Uluru

by Garth
Watch Uluru in 1 minute - sightseeing, must see sights, things to do, top 5 tips, food review, photography inspiration, advice and information. Read our full travel guide on our blog www.philandgarth.com

Watch Uluru in 1 minute – sightseeing, must see sights, things to do, top 5 tips, food review, photography inspiration, advice and information. Read our full travel guide on our blog www.philandgarth.com

Uluru aka Ayers Rock

We got an amazing view of Ayers Rock, or by its Aboriginal name Uluru as we came in for landing at Connellan Airport, albeit a rather bumpy flight via Alice Springs, Phil compared it to like riding the The Big One in Blackpool! Stepping out of a plane the extreme dry heat hit us (39ºC) and gave us a taste of what was to come, we headed straight to the air conditioned arrival hall to get our hire car for the next few days.  The airport looked like it had an airplane graveyard too, which was an eerie sight, of abandoned unmarked planes parked in the desert.

 

Yulara & Our Hotel

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Yulara and Uluru from the air

We headed to our hotel – The Outback Pioneer, only 15km from the rock. It’s situated in the town of Yulara, best known as Ayers Rock Resort, a strange place where you realise the ‘town’ is actually one huge resort comprising five different hotels from 5 stars to a campsite, with shops and restaurants – so you basically have no choice, but to go to what the resort is offering, as it’s all owned by the same company. Our hotel was the cheapest in Yulara, the room was basic, but it was comfortable and the hotel had a small pool, which we used to cool down. Garth has a phobia of cockroaches and there were a few outside our front door, so we stuffed a towel under the door gap at night, just in case!

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Phil at the Outback’s DIY BBQ

The hotel catered for the masses, including many backpackers, but it’s do it yourself BBQ was excellent and good fun.  You queue up at the meat counters and buy what you fancy we chose Kangaroo, Emu and Crocodile sausages and steaks, you then head over to the BBQ’s and choose one, there are 10 or so and there was always one free,  so you can tick off that Aussie Barbie box!

 

Uluru Sightseeing

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The awesome Uluru

The following morning we ventured out to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, you need a ticket for the car to enter the park it costs AU$25 and is valid for 3 days. Seeing Uluru is awesome and yet so familiar, you really can’t comprehend the sheer size and beauty of the rock from TV or pictures, until you get up close, a bit like seeing The Grand Canyon for the first time. You also realise how remote it is, situated in the middle of the desert, it’s 280 miles to the nearest town of Alice Springs.

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Our hire car we used for sightseeing

We went in low season, in January, which means extreme heat, and Outback flies, oh my the flies! I’m not sure they all come from because the place isn’t dirty at all.  But they are absolutely everywhere. We had read about the issue of flies and bought face nets off eBay for a couple of quid each, you can get them from the shop in Yulara but if you arrive in the evening it may not be open.  Do you really need the nets, OMG YES! they’re not attractive, but be warned without them, the flies will be up your nose, in your ears and you’ll have a miserable experience, we took them off for a couple of photos, but they went straight back on as soon as the shutter had closed!

 

Uluru Cultural Centre

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Uluru Cultural Centre

We then headed to the Cultural Centre for lunch, the restaurant there made us laugh, with just two items for sale, a generic pie and a cheese sandwich. After eating we sat and watched the centre’s video to Ananou people, Aboriginal culture and the sacredness of Uluru. The video is interesting but in desperate need of updating and cutting down from what felt like a 2 hour movie. The shop has some great original Aboriginal art too, but too pricey for us to warrant the souvenir.

 

Hiking

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Uluru base walk path

We spent the rest of the day hiking the suggested base walk. Along the route you read stories about the Elders of Uluru, the men had their own caves, the women had theirs. There are even some caves where you can get up close and see ancient cave paintings, the womens kitchen caves  still have the areas that food was ground and cooked in.

The reason the rock is red is due to the amount of iron in the rock itself. As it reaches the surface it oxides – basically goes rusty

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Uluru close-up | Ancient cave paintings

Photography is not permitted in certain sacred parts along the routes, these were clearly marked and we respected this.  The area of the rock, that you can’t photograph tells a story which is passed down from mothers to daughters though the ages.

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The hiking path up Uluru

Climbing and hiking the actual rock is not banned but considered controversial. In the past hundreds of people have climbed and even died its strenuous hike to the top.  Today the Anangu people ask tourists not to do this, and respect their culture and sacredness of Uluru.

Uluru is beautiful, but it is a harsh environment in the heat. There are warning signs everywhere not to under estimate it. Heat stroke, exhaustion and dehydration are very real dangers. So make sure you wear a hat, cover yourself in suncream and wear good hiking boots too. Carry at least a litre of water per person per hour, and avoid sports and caffeinated drinks as these contribute to dehydration.

Other good tips and precautions from the Cultural Centre included:

  • Hike in the cooler parts of the day, before 11.00am
  • Walk with another person at all times
  • Always stay on the designated tracks
  • Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of heat stroke – such as dry mouth, clammy sweating, dizziness or nausea
  • Temperatures at Uluru are considered extreme once it reaches 36ºC – certain tracks will be closed.

 

Sunset & Sunrises

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Sunset viewing car park

Evening and it’s time to drive to the sunset viewing car park, this is a real highlight, as well as the perfect opportunity for taking the obligatory tourist shots of both of us of the sun setting on the rock. It’s just magical spending time watching Uluru change colours from orange to a blood red and its texture change from the the long shadows cast. We kept saying to each other, are we really stood in front of Uluru!?  It was special and somewhat surreal too,  we thought about how lucky we were to have been up close to this natural wonder and how far away from home we were at that exact moment.  After it turned dark we headed back just in time for another Aussie barbie of kangaroo and crocodile sausages!

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Phil & Garth at Uluru’s famous sunset

There were various stargazing tours on offer, which we definately would have taken up, but sadly it was too cloudy for our stay as there was a nearby cyclone developing, so we didn’t bother. The skies must be amazing at night as there is no light pollution, we both love stargazing so that would have been amazing to witness, but Mother Nature wasn’t playing ball.   Many people went to see the similar beauty at sunrise, but we we’re too tired from all our travelling in Australia and somewhat lazy!

 

Kata Tjuta

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Garth in Kata Tjuta

We knew there was a neighbouring rock, Kata Tjuta about 20 miles from Uluru, but never really realised just how striking and impressive Kata Tjuta would be. It’s meaning is ‘many heads’, with its huge domed rocks. We hiked into one of the canyons created from the boulders, it’s terrain is rocky and uneven, so quite different to the red dust like Uluru walks, take plenty of water and your face nets! We only saw a couple of people during our time there, magical.

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Phil & Garth with attractive face nets

We filled our bags with quite a few bottles of water, and so glad we did, as we got through all of them. Dehydration is a real risk here, so don’t be caught out as the area is so isolated.

Phil & Garth’s Top 5 Uluru Tips

uluru_phil_and_garth_kangaroo_sign_travel_review_and_videoPhil & Garth at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

  • Tip #1: Remember those flies we told you about –  You must buy face nets before you go, just incase local shops have run out!
  • Tip #2: If you avoid peak season (April-October) and go in their summer, prices are low, but you pay the price with flies! and the heat!
  • Tip #3: Some people fly in and out the same day, we don’t suggest you do this, as it’s just not enough time to see everything on offer
  • Tip #4: When taking those must have sunset shots, wait another half hour after the sun has set, as we got some of best shots then.
  • Tip #5: Food is very expensive, but the local supermarket we went to in Yulara isn’t.

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12 comments

12 comments

coral waight 31st December 2017 - 1:44 am

Lovely post and beautiful photos. Thanks.

Reply
Carmel Bergin 13th January 2017 - 10:17 pm

Thanks for all the info. I really want to go there again. Took our kids to Uluru by Campervan from Adelaide in May 2002. It was the best trip of my life. We drove into Uluru and stayed at the resort you stayed at. But some miles before it we stopped at a site – it had a cattle ranch style pub with tin roof, australian animals to look at and a place to put up a tent or camper. We didn’t stay as we had booked in to the resort. I would also love to have camped by Uluru with aborigines. My kids were young 3, 5 and 7 and reckon it was the best trip ever.

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Vyjay 7th September 2016 - 5:57 am

Uluru comes across as a great place to commune with the great outdoors, never mind the flies! The sunsets and sunrises seem really magical, I reckon it would be a haven for hiking as well.

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Lisa 3rd September 2016 - 2:55 pm

Haven’t been to Australia since I was a kid I so want to go back and spend about a month or so. I’m all about the hiking for sure and Kata Tjuta looks like a perfect place. I always love the photos you guys take too! I agree about not going during peak seasons as well.

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Travel Lexx 2nd September 2016 - 11:31 pm

Ah the memories – Australia is by far my favourite place in the world and I had a great time travelling around the country in a camper van with my friends. We went to Uluru in July and the weather was warm during the day but absolutely freezing at night! It was a fantastic experience even though I liked Kata-Tjuta more!

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Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) 2nd September 2016 - 5:01 pm

Wow, what an exciting adventure. The photos are great, love the do it your self BBQ and especially the nets. What an interesting color of sand. Looks like a beautiful place to take pictures. Great Tips and thanks for sharing such a great adventure.

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David 2nd September 2016 - 3:02 pm

I haven’t been to Uluru since we went in high school for a school trip, but seems a lot of it is as I remember. We camped at Yulara from memory. It definitely is in the middle of nowhere. Wonderful photos as always guys. #FeetDoTravel

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Becki 2nd September 2016 - 1:03 pm

I know you said you can’t comprehend the full beauty of it in pictures, but your pictures really are stunning!! I’ve always wanted to visit here – hopefully I’ll make it one day!

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Angie (FeetDoTravel) 2nd September 2016 - 11:54 am

Oh this took me right back to my time here! I was part of a bus tour group and we had so much fun – we went in November and I don’t recall flies in that month – phew! When you are here, you can really see why it’s called the “red centre” so I love your photo which depicts this so well. Sadly for my visit it was cloudy so the sunset/sunrise shots weren’t as spectacular as yours, however it brightened up for my walk around Uluru – it is fantastic isn’t it! We were told that the locals have a name for the tourists who walk, they are called “mingas” which means ants, apparently that’s what they look like walking in a line from a distance lol. So glad you have also experienced one of life’s stunning natural phenomenon 🙂

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Barry 4th June 2016 - 12:04 am

Great photos and detailed post guys. Just out of curiosity what camera do you use?

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Phil 4th June 2016 - 9:49 am

We’ve got a few cameras including a cheap point and press underwater one which is great fun, we used our Cannon 7D to take the pictures in Australia.

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Barry 3rd September 2016 - 6:07 pm

Great stuff – it really shows in the pictures. I’ve been living in Australia on and off for a while and can certainly relate to the flies. The summer months are the worse! The graveyard also is a storage depot for most major airlines operating n Australia. It’s the only one in Australia.

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