Welcome to the Red Centre, one of Australia’s most prominent tourism highlights in the Northern Territory. We are talking about Ayers Rock, or more commonly known as Uluru, which is that big red rock everyone knows about and thinks of adding to their list! But is Uluru worth visiting?
I have visited central Australia several times over the years and have an excellent grasp in helping you make this choice. Therefore, if you have plenty of burning questions in your head about visiting or not, then this is the post for you.
So, lets discuss this in more detail below and hopefully help you decide. In the end, you could eventually book to see one of the biggest Bucketlist destinations in Australia.
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10 Reasons Why Uluru is Worth Visiting!
I have visited the Alice Springs/Uluru region 4 times over the past 14 years, and I would definitely go back again. This means, Yes, Uluru is worth visiting (for me), but you need to be aware of the reasons why I go, and why it suits my kind of holiday. Below, I’m starting off with some of the things to do and why it makes Uluru Worth visiting.
However, from my experience, it’s not for everyone, and you need to know what you’re in for to make an informed decision. This can include when you should go, what to do there, and whether it will suit your budget! Therefore, read further on the find out the reasons Uluru is NOT worth visiting, or suitable for your situation.
1. You can Drive around Uluru
Uluru is one of the world’s largest monoliths. In fact, it takes about 30 minutes to drive around it. Keep in mind the road is a decent distance away from Uluru, but its sheer size will have you in amazement and awe. Consequently, it’s a nice casual drive around it, and you have certain allocated areas you can stop and take some pics.
2. Taking in a Sunrise or Sunset
There is a large number of people that can assemble around Uluru at both Sunrise and Sunset. Therefore, you have some parking structures and allocated areas set up, for this viewing. Note that you should get there early and plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the sun is supposed to hit the horizon. You really need the extra time for parking and finding a spot.
It’s a great idea to bring a chair, snacks, drinks, or coffee and make an event out of it. Then it’s simply a point to sit back, relax, and watch as the sun rises or sets.
If you are a photographer like me, the effect you’re trying to capture may not be what the allocated spots are for. The positions are based on the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Consequently, seeing Uluru at its brightest and the sun reflecting.
However, you may want to swap the positions (taking a sunrise shot, in the sunset position)and photograph the sun behind Uluru. As a result, fewer people are trying to get the same spot.
3. Visiting the Fields of Lights experience
This experience is by tour only and is a way to view around 50,000 solar-powered globes or light stems positioned in the desert. British artist Bruce Munro built this art display in 2017, and it covers an overwhelming size in view of Uluru. You can visit this area at sunset or sunrise and be amazed at the changing lights.
My first experience of this was at sunset, with drinks included in the tour. You could see where they were, but nothing in view until the sun crossed below the horizon. Then, the next minute, you witness a colour creation miraculously appearing in front of you. A big moment of awe!
4. Walking the base circumference of Uluru
The walk around the base is officially 9.4 kilometres long. Still, it is further when you count the different paths to other sacred sites. It’s flat walking and not that difficult, but it can be a long hike for most people. All up, it could take about 3.5 to 4 hours to complete, but that would depend on your fitness. There are opportunities to sit down, rest, and even explore some of the waterholes.
Don’t want to walk it? Then why don’t you try a fully guided Segway tour? Learn about the area as you go around, and have fun doing it! Know that these tours vary from 2 to 5 hours, so pick one that suits your schedule.
Know there are many sacred sites around Uluru, and signs are displayed where photography is not allowed.
5. Sounds of Silence Dinner (under the night sky in view of Uluru)
This is one experience that I see many tourists doing and getting their celebratory photo with Uluru holding champagne. Know this specific tour is held in a different section from where you would generally be watching the sunset and has drinks and a 3-course meal included. This is a 4-hour experience and goes into the night watching the starry sky & Milky Way light up above you.
6. Hiking around Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
The entire National Park includes both Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Therefore, you have two different sections to explore and why people always recommend a few days.
Kata Tjuta is a fascinating creation, similar to Uluru but forms as many rocks instead of just one. Here, you have two entirely different hikes to complete. The Walpa Gorge Walk (1-hour return) and the Valley of the Winds (3 hours return).
7. Learn about the ancient Aboriginal Culture
The Anangu people are the owners of the land and have been living on here since the beginning. They have many stories relating to the creation of the land, and you can learn about this through the Information and cultural centre.
Additionally, local Aboriginal guides will host walking tours around the base of Uluru and detail areas of significance. The Australia Parks & Wildlife service actually leases the license from the Anangu people. It allows tourists to come and visit their land.
8. Ride a camel in view of Uluru
In general, this is the same as any other camel ride in Australia; you’re just riding in view of Uluru. It’s an exciting experience but not something for everyone. You can choose to ride at different times of the day or maybe join the tour with something else (like the field of Lights).
9. Learn to play the Didgeridoo
Listen to the enchanting sounds of the Didgeridoo and maybe even learn yourself. You can purchase a tour to learn, but I can say that it’s not as easy as it looks. If all else fails, you can buy a sample didgeridoo in the souvenir store and just take it home for a display.
10. Soar through the air in a Flight experience
This is one experience I was glad to do and well worth the price. I choose to fly in a helicopter, but I think there are options for Hot Air Balloons or fixed-winged planes. Seeing Uluru, Yulara and Kata Tjuta from the air is an unbelieve site! Therefore, whichever way you’re comfortable doing it, you will not regret it.
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8 Reasons why Uluru is NOT Worth visiting?
We always have to way up the Pros and Cons. Since we have gone through the reasons Uluru is worth Visiting, we now need to detail the reasons why Uluru is not worth visiting. Before you read this list, I must admit it comes down to personal choice, taste, preferences, and what you might think is an enjoyable holiday.
Uluru is not for everyone, and if you’re the type of person like the ones mentioned below, then maybe Uluru might not be the best option for you.
1. You have a tight budget.
It is unfortunate, but Uluru is located in a very remote location. Therefore, the costs will be a little higher to receive supplies and get people to work there. Obviously, this is reflected in the price of accommodation, restaurants, general supplies, car hire, tours, and even the flights. It all adds up when you start to include National Park fees just to enter the park.
Therefore, if you have a tight budget, it might not be worth visiting Uluru until you can afford something of this value.
2. You don’t have enough time.
If you only have one or two days spare to see Uluru, this might not be enough time. I would like to think 3 days would be a good average, but this wouldn’t include the travelling time. However, if you were desperate to see it in one day, not see or do anything else but Uluru, and afford the excess cost, then go for it.
3. It’s a long way from everywhere in Australia.
This is remote central Australia, and there isn’t much around. Yulara is 40 mins away and a purpose-built tourist town whose sole purpose is to provide services for people visiting Uluru. Alice Springs is a 5-hour drive away with a population of 25 thousand people and your alternate option for an Airport.
You can fly to Uluru or Alice Springs from Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, or Melbourne. However, these will take anything from 3 to 8 hours, depending on the arrival airport, what day you travel, and direct flight availability. Ultimately, your flight will be one of your highest costs, and you need to make it worthwhile.
4. You don’t like exploring Nature or the Great Outdoors.
If you’re someone that doesn’t like hiking, exploring natural environments, and generally being in the great outdoors. Then, Uluru might not be a good choice for you. This region is about connecting with nature, discovering sacred sites, and being outside most of the day. However, if your plan is to stay in a hotel room for your entire visit, then I could think of other cheaper places to go to.
Note: Yulara and all the accommodation available is 40 minutes away from Uluru. While you can see Uluru from various vantage points, most hotel rooms don’t generally have a view.
5. You have an issue with lots of flies or bugs.
The Outback is known for bugs and thousands of flies, and I don’t just mean a few bussing around your head. It can get so bad that you’re trying to eat a sandwich and inadvertently munch on a few. Keep in mind, I’ve heard this is a big issue for things like the “Sounds of Silence” dinner outdoors.
While this can sound tolerable to some people, Uluru might not be the best place for you if it grosses you out too much. The good news is that excessive flies are more common in summer than in winter, and winter is the preferred time to travel. However, changes can happen intermittently and can be bad at any time of year.
Tip – You can purchase a fly net and a wide-brim hat to help.
6. You don’t like dusty red dirt all over you.
Central Australia is covered in thick red dirt; when you mix that with windy days, you will be dirty most of the time. Even worse, you could be enjoying the first hour of the day outside and already need a shower. While this isn’t going to happen daily, it is common and can be an issue for some people.
7. You’re not a fan of dry/hot/humid or drastic temperature changes.
Extreme temperatures are typical in Outback Australia, which means it can get hot during the day and cold at night. These temperatures can vary greater during the summer and are unusual for most people, even in the winter. Mix that with the sun reflecting off the rock face, and you’ll probably spend most of the day sweating and needing a jumper at night.
8. You don’t like a harsh environment.
This is outback Australia, a desert as far as the eye can see, and it can be a harsh environment. Supplies are not at your fingertips, 7/11 stores are not on every corner, and data service is limited.
This means you will need to prepare & research more to know what supplies you need to carry around, how long it takes to get from A to B, and where the fuel station is. General necessities are your lifeblood, and it is not the best place to “wing it” regarding arrangements.
Where is Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is located in Central Australia in the Northern Territory. Most tourists will either road trip around Australia, pass by to see Uluru or fly directly. Check out the map below for more detailed directions.
Those who fly can arrive at Alice Springs, which will then explore the rest of the Central Australian region. Or alternatively, fly in Yulara (the closest town to Uluru) and venture around the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park only.
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Getting to Uluru
Getting to Uluru by Air
You have the choice to arrive at the Alice Spring Airport to road trip the region or fly direct into Ayer Rock (Yulara) Airport. Generally, you will connect through other airports to get there, but you can grab a flight daily. However, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a direct flight and take less time!
➡ Check and compare prices for your Flights on Expedia HERE
Getting to Uluru by Car/Road
This is my first choice when travelling to Central Australia and working on my own time schedule instead of someone else’s.
➡ Find your favourite brand & compare prices for your Rental Car HERE
I love the flexibility and spending more time on the things I like. Even in Yulara or Uluru, all the sites are so far away from each other, and it’s more time efficient to hire your own car.
Getting there by organised tour?
Take the worry out of booking the details yourself and find a fully guided tour to take you everywhere you need. Even better, some of these will leave Alice Springs; therefore, easy and cheaper to fly into.
➡ Check and compare prices for the Multi-Day Tours from Alice spring to Uluru (Ayers Rock) HERE
Map of Uluru
The distances between all the required locations might be further than you think. For this reason, I have compiled a map to help in your planning and show where everything is.
(Please click here for the Map Directory Link to open or apply directions from your location)
Accommodation at Uluru (or specifically Yulara Village)
There are only a few options when it comes to accommodation at Yulara Village. This includes:
➡ Check and compare prices for all Yulara / Uluru Hotels on Expedia HERE
- Desert Gardens Hotel (3 Star)
- Longitude 131(4 Star)
- Sails in the Desert (3.5 Star)
- Outback Pioneer Lodge (3.5 Star)
- Emu Walk Apartments (4 Star)
- The Lost Camel Hotel (3 Star)
- Ayers Rock Campground ( Powered & Unpowered Sites)
Where to Eat
Most of your restaurants or choices come down to where you’re staying, but I have some suggestions below. Of course, you can always pick up some basic supplies from the local supermarket in Yulara and prepare something yourself. However, you might want to check what facilities you have available in your Hotel room, as it could be only suitable for a sandwich.
- Sails of the desert hotel ( Ilkari Restaurant, Walpa Lobby Bar, Pira Pool Bar)
- Desert Gardens (Mangata Bistro & Bar, Arnuli Grill & Restaurant
- Outback Pioneer Lodge (The Bough House, Pioneer BBQ & Bar, Outback Pioneer Kitchen)
- Ayers Wok Noodle Bar
- Gecko’s Café
- Supermarket for basic supplies and cooking yourself
- Sounds of Silence Dinner Tour
Things you should pack on a trip to Uluru
Note: these are only suggestions, and some will be based on what season you’re travelling in.
- Closed-in Footwear, Hiking Boots, sneakers, or good walking shoes.
- Thick breathable socks and band-aids to prevent blisters. This supports the closed in shoes.
- Wide-brimmed hat for complete sun protection.
- Fly net to protect your face from the bugs. This is probably more for the summer months.
- Lip balm.
- Water bottle or inbuilt hydration pack
- Travel Lightweight towels to wipe the sweat off your face or light cleaning from the dust.
- Insect repellent (primarily for dusk).
- Layered lightweight clothing for adjusting temperatures and especially for the winter months
- Plastic Bags for rubbish to take with you.
- Binoculars to spot the wildlife or other interesting subjects.
- Camera and/or Tripod.
- A Good Day Pack or Backpack for carrying all your gear for the day.
- Snacks ( Nuts or energy Bars for hikes and day trips).
- First Aid Kit ( just in case of small injury’s, scrapes or twisted ankles).
- Phone & Power bank for charging.
- Hiking Poles if you intend to do the long hikes to support the knees, stairs etc.
- Jumper or coats for the winter.
- Beanies & Gloves during the winter season.
- Plenty of Water
- Torch for Sunrise or Sunset Walks.
- Hiking Poles if you intend to do the long hikes.
- Jumper or coats for the winter.
- Beanies & Gloves during the winter season.
When is the best time to visit Uluru?
The best time to visit Uluru is between May and September each year. This covers the winter period and the cooler temperatures compared to the rest of the year. In turn, this makes walking around safer and more pleasant, and there is less rain.
When should you not visit Uluru?
If there was a choice to not visit Uluru, it would be summertime around December, January, or February. The extremely high temperatures can be unbearable, will require drinking plenty of water to stop dehydration, and there is very little shade.
What else can you see nearby Uluru?
If you’re planning to see more in central Australia and maybe flying into Alice Springs, there are a few places you should add to your list.
- Palm Valley
- Kings Canyon ( personally my favourite Hikes in Australia)
- Ormiston Gorge – rock formation, hike, and swimming location
- Glen Helen Gorge – Rock formation and more swimming
- Standley Chasm
- Simpson Gap
- Ochre Pits (Coloured rocks once used for aboriginal painting)
- West MacDonnell Ranges
Is Uluru worth visiting (Ayers Rock) – Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the closest town to Uluru?
Yulara village is the closest town to Uluru, with the sole purpose of servicing Uluru visitors. This includes a fuel station, accommodation choices, a general store, and camping grounds. Please note that Yulara is about 30 minutes’ drive away from Uluru, and you need to allocate travelling time when researching your travel plans.
How many days should you spend in Uluru?
From my personal experience, I think 3 days/4 nights is the minimum amount of time you should spend in Uluru or Yulara Village. I base this figure on the minimum National parks pass you can purchase, plus all the things available to do there. This also doesn’t include the travel days from wherever you’re coming from.
If you choose to visit for one or two days, you would still need to purchase a three-day pass to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Additionally, while you can see Uluru in that time, it will be rushed and missing certain aspects that make it unique.
Why do tourists like Uluru?
When it comes to enjoying an untouched natural environment, it’s clear why tourists like visiting Uluru. The colours are more prominent in the Outback, the sounds more defining, unusual wildlife, and exciting culture. This makes for a brilliant holiday location and is why tourists like to visit.
Are flies a problem at Uluru?
Yes, flies are a big issue or problem in Uluru, but you can contain them by wearing a fly net with a wide-brim hat. Also, ensure any food you consume is inside a vehicle or your accommodation. Finally, anywhere with air-conditioning is a great start to escaping the flies!
Does Uluru get cold at night?
Depending on the weather and time of year, yes, it can get cold at night in Uluru. It’s best to carry layers at any time of year, especially in the winter. Temperatures will drop drastically and even to 0 degrees Celsius between June to August.
How long is the drive from Alice Springs to Uluru?
It can take anything from 4.5 to 5.5 hours to drive from Alice Springs to Uluru, including a couple of stops along the way. While Uluru is the main subject for our blog today, starting your trip in Alice Springs can be more cost efficient.
Not only that but more convenient and allows you to see other excellent sites along the way. The roads are all sealed but not fenced, and you do have to look out for kangaroos and cattle.
Is Uluru taller than the Eiffel Tower?
Uluru rises 348 metres above sea level! The Eiffel Tower is 300 metres high; therefore, Uluru is taller than the Eiffel Tower.
How far is Uluru from the airport?
The Ayer Rock / Uluru Airport is 10 minutes north of the small village of Yulara; this is where your accommodation, fuel, and supplies are. It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Yulara village (south) to get to Uluru. Another 40 minutes from Uluru to get to Kata Tjuta (in the west).
When planning your holiday in this location, you must account for the travelling time and ensure you get the most out of your time there.
Can you walk around Uluru on your own?
While it’s safe to walk around Uluru on your own, it’s always better with someone else for many reasons. This includes wildlife bites, sunburn, dehydration, and minor injuries.
Read More Articles:
Wrap-up – Is Ayers Rock / Uluru worth visiting?
So for the type of person in your situation, Is Uluru worth visiting?
Thanks for reading this blog post today, and I hope I have answered this burning question for you and helped you make an informed decision. However, If you’re still researching, please uncover more Northern Territory information HERE for planning and inspiration.
“This website provides general information based on my (Chris Fry, Aquarius Traveller’s) personal experiences. Use of any information on this website is at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from its use. For more information, please refer to my Terms and Conditions Here.“