For many people, Uluru (or Ayers Rock) is an iconic landmark in Australia drawing thousands of people to the centre of our country every year. What most people don’t realise, is that there is plenty to do out at Uluru that I was struggling to fit it all in over the 4 days I was there.
Many people head to Uluru to climb the rock; what they don’t realise is that whilst not illegal to do so, it is somewhat frowned upon by the local Anangu Aboriginal people and many who have taken the time to learn about the cultural significance and history of Uluru choose not to climb out of respect and knowledge. Not to mention the environmental impacts on the surrounds of Uluru and the few fatalities that have happened over time at Uluru as well. I’m not here to persuade you whether or not you should climb Uluru (although I personally, chose not to), I am here to share with you some other options of 7 things to do whilst visiting Uluru:-
7. Kata Tjuta aka The Olga’s
Kata Tjuta is another rock formation found in the red centre which holds huge cultural significance to the local Aboriginal people as it is, in their culture, a sacred men’s site. There are 36 domed rock formations that make up Kata Tjuta and they are definitely worth visiting on your journey! You can do a couple of hikes around and inside Kata Tjuta including the Waipa Gorge hike (which I did and really got a sense of how incredible this formation is) and the Valley Of The Winds.
6. Camel Ride
Call me naive, but I actually had no idea that there were wild camels in the Northern Territory let alone the estimated 1 million of them! I chose to do a Sunrise Camel Ride on my final day at Uluru and it was absolutely worth the early wake up! Riding the cheeky Coober and learning from our guide about camels, Uluru, Aboriginals and the local wildlife was such a fun experience! There are other options as to when to do your Camel ride, but sunrise was absolutely spectacular and another fantastic way to see Uluru & Kata Tjuta from just outside the park. This can be organised with the local Camel farm at Uluru and is worth even just popping down for a visit to say hello to these curious and check camels!
5. Uluru Base Walk
This walk is a must do if you can whilst visiting Uluru, although take some tips from me and learn from my mistakes! The base walk is around 10km the whole way around and takes around 3.5 hours at a leisurely stroll, however you can opt to do shorter walks to significant places around Uluru if you wish. Firstly, make sure you take a hat and bring enough water! People aren’t kidding when they say that the desert heat is unlike anything else and you do quickly become dehydrated (as I learned from not packing enough water and forgetting my hat!). Secondly, try to do the walk in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is not directly overhead. I did the walk at midday (as I was fitting it in between 2 organised activities I had planned) and felt myself quickly becoming fatigued and dehydrated from the heat! Finally, ensure you have enough time to do the walk at your chosen pace. As I mentioned, I was fitting the walk in between 2 activities and therefore needed to have the whole walk completed in 2.5 hours to catch the shuttle back to the resort. Not only did this push me physically, but the midday heat and lack of water really had me dehydrating very quickly. After the walk I had enough time to do the 2km walk to the cultural centre where I can guarantee you I have never drunk a Powerade and bottle of water so quickly! Ultimately, just plan well and enjoy the walk as it really is incredible to get up close to Uluru!
This is absolutely one of the best times of day to see Uluru come to life, so much so that I did 2 Uluru sunrise activities during my trip! There are sunrise viewing platforms located inside the park to get a fantastic view of the colours of Uluru coming to life as the sun rises whilst also seeing the sun rise over the horizon in the middle of the red centre is just as spectacular!
3. Field Of Light by Bruce Munro
This is an art installation that is currently being exhibited at Uluru from 1st of April 2016 until 31st of March 2017 that if you can see during this time slot, is absolutely worth it. A field of hundreds of lightbulbs that change colours as the sun starts to set is unlike anything I have ever seen before. I chose to do a Field Of Lights dinner which enabled me to watch sunset at Uluru, eat a fantastic dinner amongst new friends, see the Field Of Light slowly coming to life and then walk through the field in our own private group before the area is closed.
2. Kings Canyon
Although not technically at Uluru, Kings Canyon is a day trip that is definitely worth it! A few hours drive and you arrive at the Kings Canyon National Park where you have a couple of different hike options; the 3.5 hour Kings Canyon Rim Walk or the less strenuous Canyon Creek Walk. If you are physically able and reasonably fit I definitely recommend the Rim Walk, as the views are absolutely breathtaking and the landscape is incredible.
1. Sunset Dinner or BBQ
One of the best ways to see Uluru is with a wine in one hand, cheese and crackers in the other hand and your eyes watching the slowly changing colours of Uluru as the sun begins to set. Our host recommended snapping a photo of the rock every 5 minutes until 10 minutes before sunset and then every couple of minutes thereafter to truly capture the light changing and changing colours of the rock that are not necessarily as drastic to the naked eye. Then sitting in the darkness of the outback under the milky way with an Aussie BBQ feast for dinner really is one of the best things to do whilst visiting. I can guarantee you that at any of the Sounds Of Silence, Field Of Lights buffet or an organised Sunset BBQ feast, you will be entertained, well fed and leave having met some incredible like-minded travellers from all over the globe!
So there you have it, you can easily come to visit Uluru and fill your time with fantastic ways to see the rock, the surroundings and even some incredible landmarks not so far away. I had always wanted to visit Uluru and I can absolutely say that I was not disappointed to spend the money and visit on my own. Most of these activities were booked with AAT Kings who I cannot recommend highly enough. Their professionalism, knowledge and friendly nature made these experiences even more memorable!
*All photos were taken on my iPhone 6S as unfortunately my Canon camera totally carked it the day I arrived at Uluru and there aren’t many places to get a camera fixed in the middle of nowhere 😦
All posts are by Global Whispers and are entirely my own opinions, views and experiences.