Uluru National Park (Ayers Rock) On a Budget
Be aware that the seasons down under are swapped. December and January can be sweltering in Australia, while July and August are absolutely frigid at night. The most agreeable weather for your visit will be in April or September.
SightsThe park is most known for its namesakes. The Uluru is one of Australia's most famous natural formations. The long domed rock, or giant boulder, expands 5 kilometers beneath the desert surface and 348 meters above it. The beautiful colors seen in these formations change throughout the day. This sight is so iconic it has become one of the national symbols for Australia.
Kata Tjuta is the other most known formation in this park. These 36 variously sized rock domes are located 36 kilometers west of Uluru. Many believe this area was once an even larger rock dome that has been worn down by erosion over the centuries.
However, to start your day in this wonderful national park, make your first stop the Cultural Centre. Here you will learn about Aboriginal creation stories, and see articles about the history and sacredness of the area.
Another option for an amazing start to the day is to head to Talinguru Nyakuntjaku. It literally means "place to look from the sand dune," and it is where you will experience one of the most beautiful sunrises of your life.
ActivitiesThis place is a hiker's dream come true. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is full of scenic trails and challenging climbs all ready for the right adventurer.
The Uluru Base Walk is 9.8 kilometers and takes approximately three to four hours to finish. The beginning of this trek is a bit crowded, but as you continue the crowds thin out to occasional walkers.
The Mala Walk is for the traveler looking for a lighter trek. At only two kilometers long, the trail goes from the parking lot to breathtaking Kantju Gorge.
The Liru Walk begins at the Cultural Centre and spans 4 kilometers to the base of Uluru. Set aside an hour and a half for this walk. The Kuniya Walk is an easier, one-kilometer walk on the southern side of Uluru ending at the Mutitjulu Waterhole.
The Valley of the Winds Walk is a single path taking about three hours to complete. As you travel between two stunning lookout points in Kata Tjuta. Carrying water is highly recommended. Your best bet is to hit the trail during the morning hours you'll avoid the crowds and have a better chance at seeing wildlife.
For a spectacular view you can arrange a helicopter tour at Yulara. Spend as much time as you want in the sky with tours ranging from a quick trip over the park to longer trips extending all the way to King's Canyon.
Another special way to enjoy the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is by camel ride. As you experience the incredible views and natural wonders, you'll hear stories of camel history and the surrounding area.
Food and DiningThe Cultural Center is full of plenty of fast food options and small stores for snacks. Be sure to stock up on water for the day here.
For a truly unique experience, however, try to book a spot at the Sounds of Silence for dinner. Enjoy a dinner in the desert as you watch the sunset to the sounds of the traditional didgeridoo. Let the star talker explain the various constellations in the sky and look through the telescopes after your meal. This special meal can be arranged through tour companies or hotels. It's an experience not to be missed.
TransportationGetting around the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is pretty simple as long as you are part of a tour or have your own transportation. There are care rentals and tours available when you arrive. Bear in mind, hired cars and shuttles transporting to and from formations are available but they can be a little pricey.
Looking for a party? Find a hostel in Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, or along the Gold Coast.