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Visiting one of the most famous landmarks of Australia: Uluru aka Ayers Rock

It took more than 6 hours driving from Alice Spring through the red center before we reached the Uluru information center. Luckily we left Alice Springs early that day and arrived just in time to look for accommodation and be at the Ayers Rock aka Uluru for sunset.

Many people asked me if it is worth to travel through half of Australia to see a big sandstone and I always say yes. But it is not only the Uluru that makes this are worth a visit, there is much more.

Uluru aka Ayers Rock

Uluru is one of Australia’s most famous natural landmarks. The sandstone formation is about 20 kms away from the information center where most hostels and resorts are located but you will have a first glimpse of the rock from the outlook platform. I would recommend visiting the rock during sunrise or sunset but always plan a couple of hours after sunset or before sunset to actually get close to the rock and walk around. You will find some nice aboriginal paintings at the rock. Be warned that it’s full with flies and you will get very annoyed quickly, might be worth to invest some dollars into an anti-flies hat.

Aboriginal Art at Uluru, Australia

Many people hike up the Uluru to see the views of the red center from above. The aborigines however don’t appreciate it when people do this as the rock is a spiritual site for the natives who are also the owners of the Uluru. You can already see a mark which is left by the thousands of people who climb up there every year. Here is the official message from the aborigines!

When I travel I always try to respect the wishes of locals and therefore also didn’t climb up the rock. I heard that the view isn’t that spectacular anyways. An alternative to see the country from above would be with a helicopter flight.

Kata Tjuta aka The Olgas

Surprisingly, Kata Tjuta or the Olgas are listed  as number one thing to do at the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National park at Tripadvisor. When you drive down the little street from the Ayer Rock toward The Olgas you will see the rock formations already from far away. They will suck you in with their presence in this untouched and dry country. If you have time you should go for a walk through the rocks and visit the Walpa Gorge. It’s a little billabong (water whole) where you will find some amazing animals if it isn’t too busy and you have a lot of patience.

How much time to plan for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park?

Personally I think that two days is more than enough. One day for each attraction should gives you enough time to enjoy both rock formations. I would drive out to Uluru on the first day before sunrise and spend all day there and drive around the country and return for sunset and would do exactly the same thing on the second day at Kata Tjuta.

Car in front of Uluru

How to get to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Flying to Uluru

There are two Airlines which offer direct flights to the little Conellan Airport close to the Ayers Rock.

Virgin Australia flies directly from Sydeny and Qantas flies from Sydney, Perth, Cairns, Alice Springs and Melbourne to Conellan.

Driving to Uluru

I would recommend everybody with time to rent a car and drive your way up the red center. The streets are deserted but you will see many little stops along the way. From Adelaide to Uluru it’s about 1600 kms and takes a full day of driving if you don’t stop. I would recommend planning about 4-5 days and drive around 300-400 kms a day.

From Darwin to Uluru it’s 2000 kms. Here I would recommend much longer than 5 days. Take at least a week or 10 days. There is so much to see in the northern Northern Territory.

From Brisbane to Uluru you have to either drive north through Mount Isa or South through Adelaide. It’s about 3500 kms and you should plan a month at least and travel up or down the east coast before taking the Sturat Highway. If you want to surf I would drive down south the east coast since there is not surfing after you pass the Town of 1770 in the north.

From Perth to Uluru it’s 3700 kms and there are also two options. You can either drive south through Adelaide or North through Broome. The Northern drive is very dry with warm weather and beautiful beaches. If you drive along the southern coast you will drive through thick forests and beautiful cliffs.

Bus to Uluru

There are some bus companies and tour operators that provide bus tours up to the red center.

 Have you ever visited the Uluru or would you visit it when in Australia? Looking forward to your opinion in the comments!

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14 comments on “Visiting one of the most famous landmarks of Australia: Uluru aka Ayers Rock

  1. Leigh on

    I’d definitely be one to check out Uluru and I’d take the time to admire the countryside on the way via a big road trip. Your mention of flies reminds me of my first attempt surfing near Melbourne – and swatting flies on the beach incessantly.
    Great informative post – I must say I am amazed at how few people respect the aboriginal’s wishes re climbing the rock.

  2. Camels & Chocolate on

    I’ve been to Australia twice but never made it up to Uluru. Are the flies in those parts really as bad as everyone says? I hear you have to wear a Crocodile Dundee-like hat to keep them from flying into your mouth!

  3. Christy @ Technosyncratic on

    That is quite the dusty 4×4 you’ve got there! And I think it’s great you didn’t climb up even though it’s common; in this case, I think respecting the wishes of local communities is far more important than a view.

  4. Erica on

    Wow that looks like a whole lot of nothing. I’m not sure I could sit that long on the way out. Sure, I was raised in the desert and do think it is beautiful but Australia is HUGE!

  5. Stephanie - The Travel Chica on

    It’s definitely on my list for Australia. I think I prefer the road trip, so I can stop and take photos every 5 minutes 🙂

  6. Tigertim on

    Having spent some time exploring Uluru many years ago, I would just like to clarify a few misunderstandings, the view from the top is one of the great wonders of the world, the landscape in a 360 degree panorama is simply awe inspiring, we where fortunate to climb during the desert wild flower season, the colours of the desert changing continually throughout the day was a wonder to behold, we sat up there for hours,it was a unique, incredible, and unforgettable experience.

    I understand traditional concerns and respectfully suggest that to deny ourselves access to such wonders diminishes the experience and understanding as there are more questions about Uluru than answers.

    Exploration of the caves is a must (has anyone found a satisfactory answer to what those drawings mean?) a wonder in itself although the most significant remain closed to public access.

    People are naturally drawn to the rock at dawn and sunset, but it is changing colour throughout the day, must be seen during a storm, the rock turns purple, the top shrouded in cloud and lightning, and with enough rain becomes a waterfall. Unbelievable!

    Just saying 🙂

  7. Josie on

    Yes, I’ve been to Uluru and the Olgas. Arriving just at sunset, it was so fun chatting with the other travelers there which were a varied bunch, to be sure. Then at the Olgas — which I found to be prettier and more mysterious, by the way — we had a good walk around. I like the scrubby, kind of un-done-up-ness of it all.
    Thanks for a thorough and informative account.

  8. Jerome on

    Nice 4WD 🙂
    It’s good to read you’re story because this palce was amazing for me I traveled through the desert with 8 friends and I’ve got some very good memories

  9. Cecelia Cooke on

    I’m Australian & I travelled to Uluru in 2011 on a 6 day photography tour thru south west NT, saw Kings Canyon & The Olgas, Glen Helen Gorge, Ormiston Gorge & the amazing Finke River, the Western Macs & a whole lot of desert! It was breath-taking! I loved every minute. I’m from Sydney & moved up to Darwin (capital city of the Northern Territory) 8 mths ago & I’m loving life up here! The sunsets are amazing, food & markets to die for! Best move I ever made! Looking forward to exploring more of the Territory & my next visit to Uluru!!

  10. Britt on

    Great post Sebastian! I’ve just visited Uluru for the second time and loved the trip (including the drive through the beautiful desert) just as much. It’s important to respect the beliefs of the Aboriginal people who are the traditional owners of Uluru and I am so pleased that you chose not to climb Uluru, and to write about it

    . Not only is it a sacred passage reserved for Aboriginal elders who have earnt the right to climb, but it’s also very upsetting when people fall and die on their sacred site (I believe about 35 people have died from falling).

    Keep up the wonderful travel stories!