Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Ayers Rock looks ok from the plane (no need for tourist flights), awesome from a distance, and interesting up close.

I had 24 hours in Ayers Rock, just enough. As one guy said “I spent a week there one day,” meaning that the place has nothing else to do but the rock.

Rental cars are mostly hobbled by kilometer limits of as little as 100 km/day. I was able to get the agent to bump me up to 200 with a little chitchat. I have Hertz #1 Club Gold which probably helped. Good thing I checked the odometer because they had mixed up cars and it was 4,000 km over what I was starting with, at $0.25/km that would have been a sticky situation if they actually thought I could drive that much in a day!

Hotels I covered in this post, if you have Accor points to burn, this is the time.

The park is officially called Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The fee is $25/vehicle for 3 days. Beware if timing sunrise/sunset close that there is one line both for payment and existing permit holders so it can get backed up. Payment is very slow and the rangers are chatty.

The rock itself is stunning on the approach. Up close the various details and irregularities are revealed, in a way disappointing. The Aboriginal community requests that people do not climb, yet many do. I respected their wishes. I would not charge up a blocked staircase in a place like the Vatican so was not going to do it here.

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Request to not climb...and the climbers

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Overhang

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The geometry up close

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No swimming?

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Good luck swimming

In about 2 hours at a steady pace with no break I did the Base Walk around the rock and the short branches Kantju Gorge and Mutijulu Walk. Those uninterested or unable to do the walks, which would be brutal in hot weather, can access the rock at several places by car and will miss little. There are occasional water stations but the only restrooms are at the Cultural Centre. I then drove over the sunset spot and waited for the glow.

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After a great walk

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Sunset glow

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  • Julian

    Nice pictures. However, fyi, the Aboriginal community also requests that people do not take pictures and post them on the internet, and especially pictures of the “irregularities”, which they consider sacred. Otherwise, excellent trip report.

  • Thanks for the info Stefan. Do you think a rental car is necessary? Is there public transport available from the hotels in Yulara?

  • Brian Cohen

    I did climb Uluru when I was there, and I recorded it on video. I should share it some day. I do not remember there being mileage limits on rental cars there, as I drove to King’s Canyon one day for a rugged hike. I was there for a few days, and there actually is plenty to do. I dined on alligator, emu and other Australian delicacies out in the Outback under the stars at tables covered with tablecloths. I walked completely around Uluru at dawn. While I believe there is transportation available from the hotels, but I would strongly recommend renting a car.

  • BOShappyflyer

    Thanks for sharing! While I will be visiting Australia, I don’t have plans to visit Ayers Rock this time. It’s quite far from our travel base! It was great to see your travel report – looks great from afar and interesting close-up. Agreed with your assessment!

  • I wouldn’t agree that the only thing to see in Uluru is the rock. We also visited the Olgas (another rock formation) and the Aborigine cultural center.

    With that said, I’d recommend 2 days, one night in the area.

    P.S. waking up for sunrise is well worth it!

  • Julian

    Taking pictures of Uluru, and especially of the “irregularities”, and posting them on the internet is prohibited. Did you not read the signs?

  • @Julian – I very carefully observed the signs, there were many areas bracketed off for no pictures with clear signs and I took no pictures of those areas. The above all are from areas that appeared open to pictures and other hikers seemed to have the same interpretation of the signs. If you can point me to evidence directly from the park that all areas of the Base Walk are closed to pictures, I will take them down.

  • @Julian – thanks for your email reply, I studied the media guidelines map (page 5) and one of the pictures I believe was not in the restricted on the northwest, but was close enough that I have removed it.