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Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Last updated: 30 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Mark Chipperfield

Uluru, the world’s largest rock monolith, is synonymous with Outback Australia. Alongside the Sydney Opera House, it is perhaps Australia’s most iconic sight.

But The Rock is at the centre of a living cultural landscape known as the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a vast area of desert containing several other major draws – the domes of Kata Tjuta, Walpa Gorge and The Valley of the Winds. A few hours away, in neighbouring Watarrka National Park, is another extraordinary natural phenomenon – Kings Canyon.

It’s the place to come to experience the Australian outback, Crocodile Dundee-style. As well as admiring the jaw-dropping geology, you can sleep out in swag bags, sample bush tucker, dine under a billion stars and spot kangaroos.

Now under the control of its traditional owners – the ‘Anangu’ – the park offers a unique opportunity to experience and learn about the planet’s oldest living culture – the indigenous Aboriginal people. The local Anangu people offer a variety of excellent tours and activities – from guided walks to didgeridoo lessons and dot painting workshops.

Orientation

All of the tourism facilities for the park are concentrated in the township of Yulara, situated outside Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, about a ten-minute drive from the entry station. This is you base for trips to Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon.

Most of the Yulara township is made up of the ‘Ayers Rock Resort’, an Aboriginal-owned complex that provides accommodation, restaurants and other essential services to people visiting the park. The resort is a one-stop shop for pretty much all of the organised tours and activities in the area.

Yulara is a settlement consisting of a few low-slung, modern buildings, a few gum trees and plenty of red dirt. While busy, Yulara is rarely crowded – it’s a different story at Uluru where the carpark is packed with campervans, coaches and hire cars.

The focal point of Yulara is the Ayers Rock Resort Town Square, a modest collection of cafes, shops and art galleries.

Most of the accommodation in Yulara is within easy walking distance of the square but a free bus service also operates – handy if want to avoid the desert sun.

Tours, tickets & transfers

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

Ayers Rock Day Trip from Alice Springs Including BBQ Dinner

  • Alice Springs

Experience the wonders of Kata Tjuta & Uluru as part of your Northern Territory adventure. *** For all bookings travelling from 01 April 2024 and onwards, a visit to Kata Tjuta will no longer be included Travel in air-conditioned comfort, hear intriguing stories and learn the secrets of this unique world-renowned destination. We provide meals, beverages and snacks so all you have to do is focus on your incredible surroundings. All activities are considered very safe for all age groups. They do not require a high level of fitness or agility. You’ll enjoy: Watching the sunset at the sacred site of Uluru with a glass of bubbly Uluru: Guided Mala Walk Uluru: Guided Mutitjulu Waterhole Walk Kata Tjuta: Walpa Gorge Walk *** For all bookings travelling from 01 April 2024 and onwards, a visit to Kata Tjuta will no longer be included Aboriginal Cultural Centre Mount Connor Lookout (Alice Springs start only)

Price A$336

Min age 3

Rating 4.54 / 5 [528 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Alice Springs to Ayers Rock (Uluru) One Way Shuttle

  • Alice Springs

Travel by luxury bus on this one way transfer from Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock). Learn more about the flora and fauna as well as the natural and geological history of this classic Northern Territory desert scenery as you pass outback stations. Take an optional Camel ride (own expense) and stop to take photos of Mount Conner, the third monolith of Central Australia.

Price A$199

Min age 0

Rating 4.53 / 5 [143 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon Camping Safari from Alice Springs

  • Alice Springs

Want to see the Red Centre's greatest natural attractions in under three days? Easy. Jump on this trip and you'll get to admire Uluru by sunrise and sunset, explore the natural wonders of Kings Canyon – the Lost City, Amphitheatre, Garden of Eden and North and South Walls – and weave through the gigantic boulders and gullies of Kata Tjuta. Experience the heart of the Red Centre with the best guides in the business who know the culture, people and Outback like the back of their hand. Spend you days gaining a deeper understanding into the spiritual importance of Uluru and its surrounds, and your nights camping on Australia’s red earth and dining under the stars.

Price A$995

Min age 8

Rating 4.76 / 5 [47 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) Coach Transfer

  • Alice Springs

Let Emu Run Experience transfer you from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock Resort on our comfortable coach with air conditioning and an on board toilet.  Itinerary: Alice Springs to Ayers Rock Resort Bus Transfer We collect you from outside your Alice Springs accommodation at approximately 6am. We arrive at Yulara at approximately 11:45am and we drop you off at the Outback Pioneer Hotel at Ayers Rock Resort. Please note: no food/meals are included with this transfer service, however the bus will stop off at Erldunda Roadhouse on the way so you can purchase food there.

Price A$183

Min age 2

Rating 4.5 / 5 [28 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Travel advice

When to go

Winter (June to August) is the ideal time to be in the desert. This is also the busiest time of the year, when accommodation is at a premium, so spring and autumn can work well too.

Desert summers (December to March) are notoriously hot and not suitable for much physical activity. It’s also the wet season, when getting around can be difficult. Summer is when the air is filled with relentless swarms of annoying flies (though you can buy the classic hat with accompanying fly net to keep them off your face). On the plus side, it’s less crowded and rainfall over Uluru is spectacular.

Getting there and away

There are daily flights to Uluru from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with direct flights also available from Adelaide and Cairns. Those with plenty of time on their hands can book a cabin on The Ghan, a transcontinental railway from Adelaide to Darwin, and take a side trip from Alice Springs to Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

Getting around

Hotel guests arriving at Ayers Rock Airport will find a free shuttle to take them to their accommodation. All of the accommodation in Uluru is clustered around the Ayers Rock Resort town square. In the cooler months it’s easy to walk around the resort but if you want to avoid the desert heat jump aboard the free bus – it operates all year round, with departures every 20 minutes.

Since this is a desert region with no trains or bus routes, visitors will need to hire their own vehicle or join an organised tour to access the surrounding experiences.