Ayers Rock Resort website. It’s worth noting that some of these resorts participate with Accor Hotels program so you can use Accor points for redemption. You can earn Accor points only at participating eligible properties whether you book directly with Accor Hotels or Ayers Rock Resort. Try to make booking as early as possible for a better rate and because accommodation there can be filled up quick during peak time. 

    Is It Worth Hiring A Car At Uluru?

    We recommend hiring a car if you enjoy sightseeing on your own, especially if you want to explore beyond Uluru such as the Kings Canyon which is 3 and half hours drive away from Uluru one-way. Hiring a car will give you the flexibility. There’s no need to worry about driving in Uluru if you are used to driving on the different side of road in your home country. Australia drives on the left side which is the opposite side of the America. There’s also no need of a GPS. The road is paved and pretty straight forward to navigate and less traffics. You also do not need an International driver license in the Northern Territory if you are not driving in the territory for more than 3 months and your oversea driver license is in English.

    Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Uluru
    Photo Credit: Points Life

    Car Hire In Uluru

    The three major car hire company in Uluru are Avis, Hertz and Thrifty. Each rental car company has kilometers (mileage) limit if you book directly with them or any third party car hire websites. You are only allowed 100km per day, so if you rent the car for 3 days, you are allowed free 300km for the entire rental period. After that, they charge $0.25AUD per kilometer. If you want unlimited kilometers you will have to book with Ayers Rock Resort. You can contact the resort to make the arrangements and full pre-payment is required with the following cancellation policy (please also double check with the resort too):

    • Cancellations received within 24 hours of arrival incur a cancellation fee equal to 100 %.
    • Cancellations received within 48 hours of arrival incur a cancellation fee equal to 1 day.

    You can specify pick up and drop off with Ayers Rock Resort the same as you were to book somewhere else. It is not difficult. Here’s their contact email: [email protected]

    All 3 rental car company is located inside Ayers Rock Airport. However, they do not operate 24/7. See hours of operation below.

    Rental Car Company Location Hours of Operation
    Avis Airport Mon-Sun 9AM – 3PM
    Hertz Airport Mon-Sun 9AM – 4PM
    Thrifty Airport Mon-Sun: 8AM – 5PM

    If you return the car outside each company’s hours of operation, there’s a key drop box at the counter of each rental car company in the airport. Ayers Rock Airport is a small airport, rental car pick up and drop off location is pretty much the same location across the street from the airport’s entrance door. 

    Getting From Ayers Rock Airport to Ayers Rock Resort

    If you hire a car, Ayers Rock Airport is only 10 minutes drive away from Ayers Rock Resort. If you do not have a car, contact the Ayers Rock Resort at [email protected] to arrange complimentary shuttle between AYQ airport and your hotel. There’s no taxi or public bus transportation.

    Getting From Ayers Rock Resort to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

    Hiring a car is the best way to explore Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and surroundings. If you are not able to hire a car, Ayers Rock Resort offers tours and activities that you can do. If you prefer to explore at your own pace, there’s also an Uluru Hop On Hop Off service available. There’s no taxi or public bus transportation.

    Please note that the Ayers Rock Resort’s free shuttle service departs approximately every 20 minutes from 10.30am – 12.30am. It stops at all Hotels, the Campgrounds, Resort Town Square, Visitors Centre and the Uluru Camel Farm, but it does not go to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

    Is There A Fee To Enter Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park?

    Yes, there’s an entry park pass. Starting November 1, 2020 – a 3 days park pass for an adult 18 years and older costs $38AUD or $50AUD for an annual pass. You can purchase the park pass online or in person at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park’s entrance. We recommend you buy the pass in person. For the latest fees information, check out the official Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park website.

    Things To Do In Uluru

    Uluru and surroundings are outdoor paradise. Therefore, the weather plays an important role. If you are going in the summer, make sure to stay hydrated and start out any walks as early morning as possible to avoid Australian heat. Here are some suggestions on things to do while visiting Uluru:

    Mutijulu Waterhole

    Uluru Base Walk

    Starting at Mala Car Park, you can do Mala Walk, Kantju Gorge, Mutitjulu Waterhole (photo on the left), Kuniya Walk, Lungakata Walk. The walk can take 3-4 hours long for the entire base loop, but it’s flat and thus easy. There’s also another walk called Liru Walk that’s at the cultural centre. More information on Uluru Walk.

    Sunset Over Uluru

    Must See Sunrise & Sunset Over Uluru

    Ayers Rock Resort keeps the most up-to-date location and information on sunrise and sunset time. If you are driving, there are signs posted within the national park on where the sunrise and sunset car parks are.

    Uluru Walk

    Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre

    For the history buffs, the cultural center provides an introduction to Anangu culture and traditions.

    Kata Tjuta Means Many Heads

    Kata Tjuta

    Kata Tjuta is another famous rocks formation within the national park. The name of this attraction means “many heads” – there are some walks you can do such as the walk to the Karu Lookout, Walpo Gorge walk, and the difficult and challenging Valley of the Winds walk. Valley of the Winds walk can be closed if the weather gets too hot, so make sure to do that early in the morning. You can read more information on Kata Tjuta walks here.

    Field of Light Uluru

    Field of Light Uluru

    Field of Light is a private tour that is operated by the Ayers Rock Resort. You cannot do this on your own, you must sign up one of the night tours with Ayers Rock Resort. See here for more information on Field of Light Uluru. 

    Kings Canyon

    Kings Canyon 

    Kings Canyon is 3 and half hours away from Uluru. You can join the tour or do-it-yourself with a rental car. Kings Canyon Rim Walk is the best way to enjoy and see Kings Canyon. The entire loop walk can take 3-4 hours long based on your fitness. It is steep at the beginning of the climb, but after that it is nice and easy. 

    Can I Climb Uluru?

    No, the Uluru climb is permanently closed. The decision was made because Uluru is a sacred place to the aboriginal Anangu people and they do not appreciate tourists climb Uluru. Please be mindful when visiting Uluru. Show respect to Anangu cultures and obey any posted signs of photos taking.

    Is Kings Canyon Worth Visiting?

    If you love natures and hiking, you will enjoy your time in Kings Canyon. Hiring a car to get there and back is the way to go because it will give you more flexibility to enjoy Kings Canyon at your own leisures. It is 3 and half hours driving from Uluru one-way, so if you have time while visiting Uluru, Kings Canyon is definitely worth a trip.

    Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Uluru
    Kings Canyon
    Photo Credit: Points Life

    Where To Stay In Kings Canyon?

    We recommend Kings Canyon Resort that’s situated near the Kings Canyon and the rim walk. Kings Canyon resort also has an observation area that offers beautiful sunset over the canyon’s view. The resort area also has a gas station, a convenient store, restaurant and bar. The price can be a little bit on the expensive side but after all it is a remote place.

    Uluru’s Suggested Itinerary

    Below is simply a suggestion. Your itinerary may vary based on your travel style and how much time you have. If you want to do the Valley of the Winds walk at Kata Tjuta, you will definitely need to add more time.

    • Day 1: Fly into Ayers Rock airport, pick up a rental car and drive to Kings Canyon. Stay at Kings Canyon 1 night at Kings Canyon Resort. If time permits, do a short hike at Kathleen Springs. Enjoy sunset view over Kings Canyon at the observation deck at Kings Canyon Resort. 
    • Day 2: Hike the Kings Canyon Rim walk early morning. Drive back to Uluru. Drive to Kata Tjuta and do small hikes. Check in one of the Ayers Rock resort hotels, and go for the sunset time over Uluru. 
    • Day 3: Get up early and drive to see sunrise over Uluru. Hike the Uluru base walk. Check out the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Center. At night, do the Field of Light tour with Ayers Rock resort. 
    • Day 4: Return the rental car at the airport and fly out. 

    What To Pack For Visiting Uluru?

    Here are the items that I took with me when visiting Uluru in the summer time. Uluru is pretty much a desert place, so it’s very hot in the summer.

    Collapsible Lightweight Water Bottle

    Uluru is an outdoor paradise, staying hydrate there is very important when you do your hikes. I bought this collapsible water bottle and it was super portable. I just filled it with water and hooked it to my backpack. After finish, the bottle can be collapsed into small bottle for easy storage. It’s inexpensive and lightweight.

    Fly Head Net – Must Have

    Trust me on this one. You will need a Head Net when visiting Uluru. While it looks silly to wear that, you will appreciate it very much when you get to Uluru. Flies there are really bad and I really mean it. The moment I stepped out of the plane at Ayers Rock airport, I was literally swamped by flies. It is impossible to be outside without wearing it. So do what you can to take this one with you. It is lightweight and won’t take much space. You will definitely thank it later. Also, don’t worry! Those flies are not dangerous to your health and they do not bite, they are just annoying. Everyone in Uluru wears it, so you won’t be alone.

    Merrell Hiking Shoes

    Take any of your favorite hiking shoes because you will need them. For me, I personally love Merrell brand. Their shoes are made mainly for outdoor activities such as hiking. Those shoes are heavy duty and have the best traction that prevents tripping and slipping especially when hiking. They are much better than tennis shoes such as Nike, Adidas, etc. If you are going to hike (which you should) at Uluru, you need to take a good pairs of hiking shoes.

    Eddie Bauer Outdoor Backpack

    I also took my favorite Eddie Bauer backpack with me to Uluru. It’s lightweight and easy to carry around. It’s also very convenient that the backpack is collapsable when not in use to save space in my suitcase. It’s such a small bag; however, it somehow can store so many things. The side pockets are great for my collapsable water bottle. It is necessary you take your favorite backpack with you to store your belongings and your bottle water when doing your hikes.

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