Urulu is often considered the burning heart of Australia. It is a beautiful place with a great history. You could easily stay a week without realising how much time has passed. But as time is always a limiting factor: here is a suggested itinerary for two days in Uluru-Kata Tjuta based on our own experience. This should allow you to make most of this exceptional place.
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Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park
Sacred mountain to the Aboriginal people (the Anangu), Uluru is the main attraction of the Uluru Kata-Tjuta (Olgas) National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
500 million years old, the rock of Uluru is 3 kilometers long and more than 9 kilometers in circumference. It rises 348 meters high, with most of the rock lying underground.
Ayers Rock was the most commonly used name until 1993 when the rock was officially renamed Ayers Rock/Uluru.
Entry to the park costs $38 per person and is valid for 3 days. Once you have your tickets, you no longer need to go through the main ticket office.
Exploring the Kata-Tjuta (Mount Olgas) – Day 1
About 30 kilometers from Uluru are the Kata-Tjuta (or Olgas). These rounded rock formations, less known than their neighbour Uluru, are no less impressive.
Walk through the Valley of winds
The entire walk spans 7.4 kilometers and is clearly signposted. Despite some elevation, it’s quite manageable for most fitness levels. This path takes you into the core of the rocks, offering stunning vistas where only birds might interrupt the tranquility. It’s best to embark on this trek in the morning to avoid the heat, and remember to carry water with you. There are two water refill stations along the route. It’s important to stay hydrated, as we often don’t notice how much we are sweating!
If you’re not up for the entire loop, that’s fine. There are two scenic points you can visit: The Karu Lookout, which is a 2.2 km return journey, and the Karingana Lookout, with a 5.4 km round trip.
Near the parking area, you’ll find shaded picnic tables perfect for a lunch break. Afterwards, if you’re up for more, consider exploring the Walpa Gorge, an easy 2.2 km return walk.
Activities at Yulara
If you have walked enough for the day, Yulara offers plenty of free activities such as discovering the ‘bush-tucker’ (food from nature), learning about planting and using plants, astronomy exhibitions and theatre.
For opening hours and the locations of these activities ask for the program at the Cultural Center or at the reception desks.
Sunset at Uluru
If you stay at the resort for the night there is a walk that will take you to a lookout from where you can see the sunset on Uluru. Not to be missed!
Sunset on the Kata-Tjuta
Only thirty kilometres from the resort you will find an alternative for the evening. There is a beautiful lookout (Sand Dunes view) to see the sunsets on Kata-Tjuta (with Uluru in the distance). As the shadows of the trees grow longer you will see the rocks turning all shades of red. At this moment everything is ablaze, even the sky!
Exploring Uluru – Day 2
The ‘Base walk’ in the early morning
We highly recommend waking up early, prior to sunrise, to embark on the Uluru base walk. This 10 km circuit wraps around Uluru, providing insightful details about the sacred areas (where photography is prohibited). If you visit the Park in August, which is winter there, the park is adorned with wildflowers, creating a spectacularly beautiful scene.
Experiencing the sunrise at the base of Uluru, accompanied only by silence and a thermos of tea, is truly magical. It’s important to start early, as the site tends to get crowded quickly. The sense of solitude and vastness you’ll experience is absolutely worth the early start!
Free guided tour
The advantage is that you are well awake and fit to take the ‘free guided tour‘ led by a ranger. The appointment is at 10am from the Mala walk. The tour takes around four hours total. Three hours for the guided base walk another 45 minutes to an hour for the ride with the ranger.
The cultural Centre
Stroll to the cultural center of the park. Here you will find lots of information, photos, testimonials and a video report. They provide insight into the chaotic history of Uluru, as well as its importance to the Aboriginal people.
If you ever decide to do some shopping, know that the profits are shared with the Aboriginal people owners of this place, unlike Yulara.
Evening at a free camping spot
Do not hit the road at night to get back though. Spend a last night at the free camping ground to enjoy the breathtaking views of Uluru at sunset. You will be much less close to the rocks compared to the Sand Dune View of Kata Tjuta. However, you will be able to see both formations. Once again, a beautiful display of colours awaits you.
Best period to visit Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park
Uluru and Kata Tjuta are amazing all year round. However, the climate in central Australia varies from season to season.
The best time to go there is between May and September (winter season), when the maximum daytime temperature is between 20 and 30°C. It rains very little and the cool weather makes the walks easier.
The months of October to March (spring – summer) can be extremely hot, with daytime temperatures above 35°C. However, the warm weather also brings thunderstorms and rain, which fills the waterholes and kicks off the Uluru waterfalls – spectacular!
The pass to enter the park is valid for 3 days. You will therefore have to find accommodation not far from the national park to avoid traveling too much each day and wasting time.
There is no accommodation in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The accommodations (campsite, hotel, lodge, etc.) are located in the Ayers Rock complex in Yulara. In addition to accommodation, you will find shops, restaurants and many places to visit on site. Ayers Rock Campground will offer you all the necessary facilities for a comfortable stay (from $45 without electricity in a tent or $190 a night for 2 in a cabin).
Another option, if you continue to drive on Hwy/State Route 4, less than 1 hour from Yulara, the town of Curtin Springs offers the unique experience of camping on a breeding station in full operation.
There is another free option. North of Yulara is a free campsite. If you do not have Wikicamp, just pass Yulara, the mechanic’s road, the airport and after 9km you will see on your right a small sandy road. Do not hesitate to take the road as it is accessible to 4WD as well as 2WD vans. If you have a 4WD you can ride the dunes which offers a breathtaking view of Uluru and Kata-Tjuta. If your vehicle can not deal with this kind of off roading climb on foot and mount your tent up in the dunes! The nights can be a bit chilly, but seeing the sunrise, sunset as well as the Milky Way stretching over Uluru will make you forget everything.
Where to eat?
In Yulara, you have an IGA supermarket, restaurants, cafes and everything you might require to stock up. There is also a gas station, keep your IGA receipt if you shop there as it entitles you to a discount of 4ct on the next full tank!
If you are lazy one night and what a barbecue we tested the Outback Pioneer Kitchen. For 35 AUD you will have an assortment of meat (kangaroo, emu, crocodile) and access to the salad bar. It also has live music. The atmosphere is good and the staff is friendly.