Visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and you'll leave a changed person - there's a deep spirituality connected to this breathtaking and dramatic landscape not found anywhere else in the world.
Read on to discover the best things to see and do in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, or find and book accommodation today.
At 348m high, Uluru is an imposing sandstone rock situated on the western side of the Simpson Desert. First named Ayers Rock by William Gosse in 1873 after Sir Henry Ayers, its name was changed to Uluru after the land was handed back to the Anangu people, the Aboriginal traditional owners, in 1985.
In addition, Uluru is one of the few World Heritage properties around the world that has been listed for both its natural as well as cultural values, thanks to its unique geology, beautiful scenery and the validity of the Anangu connection with the land.
Access to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (NP) is via permit only, which can be purchased at the entry gate to the park. Fees changed in April 2016, introducing an admission fee for school-aged children and the option of purchasing a Family Pass, which represents great value for money when you have a large family.
Out of respect for the Anangu people and their culture, it is recommended visitors to Uluru no longer attempt the steep 1km climb to the top of the rock. Instead, the best way to enjoy and experience the rock is to walk around the base, a 10km track that can be completed in 3.5 hours. If you prefer shorter walks, there’s a choice of the 2km return Mala Walk, the 1km return Kuniya Walk and the 4km return Liru Walk.
A visit to the national park is not complete without spending a full day at Kata Tjuta, meaning ‘many heads’. The Valley of the Winds Walk is a challenging hike, taking you right into the heart of this magnificent landscape and rewarding you with spectacular views. The walk can be done as a circuit or you can choose to head back from the Karu or Karingana Lookouts, depending on your fitness.
The 2.6km return Walpa Gorge Walk is more suitable on hot days when the Valley of the Winds Walk is closed at 11am from the Karu Lookout. The rocky track leads into the gorge, its sheer rock walls towering over you.
A great way to experience this dramatic landscape is to jump on a helicopter or a small plane to view these impressive sandstone rock formations from the air. Spend 30 minutes in the air seeing the famous rock and Kata Tjuta from a completely different perspective – it’s an experience you’ll never forget. Highly trained pilots will show you Uluru and Kata Tjuta in a way you’ve never seen before. Sunrise and sunset flights are available and a must-see for photographers.
A visit to the arid zone of Central Australia is not complete without encountering the ship of the desert: the camel. The award-winning Uluru Camel Tours is Australia’s largest camel farm and home to over 60 working camels. The camel shop is a great place to purchase unique camel souvenirs. You’ll also learn about the 130-year history of camels in Australia and the tough Afghan cameleers and the role they played in the opening up of the outback. Wander through the saddlery where saddles are made by hand. See the camel race track, home of the Uluru Camel Cup and trophies won from all over Australia.
Bruce Monro’s Field of Light is an ambitious exhibition in the spiritual heart of Australia, illuminating a remote desert area within sight of majestic Uluru. The exhibition first opened on April 1, 2016 and will be in place for a full year throughout the desert’s distinct seasons, closing on March 31, 2017.
“Field of Light was one idea that landed in my sketchbook and kept on nagging at me to be done,” Munro said. “I saw in my mind a landscape of illuminated stems that, like the dormant seed in a dry desert, quietly wait until darkness falls, under a blazing blanket of southern stars, to bloom with gentle rhythms of light. Field of Light is a personal symbol for the good things in life.”
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is located in the south-western corner of the Northern Territory, also known as Australia’s Red Centre.
From Alice Springs, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a 440km, 4.5 hour journey along sealed roads.
Jetstar and Virgin operate daily flights into Ayers Rock Airport direct from Sydney. Qantas also offers services to Ayers Rock Airport, via Alice Springs from Sydney.
The best time to visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is between the cooler months of May and September. The weather conditions are milder during this period, making it much safer to complete the walks around Uluru and explore the region. There’s also a vibrancy to the landscape during this time of the year, with an abundance of flourishing plant and wildlife to discover.
If you do choose to visit in summer, when temperatures exceed 36°C on a daily basis, be sure to complete any walks in the early morning hours, and carry plenty of water.
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