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Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park

tourist information centre yulara

  • 1.1 History
  • 1.2 Landscape
  • 1.3 Flora and fauna
  • 1.4 Climate
  • 3.2 By tour
  • 3.4 By plane
  • 3.5 By bicycle
  • 4 Fees and permits
  • 5 Get around
  • 6.1 Night sky
  • 7.2 Kata Tjuta
  • 7.3 Photography
  • 7.4 Flying over the park
  • 12 Stay safe

Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park is a park in the Northern Territory of Australia , part of the so-called Red Centre of the continent. The national park is a UNESCO World Heritage area and is best known for Uluṟu (also known as Ayers Rock ), a single massive rock formation, and also for Kata Tjuṯa (also known as "The Olgas"), a range of rock domes.

Yulara is the only service village nearby, built to offer supplies and accommodation for visitors to the park.

Understand [ edit ]

tourist information centre yulara

Visitors should understand that there are three locations that they need to be familiar with when visiting. Firstly, the airport – that is known as Ayers Rock airport. Secondly, the national park – that contains both the Rock (Uluṟu) and Kata Tjuṯa (The Olgas). The park closes at night, and has few services and no accommodation or camping. Thirdly, Yulara that is the resort town that contains all the services for the area. The three locations are all distinct, and you need to consider how you will travel between them.

Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa are considered sacred places by the local Aboriginal people. The land is owned by the indigenous Anangu people, leased by the government and jointly managed by the Anangu and the Australian parks and management services. Visitors will notice efforts throughout the area to include and encourage respect for the Anangu perspective on the land.

Much of Kata Tjuṯa is off-limits, and climbing Uluṟu is also illegal. A few areas around the base of Uluru are also off-limits for photography, although there is no problem with it throughout most of the park. In practice, however, the daily management of the parks is handled by members of the Australian parks department.

History [ edit ]

The Anangu people have connected to the area for thousands of years. Some records suggest they may have been there for more than 10,000 years. On an expedition in 1872, the explorer Ernest Giles saw the rock formation from a considerable distance, although he did not reach the base. Giles described it as "the remarkable pebble". In 1873, the surveyor William Gosse followed his footsteps and reached the rock. He chose to name it in honour of the Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. Giles himself chose to name the domes nearby for Olga, the Queen of Württemberg.

The names Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa come from the local Pitjantjatjara language and respectively mean "Earth Mother" and "Many Heads". In the Pitjantjatjara language they are written as Ulu r u and Kata Tju t a , the letters with macrons indicating that they are pronounced with the tongue curled upwards and touching the upper part of the palate instead of the front part or the teeth.

Eventually, the Australian government moved to a dual-naming policy – initially "Ayers Rock / Uluru", and then "Uluru / Ayers Rock". "Uluru" is now the common-usage name amongst all but the elderly. Official material tends to begin with the dual-named "Uluru / Ayers Rock" and later use simply "Uluru".

Landscape [ edit ]

Uluṟu is one of Australia's best known natural features, the long domed rock having achieved iconic status as one of the symbols of the continent. The rock is a so-called monolith, i.e. a single piece of rock or a giant boulder, extending about 5 km beneath the desert plain and measuring 3.6 by 2.4 km at the surface. It rises 348 metres above the plain (862.5 metres above sea level) and has a circumference of 9.4 km. Some say that Uluru is the biggest of its kind, others say that Mount Augustus in Western Australia is bigger. Whatever the case may be, standing in front of Uluru and seeing its massive bulk rise above the flat plain surrounding it, it is nothing less than impressive. The rock undergoes dramatic colour changes with its normally terracotta hue gradually changing to blue or violet at sunset to flaming red in the mornings as the sunrises behind it.

But the rock also extends some 2.4 km (1.5 mi) underground. The Anangu believe this space is actually hollow but it contains an energy source and marks the spot where their dreamtime began. They also believe that the area around Uluru is the home of their ancestors and is inhabited by many ancestral beings.

Kata Tjuṯa is a collection of 36 variously-sized rock domes 36 km (22 mi) to the west of Uluru. Some geologists believe that it once may have been a monolith far surpassing Uluru in size, but that it eroded to several separate bulks of rock.

Flora and fauna [ edit ]

The park protects hundreds of plant species, 24 native mammal species and 72 reptile species. To protect these, off-road access away from Uluru and Kata Tjuta is not allowed.

Climate [ edit ]

In December and January, the temperature can be blistering hot with temperatures exceeding 45 °C, and occasionally tipping over 50, and some areas may be closed for travellers' safety. July and August can see minimum overnight temperatures drop to as low as minus 10°, with day time maximums occasionally only reaching as high as 15°. April and September offer a more temperate climate, although still warm enough to work up a sweat at mid-day.

Talk [ edit ]

Pitjantjatjara is the native language of the local Aboriginal people who own the land, but most people speak English as well.

Get in [ edit ]

tourist information centre yulara

By car [ edit ]

tourist information centre yulara

  • From the north , in Alice Springs take the Stuart Highway (A87) South for about 200 km to Erldunda Roadhouse. Turn right onto the Lasseter Highway and 245 km further on you arrive at Yulara ). It's a tarmac road - a bit of a sloping surface in places, but you can easily drive along at 120 km/h (75 mph). Far more cars on the road than you would imagine, and every driver waves hello to you (that's what you get in these far off places!) Plenty of places to stop and picnic and get water, although no toilets unless you stop at an official roadhouse (few and far between). There's lots of wildlife to see too: camels, cows, dingos and birds.

Cars can also be rented in Alice Springs. It is a 450-km drive to the resort from Alice, and should take between 4 and 5 hours. There are fuel stations along the Stuart Highway (A87) and the Lasseter Highway (A4). Be sure to top off your tank when you can. In addition, if you have an early flight from Alice Springs and plan to drive back in the morning, be sure to top off the day before, as fuel in Yulara is not open 24 hours - and they won't be open if you leave pre-dawn. Probably best to wait if you're not in a hurry.

  • To the south the nearest town is Marla . Take the Stuart Highway north to Erldunda, 350 km (220 mi) away.
  • From the west the Docker River Road ends near Kata Tjuta. As this road is considered part of the Gunbarrel Highway , you will find detailed information in that article.

Driving at night can be dangerous because of animals on the road, particularly kangaroos and cows (Lasseter Highway goes through cattle station land and is not fenced in all the way). Rental car agreements often prevent doing this drive outside daylight hours, mostly for your own safety.

By tour [ edit ]

A number of tour companies based in Alice Springs visit Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Note that the majority of the companies listed below are not based in Alice Springs but are re-sellers of the local operators. You may find it cheaper to visit Alice Springs and book a tour directly with a local operator. Tours range from basic 1-day bus tours (beware, this means at least 1,000 km of driving in 1 day) up to 5 days long, also often visiting Kings Canyon and the MacDonnell ranges on the way.

  • Travelwild Ayers Rock Tours , ☏ +61 8 88434158 , [email protected] . Small group 4WD tours for backpackers and active people, 3 and 5 day 4WD camping tours  
  • AAT Kings Tours , ☏ 1300 228546 (local rate), +61 2 9028 5182 , [email protected] . Wide variety of tour options in and around the Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park  
  • Emu Run Tours , ☏ +61 8 8953 7057 , [email protected] .  
  • Lost In Australia , ☏ +61 8 6102 0776 , [email protected] . Adventure, small groups, 4WD safaris, locally owned and operated.  
  • The Rock Tour , [email protected] . One of the most popular tours chosen by the backpackers will be the 3D/2N camping tour departing from Alice Springs. $330 for 3D/2N camping + $25 for park fees .  

Tour companies also provide longer tours from many of Australia's capital cities including Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.

  • Longhorn YOUnique Tours , ☏ +61 418 328 397 , [email protected] . Eco-certified small group and private tours depart from Melbourne traveling to outback NT. SA family-owned and -operated.  
  • Wayoutback Australian Safaris , 30 Kidman St, Alice Springs , ☏ +61 8 8300 4900 , [email protected] . Wayoutback is offers two styles of tours to Uluru -budget adventure, backpacker style trips and more comfortable 4WD style tours with permanent tents. Their 1 day / 1 night tour only visits Uluru, and the other longer trips branch out to explore other highlights in the Red Centre. ( updated Nov 2019 )

By bus [ edit ]

  • Uluru Hop On Hop Off , 118 Kali Ccrt, Yulara , ☏ +61 8 89562019 , [email protected] . Bus transfers between Yulara, Uluṟu, and Kata Tjuṯa, single trips are Uluṟu return at $49 adult/$15 child and Kata Tjuṯa return $95 adult/$40 child, single and multi-day unlimited trips to Uluṟu passes are available with a limited number of trips to Kata Tjuṯa.  

By plane [ edit ]

The airport in Alice Springs is served by more destinations, but it is well over 5 hours drive from to Yulara . Unlimited mileage rental cars are not common in Alice Springs if you arrive and rent a car on the spot from the majors. Travel agents and the government tourist office do have access to unlimited mileage rates.

Flights from Alice Springs cost around $120 upwards with Qantas.

By bicycle [ edit ]

The road from the Stuart Highway makes for a pleasant & relatively easy cycle tour, undertaken each year by dozens of travellers. Bicycle travellers need to be well prepared in terms of mechanical reliability, water & food, and will need to "bush camp" several nights at least.

Fees and permits [ edit ]

You must purchase a pass to enter the park. As of 2022, passes cost:

  • Northern Territory residents annual: $109 / vehicle
  • Non-residents 3 days: $38 18 year old+ / free under 18
  • Non-residents annual: $50 18 year old+ / free under 18

Some tours include the fee, ask your booking agent.

You can also purchase the pass at the entrance to the park, but if taking tours, book online as the tour operators will want to check the pass when boarding the bus and not stop at the gate.

3 day passes can be extended for an additional 2 days at the entrance to the park only.

Get around [ edit ]


The big rocks are actually a little distance from Yulara , where the accommodation and facilities are. If you are not with a tour, or didn't bring your car, you will need to decide how best to get to these locations. Rental cars can be expensive, and have limited kilometres; however shuttles to and from the rock are also expensive, so do the maths and see what works best for you.

  • Cars can be rented nearby at Ayers Rock/Connellan Airport or at Yulara . The roads around Uluru and Kata Tjuta are all sealed/paved and well-maintained so you don't require a 4WD. Vehicles drive on the left, but there isn't much in the way of traffic in the area - people accustomed to driving on the right can probably manage it. Be aware of additional charges that may apply including premium location or one way surcharge. Also ensure you book early so you are not disappointed.
  • AAT Kings , ☏ +61 3 9915 1500 , fax : +61 3 9820 4088 , [email protected] . AAT Kings operate bus sightseeing tours of the park, including sunrise over Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Tours range from $40 to $150.  
  • Ayers Rock Tours . Many of the longer tours of the Ayers Rock Region depart and return to Alice Springs. Some will pick up at Ayers Rock but do not drop back at Ayers Rock. If you are wanting to do a 3-day or 5-day tour and experience the entire region it is best to start and finish in Alice Springs.
  • Uluru Express offers unlimited access to the Park from your choice of hotel at Yulara for 2-days or 3-days at a cost of $155 or $170, respectively. This cost does not include admission to the park. This is a great deal for those who wish to see all the attractions in the park at their own pace. Other trips are available.

See [ edit ]

  • -25.359372 131.017193 3 The Cultural Centre ( Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa Cultural Centre ), Uluru Rd, Uluru , ☏ +61 8 8956 1128 . 10AM–4PM . Built in 1995 to mark the 10th anniversary of Handover (the process by which land was given back to the traditional owners, and Ayers Rock became Uluru). It's worth a visit before walking around Uluru as it hosts a multitude of Aboriginal creation stories and extensive articles about the history of the Pitjantjara. There are shops where you can buy local art and souvenirs. It's also a good place for a rest after trekking around Uluru. ( updated Dec 2021 )

Night sky [ edit ]

tourist information centre yulara

  • Uluru Astro Tours , ☏ +61 439 337 675 , [email protected] . Hotel pickup around 8pm depending on weather and moonrise . $99 adults, $60 children .  

Do [ edit ]

Uluru [ edit ].

  • The Uluru base walk (9.8 km) will take 3–4 hours. Most people walk clockwise on the track but a few kilometres along this track the crowds thin out to just an occasional walker.
  • The Mala Walk (2 km) This track begins at the Mala Walk car-park and ends at the inspiring Kantju Gorge.
  • The Liru Walk is a walk between the cultural centre and the base of Uluru. Its 4 km and takes about 1 and a half hours.
  • The Kuniya Walk is an easy 1 km walk to the Mutitjulu Waterhole on the Southern side of Uluru. There is some rock art here also in the rock shelter, and a good place to learn about the Tjukurpa (pronounced Chook-a-pa) of the area.
  • Some tour operators, eg AAT Kings, offer a "Cultural Walk tour" which incorporates the Mala and Kuniya walks.
  • -25.3593 131.0172 1 Outback Cycling: Uluru Bike Ride , Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre, Uluru Road , ☏ +61 8 8952 1541 , [email protected] . Ride a bike around the standard Uluru walk; 14km including the distance from the cultural centre; sometimes an easier way for younger families to complete the base track. The ride is independent rather than guided; but the walking track is very clear. Make sure to book the transfer option if you don't have your own transport from Yulara. $60/adult, $45/child, $35/tag-a-long, $30 child seat .  
  • -25.3521 131.031 2 Uluru Segway Tours , Kuniya Carpark, Uluru , ☏ +61 8 8956 3043 , [email protected] . Complete the base walk riding a Segway device; guided tours. Make sure to book transfer option if you don't have your own transport from Yulara. From $149/self drive .  
  • Uluru Camel Tours , ☏ +61 8 8956 3333 , [email protected] . Another wonderful experience. You are taken from the resort to the camel farm where you are instructed on what you need to do. The owner is very friendly. The camel trek is through surrounding desert, giving good views all around with a talk on camel history and the area, before reaching a viewing point to watch the sun rising or setting on Uluru. The camels are well cared for animals, not at all smelly, and all very well behaved. At the camel farm there is home made beer bread with wattle seed dip, camel meat, bush fruits and a variety of drinks. There is also the opportunity to purchase from the gift shop. $80 express tours, $135 sunrise and sunset, hotel transfers included .  

Kata Tjuta [ edit ]

  • The Walpa Gorge walk (2.6 km) is the shorter - and easier - of the two walks around Kata Tjuta.
  • The Valley of the Winds walk (7.4 km) at Kata Tjuta is truly magnificent and should not be missed. The walk consists of a single path to the first lookout point. From this point, the walk enters further into Kata Tjuta, where a loop trail brings you to the second lookout point. The counter-clockwise (left-round) direction is recommended. The complete walk (to both lookouts) takes about 3 hours, and carrying bottled water is advised, although there are two water stations along the route. The walk beyond the first lookout may be closed during extreme weather. As with the Uluru climb, a sign at the park entrance will advise visitors whether the walk to the second lookout is open. This walk is best during the early morning hours, before the large crowds arrive, permitting you to see more wildlife. The walk beyond the first lookout will be closed at 11AM if the forecast high temperature is above 36 degrees C, which is very common in summer. The walk is also over rocky and hilly terrain. Therefore, good hiking shoes are not only recommended, but should be required.
  • The Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing Area is a short walk off the road to Kata Tjuta. It gives you a great view to Kata Tjuta, and as the name suggests its located on the top of a sand dune. It also gives a good view of Uluru from a distance. 600 m and allow at least 30 minutes.

Photography [ edit ]

tourist information centre yulara

Both Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa are extremely popular photography subjects and the park provides a general guide to photography. You might also look out for the rare ability to photograph rain in the park, and the possibility of astrophotography given the excellent view of the Milky Way and the lack of light pollution.

Before photographing Uluṟu close up, review the sensitive cultural sites that the Anangu people ask not be photographed. These are marked on the base walk prominently with signs asking that you not take photographs starting from the sign. These are also shown in the photography guide above. The entire north-east face, which is the side visible from the airport and Yulara, should only be photographed from a distance.

Commercial photography requires a permit and drone photography is forbidden.

Flying over the park [ edit ]

Two operators provide sightseeing flights over the park, both short flights over Uluṟu and longer flights taking in one or more of Kata Tjuṯa, Lake Amadeus, and Kings Canyon.

  • Professional Helicopter Services ( PHS ), Yulara Visitor Centre , ☏ +61 8 8956 2003 , fax : +61 8 8956 2788 , [email protected] . From $160 for short flights .  
  • Fly Uluru , Yulara Visitor Centre , ☏ +61 8 8956 2077 , [email protected] . Both helicopter and plane sightseeing offered. From $120 for short flights .  

Buy [ edit ]

Souvenirs are available at the Cultural Centre or at several shops in Yulara. They range from standard shirts, caps and knick-knacks to authentic (and, accordingly, expensive) Anangu art. Food, drinks and photographic equipment are available in Yulara.

Eat [ edit ]

  • -25.359535 131.017512 1 Ininti Cafe , Uluru Rd, Petermann , ☏ +61 8 8956 2214 . 10AM–4PM . Near the Cultural Centre offers surprisingly good - and often vegetarian-friendly - fast food for reasonable prices. Sells pies, pastries, cakes, snacks, and hot and cold drinks. ( updated Jan 2022 )
  • The Sounds of Silence Dinner is an extremely popular - albeit expensive ($159 per adult) - night under the stars. Advance bookings (e.g. 3–4 days) are essential even in low seasons. Coaches take diners from Yulara to one of a few dining areas out in the desert. Champagne (or beer, upon request) are served while the sun goes down over Uluru and the inevitable didgeridoo plays. The clean, elegant dining area is lit by table lamps. The food is served buffet-style, but it's cooked with the attention of a gourmet chef (considering the circumstances). Between the main course and dessert, a star talker guides you through the stars that are out that night, and telescopes are available afterward. There is also a camp fire in the winter. Reservations can be made at travel agents or the various tour offices around Yulara. Ostensibly, reservations can be made over the internet as well, but it's a good idea to follow-up by phone, as coordination between the resort offices and the tour company is spotty at best.
  • Desert Awakenings , occasionally available, is a breakfast version of the aforementioned Sounds of Silence . It includes a guided tour around the base of Uluru and ends at the Cultural Centre.

Drink [ edit ]

Water! And lots of it. No alcohol is sold outside of Yulara , and tribal elders have asked visitors not to sell or give alcohol to the indigenous people.

Sleep [ edit ]

There is no accommodation inside the park, and no camping is permitted within the park boundaries. The park closes overnight.

Accommodation from camping to 5-star hotels is available in at the resort village of Yulara , just outside the park boundary. See that article for details.

About an hour short of Yulara (coming from Alice Springs) is Curtin Springs Station , which offers free unpowered camping, and $25 per night for powered sites. They charge $2.50 for a shower. You can "bush camp", but it's not recommended.

If you are interested in Aboriginal culture, consider staying at Mt Ebenezer. It's 200 km away, so you won't see the sunrise at Uluru, but it's good for a night's stop if you are late getting away from Alice or Uluru. Whilst the accommodation is relatively basic, it is one of only a few Aboriginal-owned roadhouses in the Territory. Go out the back and you will see an art room for members of the local Imampa Community, and you can buy art directly from the artists. Don't be put off by not being served by an Aboriginal person, this is due to their culture, but rest assured it is owned by the local community.

Stay safe [ edit ]

Unless you're well-equipped with an appropriate vehicle, supplies and maps, stay on the marked roads. Keep an eye on your fuel supply before you set off anywhere.

Keep plenty of water with you at all times while you're hiking. Whether or not you're thirsty, stop for a drink at least once an hour. The temperatures can be extreme during the summer (particularly December to January). Wear a hat and don't be shy with the sunscreen. Expect to be annoyed by flies, particularly on some stretches of the Valley of the Winds walk.

Wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes. Some of the terrain you may be traversing will be steep and covered with loose stones. Thongs, flip-flops, boat-shoes, and loafers are not recommended for the Uluru Climb, the Valley of the Winds walk, nor the Gorge walk. Runners (sneakers) are acceptable.

Go next [ edit ]

Curtin Springs Station makes a good base for a trip to King's Canyon in Watarrka National Park, a similarly magnificent geological wonder. Make sure you fuel up in Yulara until Alice Springs when going that way, as fuel prices on the way are unbearable!

tourist information centre yulara

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  • Ulu r u-Kata Tju t a National Park
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Cultural centre.

Start your trip at the Cultural Centre to support the local community and deepen your understanding of Ulu r u-Kata Tju t a National Park.

Here you can learn about A n angu culture and the park’s natural environment through exhibits and free presentations with A n angu and park rangers.

There are also displays, a visitor information desk, Aboriginal art galleries and several community-owned shops and facilities.

Visitors should allow at least two hours to fully explore and appreciate the Cultural Centre.

Ka nyangatja mulapa wa l i nganampa – A n angu ma r u tju t aku, A n angu uwankaraku (This building truly represents us A n angu people, it is for all people to visit.)

Discover the Cultural Centre

Cultural centre wide, credit tourism nt.

The building

The Cultural Centre is a free-form structure built from locally made mud bricks. Its award-winning design was a collaboration between A n angu, park staff and architects.

Sand symbols, credit tourism australia.

Tjukurpa Tunnel

Entering the Tjukurpa Tunnel transports you back to the beginning of time. Explore the foundations of A n angu culture and the important creation stories of Ulu r u.

Maruku dot painting workshop, credit tourism nt.

The Cultural Centre is home to two Aboriginal-owned galleries showcasing the best of A n angu art and crafts – Ma r uku Arts and Walkatjara Art.

Ininti cafe.

Ininti Cafe & Souvenirs

Ininti serves up tasty food and great coffee. It's also the place to pick up a souvenir or two to remember your adventures in the park and help the local community.

Information desk and displays

Pick up a visitor guide at the information desk and find out more about Ulu r u by chatting to our rangers.

The multilingual displays in the Nintiringkupai Information Room cover oral histories, Pitjantjatjara language , joint management activities , traditional burning and information about the park’s plants and animals . You’ll also learn about our natural environment and how Ulu r u was formed.

The Cultural Centre, the Nintiringkupai Information Room and the Tjukurpa Tunnel are open from 7 am – 5.45 pm every day.

You can get in touch by phoning  08 8956 1128 .

Mala poo paper

For a one-of-a-kind memento, take home some mala poo paper!

The paper is made from droppings collected in our mala paddock, an enclosure that helps protect these threatened marsupials .

You can contribute to mala conservation by making a donation at the info desk in exchange for this very unusual paper.

Picnic area

The picnic area at the Cultural Centre

Bicycle hire

Outback Cycling rents out bicycles from their shop just outside the Cultural Centre. Grab a bike and explore the base of Ulu r u on two wheels.

How to find us

The Cultural Centre is on the main road to Ulu r u, 10–15 minutes drive from the park entry station.

We are open from 7 am – 5:45 pm every day.

Explore the Cultural Centre

The building

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7 Best Things to Do at Ayers Rock, Australia

tourist information centre yulara

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

Ayers Rock – or Uluru, as it’s known to the Aboriginal owners of the land – is one of  Australia’s most iconic landmarks. Found in the middle of the red sandy outback in the Northern Territory, Uluru / Ayers Rock is sacred to the Aboriginal people. It is said that the Red Centre , the area around Alice Springs where you'll encounter Uluru, is the spiritual epicenter of Australia.

In 1993, a policy was adopted that allowed official names that consist of both the traditional Aboriginal name and the English name. So in 1993, the rock was renamed Ayers Rock / Uluru and the order of the dual names was officially reversed to Uluru / Ayers Rock in 2002.

Uluru / Ayer’s Rock is more than just a big boulder and it should be on your Australia travel must-see list. There are many things to do while you are there from hiking around the rock to learning about Aboriginal culture.

There are unique places to stay in this special place that seem to blend into the dunes and rock formations. At  Ayers Rock Resort , you’ll experience the sacred rock and all its wonder through some of their resort-based experiences and tours.

Sails in the Desert  has an emphasis on Indigenous culture. Yet, the hotel has resort amenities with an expansive gumtree lined swimming pool and modern  dining, bar and lounge  options where you can enjoy cocktails, music, and Indigenous-inspired cuisine. Sails in the Desert's Mulgara Gallery  features Indigenous art and culture. And after a day of hiking in the red rock desert, you can enjoy one of the  Red Ochre Spa's  treatments.

The most unique hotel in the resort area is Longitude 131° with 15 glamping tents complete with king-sized beds that face Uluru / Ayer’s Rock for an amazing view of the sunrise over the sacred red rock.

Admire the Rock's Sheer Size

When you see Uluru / Ayer’s Rock in pictures, it’s hard to imagine the sheer size of this natural phenomenon. As one of the largest monoliths in the world, Uluru / Ayer’s Rock towers over you at over 300 meters (or around 1,000 feet) high and 2 kilometers, (or over 1.2 miles), wide.

This sandstone rock dates back about 500 million years, to around the same time the Australian continent was formed. The name Ayers Rock was chosen by Ernest Giles, an Anglo-Australian explorer who named it after the South Australian Premier at the time, Sir Henry Ayers. However, Uluru is the traditional and cultural domain of the Anangu people who certainly pre-dated the arrival of Giles.

Walk, Hike, or Ride Around the Rock

Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images

Uluru / Ayer’s Rock is even more impressive up close; its seemingly smooth surface is covered in divets, scars, and caves. While it’s considered incredibly disrespectful to the Anangu people to climb Uluru / Ayer’s Rock — and climbing the landmark is now prohibited — it’s highly recommended that you take the time to explore around it. Walking around the rock is a 9-kilometer, or close to 6-mile, round-trip so remember to wear good walking shoes and pack a bottle of water.

Take a Camel Tour

John White Photos / Getty Images

The outback has plenty of secrets hiding in its endless red sand, from some of the most diverse wildlife in the world to hidden rock formations and oases. The best way to explore the outback is from the back of a camel, as they are perfectly suited to the hot, dry conditions.  Uluru Camel Tours  offer daily tours including sunrise tours, day trips, and sunset rides around Uluru / Ayer’s Rock and the Olgas, a group of large, domed rock formations.

Experience Aboriginal Culture

The Anangu people are the original inhabitants of Alice Springs, and as a result, they have endless knowledge of the area. Whether you’re interested in bush tucker (native food), traditional Aboriginal artwork, or simply understanding the spiritual and historical connection that the Anangu people have to Uluru / Ayer’s Rock, there’s a tour that can give you an even deeper appreciation of this incredible part of Australian culture.

Whether you’re staying at the  Ayers Rock Resort  or any number of other accommodation options, you’ll likely have access to some free Aboriginal displays, such as dancing, boomerang throwing, traditional dot painting, or bush tucker tours. You may find yourself joining in and learning to do things like throwing a boomerang.

Go Stargazing

simonbradfield / Getty Images

Being situated in the middle of the desert has its advantages—namely the lack of artificial light pollution, giving you an unbelievable view of the stars. You can choose to do your own stargazing or, if you prefer having someone else point out the formations, the  Ayers Rock Resort offers a stargazing tour .

Dine Al Fresco

The Sounds of Silence, run by the  Ayers Rock Resort , offers an unforgettable fine dining experience at the Red Centre. Watch the sunset over Uluru / Ayer’s Rock while enjoying gourmet canapés and sparkling wine, then dine under the breath-taking night sky as you enjoy a bush tucker-themed buffet, complete with crocodile, kangaroo, and barramundi. As the sky darkens you'll listen to their resident star talker decode the southern night sky and a didgeridoo performance.

Take to the Skies

Seeing Uluru / Ayer’s Rock from the air is a sure way to fully understand just how mind-blowingly big it is, and the best way to appreciate the vastness of the Aussie outback.  Professional Helicopter Services  offer scenic flights over Uluru / Ayer’s Rock, the Olgas, and other incredible landmarks. Their helicopters are specially designed to ensure you get the best possible view, so you’re guaranteed to take home some life-long memories.

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Top 24 things to do and attractions in Yulara

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1 Skydive Uluru

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2 Sounds of Silence

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3 Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park

4 field of light uluru, 5 gallery of central australia.

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6 Ayers Rock Resort

7 yulara visitor centre, 8 thrifty car rental ayers rock airport, 9 muṯitjulu waterhole, 10 uluru astro tours, 11 red ochre spa, 12 desert gardens hotel - ayers rock resort, 13 outback hotel & lodge, 14 sails in the desert, 15 ayers rock campground.

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17 wintjiri wiru, 18 red centre way information board, 19 gallery of central australia, 20 red desert reptiles, 21 pioneer lookout, 22 arkani theatre, 23 talinguṟu nyakunytjaku - uluṟu sunrise viewing area, 24 kata tjuṯa dunes viewing area, popular road trips from yulara, what's the weather like in yulara.

It depends on when you visit! We've compiled data from NASA on what the weather is like in Yulara for each month of the year: see the links below for more information.

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Explore nearby places

  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
  • Kings Canyon
  • Haasts Bluff
  • Hermannsburg
  • Alice Springs
  • Witjira National Park
  • Barrow Creek
  • Coober Pedy
  • William Creek
  • Tennant Creek
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  • Roxby Downs
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Yulara throughout the year

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Popular news, best bakeries in northern territory, the best hunting locations in northern territory, top fishing spots in northern territory, best dirt bike tracks in northern territory, uluru ayers rock – tourist information centre – visitors centre.

Ayers Rock is Australia’s most iconic tourist attraction and this travel guide contains all the information you will need to organise your visit to see it. Ayers Rock is part of the Aboriginal legend and dreamtime and is an important part of Aboriginal culture. There are many tours available that will help you to experience the special beauty and attraction that this place holds. Walking tours that circumnavigate the rock and led by an Aboriginal guide, are the best way to both see and learn about the rock. You will see ancient cave paintings and learn about their place in Aboriginal history. The rock itself is a spectacular monolith rising high above and in stark contrast to the flat, surrounding desert plains. All accommodation for visitors to the region is at Ayres Rock resort , situated nearby at Yulara. All levels of Ayers Rock accommodation are catered for so it dosn’t matter if you fly in direct, come by car or motorhome or you arrive as part of an organised tour, you will find a great place to stay. This Ayers Rock travel guide is designed to make your visit a great success.

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Why You Need 3 Days to Experience Ulu r u & Kata Tju t a

Ulu r u and Kata Tju t a are incredible sandstone rocks that have eroded over millions of years (approximately 500-600 million)!. If this doesn't convince you of their significance and magnitude, a visit to the national park will!

We recommend three days to explore, marvel at the unearthly vastness of Ulu r u and Kata Tju t a, and take in the magic and otherworldly grandeur of Ulu r u Kata Tju t a National Park!

Here’s our 3 day itinerary:

Ulu r u Sunrise

Ulu r u is known around the world for their breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. The rock formation changes colour before your eyes as the sun plays with the landscape. The immensity of the half-lit desert landscape, the gently swaying grasses, and the fascinating, ever-changing rock texture provide an unparalleled spectacle.

Field of Light sunrise

Field of Light at Sunrise

Ulu r u Walks

Ulu r u is home to the Ana n gu Aboriginal people. They believe the park's remarkable geological formations were produced by ancestral beings who have roamed around the landscape since time immemorial, according to Tjukurpa (creation stories).

The walk around the base of Ulu r u is a great way to learn about the local flora and wildlife, as well as the monolith's unique traits. Our recommendation is to start this straight after sunrise to avoid walking in the hottest part of the day. The Mala Walk, Mala to Ka n tju Gorge Walk, and Lungkata Walk are smaller sections of the full base walk if the full option isn't suitable to you. For a guided tour, the Mala Walk has a free ranger-guided walk available every morning.

Ulu r u Arts and Culture

Maruku Arts and Walkatjara Art are two galleries in the Cultural Centre of the National Park exhibiting Ana n gu art and crafts. Maruku Arts boasts an award-winning collection of art that includes woven baskets, Punu (woodwork), and traditional paintings on canvas, as well as demonstrations by local artists.

At Walkatjara, Muti t julu painters make bright paintings depicting indigenous Tjukurpa legends. Walkatjara Art  is open to park visitors who want to view the artists at work, learn about Ana n gu culture, and learn about the tales behind the paintings.

Guided Mala Walk

Free Ranger-guided Mala Walk

Walkatjara Arts Gallery

Walkatjara Art Gallery

Activities at Ulu r u

Walking is not the only way to discover Ulu r u Kata Tju t a National Park. Take a sunrise or sunset camel tour or a helicopter tour to see the icons from above – or, for the most daring, a tandem skydive! 

For a brief 30-minute trip or the ultimate sunset tour, hop on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle or a three-wheel trike. Take a Segway tour or rent a bike and cycle around the monolith at your leisure.

If you don't have your own transportation (or aren't hiring a car), you have a couple options to access the national park. Your can use the Uluru Hop on Hop off bus service or jump on one of many tours available that guide you around the national park sights with commentary giving you all the important and interesting information about local culture.

Activities in Yulara

After an adventurous morning, head back to where you will be staying in Ayers Rock Resort to see some of the attractions in town. 

Spend the afternoon at the Gallery of Central Australia, experience some of the restaurants and bars , or attend the free guest activities on offer. Depending on the weather and your mood for a swim, most of the resorts accommodation have pools in them for you to use. 

Uluru Segways 3

Uluru Segway Tours

Uluru Cycling

Outback Cycling Uluru - bike hire

Field of Light and Sounds of Silence Dinner

A Night at Field of Light experience is complete with stunning sunset views of Ulu r u, a three-course bush tucker feast, a premium range of Australian wines and beers, interesting star talk, and a self-guided stroll through the Field of Light art installation. British artist Bruce Munro produced The Field of Light, a large-scale site-specific light-based installation. Slowly changing colour, the sculpture creates a shimmering field of light. 

At the Sounds of Silence dinner, you'll dine under the desert night's canopy while a storyteller tells you tales from the stars. Sounds of Silence, which has been inducted into the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame, distils the best of the Red Centre into four beautiful hours. You will have a fine evening of exceptional dining under the stars in the Australian outback.

The Field of Light  art installation and Sounds of Silence dinner are also available separately, if one or the other does not suit your interests.

A night at Field of Light

A Night at Field of Light

Kata Tju t a Walks

The Valley of the Winds Walk, and the Walpa Gorge Walk are two spectacular treks in Kata Tju t a. In Kata Tju t a, the Valley of the Winds Walk is a seven-kilometre loop that leads to two outstanding lookout sites. 

The Walpa Gorge Walk is a 2.6-kilometre stroll that features a good representation of the park's native wildlife and vegetation.

Picnic and Sunset

Spend your last afternoon taking in the scenery and enjoying the colours of the rock transform before your eyes. You could pack yourself a picnic, complete with bubbles and nibbles, and watch the sun set from the Sunset viewing area.

Walpa Gorge WAE Renae Saxby

Walpa Gorge

Kata Tjuta WAE Renae Saxby

Picnic watching the sunset

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Yulara, Northern Territory

Yulara is a tourist village established in the late 1970s alongside Ulu r u-Kata Tju t a National Park in Central Australia, more than 300 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs. The village has a supermarket, restaurants and cafes, all reliant on regular food deliveries by truck and aeroplane.

Across the arid plains of red sand and spinifex that extend beyond the village, the local Yankunytjatjara, Pitjantjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra people, known as A n angu, hunt animals and gather bush fruits and vegetables. Pastoralists raise beef cattle on vast stations.

Sunset at Yulara tourist village with Ulu r u rising in the distance, 2011. Photo: Richard Lu

Sunset at Yulara tourist village, with the massive stone mountain Uluru, or Ayers Rock, rising in the distance, July 2011

Lizard sculpture by Billy Wara

Billy Wara, an esteemed Pitjantjatjara custodian and artist, carved and decorated this red gum sculpture of a ngi nt aka, or perentie lizard, in the early 1980s.

Born in about 1920, Wara worked for decades in the pastoral industry, building fences, droving cattle, shearing sheep and digging wells. A talented carver of traditional hunting tools, he later used these skills to create wooden ngi nt aka sculptures. Wara used fencing wire to burn patterns into the wood.

Ngi n taka sculpture, carved from red gum timber by Billy Wara, early 1980s. National Museum of Australia

Ngintaka sculpture carved from red gum timber.

The perentie is muscular and beautifully spotted and, as Australia’s largest lizard, can grow more than 2.5 metres long. Wara was responsible for maintaining traditional stories and ceremonies about a ngi nt aka creation figure who stole a particularly fine-grained grinding stone, prized for the high quality flour it produced.

Perentie flesh is highly valued by A n angu because of its high fat content, a rare quality in desert game. A n angu in the Uluru region hunt the lizards and roast them on open fires.

Ngi n taka sculpture (detail), carved from red gum timber by Billy Wara, early 1980s. National Museum of Australia

Closeup of face of Ngintaka sculpture carved from red gum timber. - click to view larger image

Ngi n taka, or perentie, 2010. Photo: Christopher Watson, Wikimedia Commons

A grey-green lizard on rocky ground. - click to view larger image

Billy Wara digging out a river red gum root to carve a ngi n taka for sale, 2008. Maruku Arts

A photo of a man chopping a piece of tree wood with an axe. - click to view larger image

Tourism and art

Throughout the 1960s and into the 1980s, as the tourist industry made major inroads into the Uluru region, the sale of carvings and other artworks and artefacts gave traditional owners an independent source of income that helped them live and travel through their country.

In the early 1980s Billy Wara helped establish Maruku Arts at Ulu r u.

The largest Australian art centre owned by its Aboriginal artists, Maruku collects and sells artworks produced by about 900 Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra artists from communities across the south-east and western parts of Central Australia.

Revenue from the production of carvings and other artworks helped traditional owners to engage in political struggle for land rights that culminated in the return of Ulu r u and surrounding lands in 1985.

Traditional owners of Ulu r u presented this poster to Governor General Sir Ninian Stephen during the hand back ceremony at Uluru-Kata Tju<u>t</u>a National Park in 1985, by Chips Mackinolty, donated by Sir Ninian Stephen. National Museum of Australia

A limited first edition print poster similar in design to the black over red Aboriginal flag, but the sun in the centre has been replaced by a yellow silhouette of Uluru (Ayers Rock).

Billy Wara video

In the 1990s arid zone ecologist Jake Gillen worked alongside senior A n angu men and women at Ulu r u-Kata Tju t a National Park. Amidst sculptures acquired by the National Museum from Maruku Arts, Jake remembers Billy Wara and shares his understandings of food systems in the Uluru region.

Arid zone ecologist Jake Gillen remembers Pitjantjatjara custodian Billy Wara and shares his understandings of food systems in the Ulu r u region.

JOE GILLEN: Well, my role at Ulu r u was principally as an ecologist managing natural and cultural values of the park. A long time ago now, so from about 1994 through to 2000.

I worked in a joint management situation with senior A n angu, senior men and women, very much in a ngapartji ngapartji way, which means I learnt from them and they learnt from me.

So it was a respectful relationship that we had.

Billy Wara was a very tall, elegant, dignified man; very gentle, very quiet but a wonderful artist. And readily identifiable in the community because he used to walk with his very tall dog, papa wara papawarra, 'papa' meaning 'dog' and 'wara' meaning 'tall again'.

He was a senior law man and his main Tjukurpa , mythological story, related to the ngi nt aka or the perentie lizard ( Varanus giganteus ) , the top order carnivore in that landscape.

They’re quite a formidable beast. If you come across a perentie in the landscape, you want to look for a tree, I think. They can grow up to over six feet in length so they’re quite big, formidable creatures.

I made several field trips with Billy to the south-west corner of the territory where he collected timber for his carvings or I remember him collecting a flitch of wood from a mulga to make a miru, or a spear thrower.

It was wonderful seeing him working at it next to the fire. He was just a consummate craftsman. It was beautiful.

I worked with a number of senior Aboriginal men at Ulu r u burning — patch burning — the landscape.

We tried to reintroduce the traditional burning practice, breaking up the country into patches so that wild fire wouldn’t sweep through and destroy the landscape. There’d always be different patches in different stages of recovery, which meant a lot in terms of habitat requirements for particular species, food species in particular.

I worked with people like Norman Tjakalyiri Ngurjakaliri and Katakura Katacura who were very senior men and were artists in their use of fire. They really knew to how to burn in a very controlled sense.

Burning was not only important in breaking up the country in our context trying to prevent wild fire but also in the sense of propagating a range of edible species, plant species in particular.

For example, if a spinifex plain was burnt, a particular plant that would respond really well was desert raisin or kampu r arpa, ( Solanum centrale ) , a very sweet fruit — bush tomato some people call it.

But it also as a plant attracted a kipa r aor, a bush turkey ( Ardeotis australis ) , the bustard, which also has very good eating. So you could see a cycle. You burnt to produce food which would attract food in the landscape.

It also produced a number of grass species that were used to produce flour for a form of bread, a grass called wananung wangunu in Pitjantjara, or woolly butt ( Eragrostis eriopoda ) in our vernacular. That was readily collected by the women and yandied or winnowed and threshed and turned into flour.

So fire was very important in producing an array of food in the landscape.

If we’re talking about fire in the landscape, it’s important to really realise that we need an array of vegetation communities of different age. In other words, we talk about old growth forests even in the Centre. In the desert we need old growth mulga communities or even old growth spinifex communities for different species.

Different species require different vegetation communities of different age structures. For example, the mallee fowl, or nga n amara ( Leipoa ocellata ) as it was locally called, required unburnt patches of mallee over 40 years old. They were very important in the landscape.

If wild fires were to consume extensive areas of mallee destroying the old growth, we’d lose the habitat for the mallee fowl. In fact, while I was the ecologist at Ulu r u, Joe Benshemesh, a scientist from Victoria, rediscovered a mallee fowl population in the north-west corner of South Australia. I managed to take a number of senior men down to visit this discovery.

And Norman Tjakalyiri in particular who was very excited to be able to actually hold a mallee fowl egg, a ngampuin, in his hand and talk about how he used to eat these as a boy. So that was a very significant rediscovery of a species requiring a particular plant community of a particular age structure in the context of fire in the landscape.

Mulga communities are really important in an economic sense for local people. Mulga is the source of some of the best timber for cooking, some of the best timber for making digging sticks, a variety of artefacts.

But in a food sense, it’s the source of honey ants. Honey ant chambers would be located beneath mulga trees, and the women would spend hours digging out to almost a metre in depth, or greater, to get to the chambers of these honey ants.

They’d sweep out the honey ants using a little stick or they could use a spinifex leaf or a twig of mulga just to sweep the honey ants out into a piti; or a coolamon, a bowl, and collect them for eating.

The witchetty grub, or makuas the locals call it, has a very specific relationship with the particular plant species Acacia kempeana, or ilykuwara as it’s called in Pitjantjara. The grub itself lives within the roots of the ilykuwara . So the women would dig the roots out, extract the maku , and either eat it raw or it was very nice lightly roasted on hot coals. It tasted a bit like scrambled eggs on hot coals — very nice.

Tjilkamata Tjilkama t aor — the echidna ( Tachyglossus aculeatus ) — or the locals actually called it porcupine, was a highly prized item of food. Fatty deposits were highly sought after as a food.

Recorded at the National Museum of Australia in 2013

Tourism and tucker.

Tourists dine at Yulara restaurants and cafes each evening, and on daytrips into Ulu r u-Kata Tju t a National Park they encounter a variety of edible animals and plants. Guides and interpretive signs identify a number of these local ‘bush food’ species, and explain their significance.

Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara traditions of storytelling and art production consistently honour and celebrate the many desert species on which they have long relied for nourishment.

To learn more about the bush tucker of the Ulu r u region, visit Parks Australia .

Tourists order dinner at Yulara village, 2007. Photo: David Fisher, via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo of tourists queuing to order dinner at Yulara village, November 2007 - click to view larger image

Tourists reading interpretive signs at the base of Ulu r u, 2013. Photo: Claudio Larenas, via Flickr Creative Commons

A group of tourists stand at the base of Uluru reading signage. - click to view larger image

Bush tucker interpreted for tourists, Ulu r u-Kata Tju t a National Park, 2013. National Museum of Australia

Signboard on bush tucker for tourists with the text 'Mai Tjuta'. - click to view larger image

A painting of Ulu r u decorates this souvenir plate, about 1960, donated by Barbara Ross. National Museum of Australia

Painting of Uluru on a souvenir plate. - click to view larger image

Ulu r u souvenirs

The significance of Ulu r u as a tourist destination is reflected in the National Museum’s collection, which holds a range of souvenirs bought by tourists visiting the iconic destination.

Perhaps because of the isolation and aridity of the national park, some of the souvenirs celebrate the surprising diversity of bush foods that grow in the surrounding desert.

‘Ayers Rock honey’ souvenir T-shirt, with honey ant and honey plants artwork by Paul Worstead, manufactured for Jimmy Jones Souvenirs, Sydney, about 1985. National Museum of Australia

Depicted on the T-shirt is a brightly coloured landscape featuring native flowers and honey ant in foreground, Uluru / Ayers Rock in background and text above

‘Ayers Rock bread’ souvenir T-shirt, with artwork by Paul Worstead, manufactured for Jimmy Jones Souvenirs, Sydney, about 1985. National Museum of Australia

This shirt shows grains and seeds ground to make bread or edible paste (clockwise from bottom left) waka t i or inland pigweed, kunaka nt i or winter grass, wintalyka or mulga, ngalta or desert kurrajong, tju nt ala or colony wattle, tjampi or buttongrass.

Depicted on the T-shirt is a brightly coloured landscape featuring native plants and seeds in foreground, Uluru / Ayers Rock in background and text above

‘Ayers Rock fruit salad’ souvenir T-shirt, with artwork by Paul Worstead, manufactured for Jimmy Jones Souvenirs, Sydney, about 1985. National Museum of Australia

This T-shirt shows (clockwise from top left) umpulytja t i or wild orange, mangata or native peach, arngu l i or bush plum, u t u r alya or native pear, kampurarpa or desert raisin, tawaltawalpa or wild gooseberry, wirinywirinypa or bush tomato, unturungu or bush banana.

T-shirt with colour illustration of fruits around a central image of Uluru. - click to view larger image

Diana James, Desart: Aboriginal Art and Craft Centres of Central Australia , Desart, Alice Springs, 1993, p. 25.

Diana James and Elizabeth Tregenza, Ngintaka , Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2014, p. 166.

Further reading

Maruku Arts

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru in our Collection Explorer

Yulara Primary School

Yulara School is located about 340 kilometres southwest of Alice Springs, in the isolated tourist village of Yulara. The school is part of the Lasseter Group School and provides education services to students from preschool to middle years. Yulara School largely caters for children of families working in Yulara hotels and in other businesses that serve tourists.

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This website contains names, images and voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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Y ou’ve seen it on tea towels, TV ads and kitschy souvenirs. But it’s a good bet that you haven’t seen it up close and personal in all its red-earth glory. Uluru is almost a victim of its iconic status. We Australians know it so well that many of us don’t know it at all.

While international travellers circle the globe to marvel at the icon of the red centre, Australians tend to be blasé about what’s in their own backyard. Perhaps we reckon it’s not going anywhere, and it will still be standing when we finally get around to visiting. Or perhaps it’s the cost of traveling to the heart of the country which keeps it on the back burner. It can, after all, seem cheaper to go to Fiji.

But we shouldn’t leave it on our to-do list. Uluru is the geographic and spiritual heart of our country. More than that, it is gobsmackingly awe-inspiring. Nothing can prepare you for your first encounter.

Visiting can be expensive, but it’s worth it. While there’s not really a cheap way to do it, there are plenty of cheaper options and ways you can save if you plan ahead.

Getting there

Uluru is seriously remote, and the gateway is Yulara, the town that was established in the 1970s to support tourism to the rock. It’s grown into a village that provides both tourist accommodation and living quarters for the staff who service it.

If you’re flying, request a window seat to get a great aerial view of Uluru. Return flights with Jetstar can be found for as little as $270 from Melbourne and about $350 from Sydney, but can soar to $800 and above in the August and September peak period. Cheaper options can regularly be found so long as you’re flexible in which days you fly.

Dreamliner aircraft flies close to Kata Tjuta in the NT.

If you’re getting to Uluru by car, be prepared for a road trip with very little between stops. It’s four-and-a-half-hours drive from Alice Springs.

While getting to Uluru can be expensive, to actually step into the Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park costs only $38 for three days. Entry is free for under 18s. The two sites, Uluru and Kata Tjuta rising majestically out of a seemingly barren landscape, sit just a 40-minute drive from each other.

Uluru is easier to take in, and is more accessible given its proximity to Yulara and the wealth of tours and options for navigating it.

At Uluru, getting up before sunrise is not just necessary (temperatures become too hot for long walks in the middle of the day), it’s breathtaking.

Regardless of the time, you’ll also want to bring a fly net for your hat – as the sun rises, flies can become intolerable (nets sell for $10 in Yulara). I’d also recommend buying fly repellent cream to dab on the back of your ears.

Out of the heat of the day, even a moderately fit person can do the flat 10km walk around its base. You can’t get lost because you’re basically walking around in a circle, though a guide ( Seit tours run several trips , their sunset tour starts from $73, up to a trekking tour for $177) will be able to enrich the experience.

Tourists take pictures of Uluru just before sunrise.

If you opt to do it for free by yourself, and walk around at your own pace, plaques installed by the national park give insights into the cultural significance of various caves and waterholes. They also tell some of the stories precious to the local Anangu traditional owners, such as at the Kapi Mutitjulu waterhole, where it is said that the spirit of Minyma Kuniya combined with her nephews to become Wanampi, a watersnake.

For those averse to walking, you can pedal a bike ($60 for three hours hire from Outback Cycling ), ride a Segway (from $149) or mount a Harley Davidson ( from $139 ).

One visit to the rock may not be enough, and you might find yourself racing back in time for sunset, when temperatures become bearable again. If you do, you’ll join a contingent of sightseers by their cars and campervans, all with cameras, patiently watching as the colours of Uluru transform in the fading light.

“A lot of people don’t realise that because many parts of Uluru are sensitive sites due to Anangu belief, so much of it isn’t in the photos most people will have seen before coming here,” notes Steve Baldwin, a park ranger.

Kata Tjuta (formerly the Olgas) is often the Cinderella sister. Many visitors make it to Uluru without going down the road to see the equally striking domed rock formations. And that’s a mistake.

As with Uluru, visiting Kata Tjuta is best at sunrise or sunset, away from the peak of the heat. Given this, you’d be hard-pressed to do comprehensive treks around both sites in the same day, but could feasibly spend a few hours at Kata Tjuta in a morning and see Uluru at sunset .

The Katja Tjuta red rock formations.

As you approach, the site appears to be one of improbably large, rounded boulders, leaning together and impregnable. But for the intrepid adventurer – and you do need to be committed for this sometimes difficult three-hour self-navigated, free walk – there is the magical Valley of the Winds, that spreads out before you once you’ve scaled the jagged and steep incline. By the way, it’s not called the Valley of the Winds for nothing. Be prepared to be literally blown away. It gets quite chilly.

Most tourists settle for a peek at Walpa Gorge, which is its own kind of special: two giant facing walls of sheer rock offering a small slice of sky above.

Getting around – do I need a car?

Uluru is not within walking distance, so it’s your car or a tour bus.

If you’re travelling solo, the Uluru hop-on hop-off service offers a return trip to Uluru, for $49, and $80 to Kata Tjuta. These bus trips run for the sunrise and sunset timeslots.

For more flexibility, you can rent a car from Yulara airport. Having your own wheels (you need to book in advance) means you can go back and forth to the national park whenever the mood takes you.

While deals can be had, most car rental companies’ cheapest options will cost about $320 per day. (Like the rest of the country, rental car companies have been stung by short supply throughout the pandemic, and rental prices in Uluru are also higher than average.)

What else is there to do?

One attraction that won’t cost you a cent is the brand new Gallery of Central Australia (Goca) in Yulara. It’s a platform for local Indigenous artists, entry is free, and there are daily tours from 10:30am. Goca is genuinely impressive – the vibrant use of colours in the works on its walls make this a rewarding place to visit. The gallery showcases works from emerging and independent artists from across Central Australia, with paintings and some sculptures available to purchase.

There are a number of free experiences available at the resort which range from didgeridoo workshops and dot painting classes. The Bush Food experience, a guided walk through the resort of local ingredients – such as sweet bush plums used in food and medicine . Tour guides give a rundown of when and how to pick fruits, to the cultural and nutritional importance of the plants.

However, you may just want to spend any downtime escaping the heat in one of the several swimming pools throughout the complex – which are free for those staying at the resort.

Finally, look up. Away from the light pollution of a city, gazing up at the night sky feels like watching a movie, as layers of stars and patterns become visible. There are several stargazing tours available but the key is really to just drive a little out of Yulara, turn off all car and phone lights, and look up. It’s also free.

Where to stay

The Ayers Rock Resort complex in Yulara is the (only) place to stay. Hotel options have a two-night minimum, starting with the luxurious Sails in the Desert (from $475/ night) and Desert Gardens (from $400/ night) which sports views of Uluru from rooms.

Yulara village and Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park.

The cheapest option is the 3.5 star cabin-style Outback Pioneer Hotel (from $300/ night). The Emu Walk apartments (from $420 per night for a one bedroom apartment that sleeps four), suits families and groups wanting cooking facilities in their room.

For travellers in campervans and those looking to economise with tents, there is a campground at the resort, with communal cooking and bathing facilities, which starts at $43 per night.

Where to eat

Once you’ve booked accommodation, it’s worth putting thought into some of your meals. For the serious and cashed-up foodie, there’s the Tali Wiru experience, a $380 a head “gastronomic adventure” served in a private dune under the stars.

There are plenty of far cheaper eats available around the Yulara town square. The Kulata Academy Cafe trains the resort’s staff and sells pies and sandwiches ($10.50, served with side salad). There are several other takeaway and cafe options in the square, and an IGA supermarket for supplies (they do takeaway BBQ chickens for $11). The pub at the Outback Pioneer Kitchen, near the camping site, offers pub fare with burgers for $18 and pizzas for $25.

The writer was a guest of Voyages Indigenous Tourism

  • Australia holidays
  • Northern Territory holidays
  • Indigenous Australians
  • Tourism (Australia)

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tourist information centre yulara

Uluru/Kata Tjuta , Northern Territory

The township of Yulara supports Ayers Rock Resort where visitors to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park are accommodated. The resort features different levels of accommodation from hotel, apartment style, budget and camping. There is a commercial centre with supermarket, bank, newsagent and food outlets. Yulara also has a service station, a Royal Flying Doctor Service clinic, police station and fire service. Ayers Rock Airport, located a few kilometres from the resort, is linked by daily Qantas flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns and Alice Springs.

tourist information centre yulara


Yulara Visitor Centre

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