Choose from 13 Fun Things to Do in Ayers Rock
The sheer cliffs of Uluru look amazingly different from every angle, and scroll through a vast array of colours as the sun moves across the desert sky. You will never tire of looking at this incredible figure, as it is always changing. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during heavy rain you will see quite a show, since small streams and waterfalls cover Uluru, transforming it into a completely different natural wonder.
Though the walk can easily be self-guided, a free ranger-guided tour will provide much more insight into the ways of the Anangu, their rock art, and the story of the Mala. These tours can be accessed all year round, by meeting a ranger at the Mala Walk sign at either 8am from October to April, or 10am from May to September.
This is one of the shortest walks at Uluru, covering a 1km stretch of its west side.
Visitors to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park must pay an entrance fee and observe park opening hours, which vary from month to month throughout the year.
Tjukurpa is the story and the spiritual law of the Anangu people, and the Tjukurpa Tunnel is where you are encouraged to begin building your understanding of their way of life before your visit to Uluru or Kata Tjuta. Much of Tjukurpa is considered sacred and cannot be discussed publicly, so this is a fantastic opportunity to take in those parts which can be shared.
Artefacts and informational plaques are displayed throughout the tunnel, and documentary DVD’s are screened on a loop, providing fascinating insights.
After experiencing the tunnel, visitors can check out a cafe, souvenir shop, and indigenous art galleries, which are all owned and operated by the indigenous community. An information and booking desk operates, where indigenous tours of the park can be organised. Free Cultural presentations and tours are also frequently available.
- The Olgas are essential for outdoor and adventure lovers, and first-time visitors to the region.
- This is a sacred Aboriginal site, and climbing the Olgas is considered disrespectful to the Anangu people.
- Cell phone coverage can be limited, but Wi-Fi is available at the Cultural Centre in Uluru and Ayers Rock Resort.
- The Olgas are located in the desert, so sunscreen, a hat, water, and comfortable shoes are a must. Prepare for high temperatures during the day and chilly weather at night.
- Alcohol is not allowed in the park except on organized tours.
- The Kata Tjuta Dune viewing platform is accessible to wheelchair users.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a World Heritage Area and iconic Australian destination. Preserved within the park are two of Australia's most striking natural landmarks: Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the Olgas (Kata Juta).
The park is co-managed by the Anangu people and the Australian government. The traditional owners run walking tours through the park and co-manage the park's cultural center which provides valuable insights into the land's significance for Anangu culture. At the cultural center you can also browse traditional carvings, paintings and ceramics made by central Australia's Anangu communities.
Along with sunrise or sunset viewings of Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the Olgas (Kata Juta), you can take a tour of the park by camel, motorbike or scenic flight, witness traditional activities such as boomerang-throwing, or see the park through the eyes of the Anangu on a cultural tour.
Uluru is 445 km (276 miles) south-west from Alice Springs and 18 km (11 miles) south of the Ayers Rock Resort.
The best ways to explore the often rugged territory are by 4WD, motor-home, or even on bike -a mode of transport that is surprisingly well catered for, with even the famous Simpson’s Gap providing a seven kilometre section of sealed bike track.
Covering an area of just over 2,000 square kilometres, the canyons, gorges, and waterholes in the National Park area provide a stunning and insightful backdrop for any number of outdoor activities, including camping, swimming, and hiking, to name a few.
Hiking enthusiasts should consider the 250 kilometre Larapinta Trail, which traverses the ranges from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder. This trail can be hiked either with a guided tour or independently, but independent hikers should seek expert guidance before their tour as the conditions can be harsh. Those not wishing to undertake the full length of the famous trail can choose to do shorter sections.
Dingoes, native fish, carpet pythons, and endemic birdlife frequent most areas of the Western MacDonnell ranges, especially those that are more obscure and located off the well travelled roads. The summer months see the Ormiston Gorge, in particular, a haven for a large assortment of native reptiles.
The Ranges are rich in indigenous culture and historical locales. The Ranges, like the rest of the Territory, are most pleasant in the cooler months of April to September. Camping facilities are well maintained and modern, and the National Park is accessible year round, with the exception of short periods of sporadic road closures following heavy rain.
- Cell phone coverage can be limited, but WiFi is available at the Cultural Centre in Uluru and Ayers Rock Resort.
- While climbing Ayers Rock is not prohibited, Uluru is a sacred Aboriginal site, and climbing it is considered disrespectful to the Anangu.
- Ayers Rock is located in the desert, so sunscreen, a hat, water, and comfortable shoes are a must. Prepare for high temperatures during the day and chilly weather at night.
- Many areas of Ayers Rock, including viewing areas and part of the base walk, are wheelchair accessible.
- Alcohol is not allowed in the park except on organized tours.
The red sandstone walls of Kings Canyon rise abruptly from tranquil pools and pockets of cycads and vegetation in the middle of the red centre desert.
The prized activity here is the 2.5 km (1.5 mile) return Kings Creek Walk around the rim of the canyon to a lookout for fabulous views of the lush Garden of Eden.
The reward for taking on the longer 4-hour walk is even better views including the rock formation known as the Lost City.
The 1-hour return Kathleen Springs Walk is wheelchair-accessible and leads to a lovely waterhole.
Kings Canyon is 450 km (280 miles) south-west of Alice Springs via the Stuart Highway or Larapinta Drive. It’s around 300 km (186 miles) north-east of Ayers Rock (Uluru). The best time to visit is in the cooler months of April to September.
The Kings Canyon Resort and Kings Creek Station offer a high standard of accommodation in this iconic location.
Watarrka National Park protects one of the Northern Territory's most legendary destinations, Kings Canyon.
It's a rocky red desert park of rugged geological formations and sheer-edged sandstone gorges plummeting to waterholes and unexpected oases of cycad palms.
Walking trails lead to lookouts for views over the canyon, and there are picnic tables at the sunset-viewing area and Kathleen Springs.
The overnight Giles Track takes you along the top of the range from springs to canyon, while the much easier Kathleen Springs walk takes 1.5 hours and is recommended for families.
To get the most out of your visit to Watarrka National Park, take a guided walk with a ranger or guide to learn about the spiritual significance of this land for the local Anangu people.
Watarrka National Park is 450 km (280 miles) south-west of Alice Springs via the Stuart Highway or Larapinta Drive. It’s around 300 km (186 miles) north-east of Ayers Rock (Uluru).
The best time to visit is in the cooler months of April to September.
Offering spectacular views both east and west of Alice Springs, the MacDonnell Ranges are a 400 mile (644 kilometer) stretch of mountain ranges. The ranges hold some of the Northern Territory's finest attractions including the ancient ghost gums and rock wallabies at the majestic Simpson's Gap, the stark beauty of Standley Chasm in the midday sun and the secluded waterholes of Serpentine Gorge and Ellery Creek Big Hole.
The ranges are dotted with micro-climates offering rare wildlife including the Centralian Tree Frog that lives in some of the very cold rock pools.
There are many sites of significance to the traditional owners, the Arrernte. These include ancient rock paintings at Emily Gap, Trephina Gorge and N’Dhala Gorge. You can also visit the old ochre pits where they quarried for ochre pigment.
The range is popular with bush walkers as the 140 mile (223 kilometer) Larapinta Trail runs along the ridge and into the plains below.
The Larapinta Trail is divided into twelve sections with most trail-heads close to the big-ticket attractions. Some access tracks are not suitable for buses or caravans and difficult in wet weather.