Ayers Rock hotels
What travelers to Ayers Rock are saying
Awesome Ayers Rock
Ayers Rock, better known these days as Uluru, is one of the most important sites on Aussie soil – and not just because it is now World Heritage-listed.
‘The Rock’ sits in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a place that is definitely worth exploring. When you visit the Olgas/Kata Tjuta (and you really, really need to), make sure you go on the Valley of the Winds Walk, a 7km (4.3 miles) track that will take you through the most unbelievable spots. And while you’re in the region, don’t forget to hit up the Kalpa Lookout for a phenomenal view. If you’re not down/fit enough for a 7km hike, the much shorter 1.5km (0.9miles) Olga Gorge Walk is an option. Watarrka National Park is another desert treat. Spy on native wildlife while you (safely) soak up the rays from that big ball of fire in the sky.
Ayers Rock Top 10
10. Haasts Bluff Check out the huge hill (also called Haasts Bluff) and mingle with the friendly locals in this arty area.
5. Aboriginal Heritage Tour Take a tour with a super-knowledgeable Aboriginal guide and learn about Uluru’s cultural significance.
9. Camel ride They’re stinky and bumpy, but a sunset camel ride through the arid desert is something you’ll never forget.
4. Yulara This cute neighbouring town has a bunch of art galleries to explore, as well as some rustic drinking holes to hit.
8. Kings Canyon Hands down, best canyon ever! Go on the Rim Walk for a scary-but-awesome view of down below.
3. Helicopter ride Once you’ve explored around Uluru, why not hover above it for a real eye-opening perspective? It’s fun!
7. Lake Amadeus Less a lake and more a big, crusty mass of salt. Sounds icky, but is actually pretty magnificent to see.
2. Kata Tjuta Also known as ‘The Olgas’, these domed rock formations are awesome. So go exploring!
6. Hermannsburg Visit this nearby town for a big fat dose of history and stunning scenery. Visit the open-air museum (Historical District), Palm Valley and Finke Gorge National Park.
1. Uluru Whether you climb it (frowned on by the traditional owners) or stand slack-jawed watching it change colour at sunset, you have to experience the magic.
Ayers Rock History
- Anangu Culture - About 5,000 years ago, hunter-gatherer tribes designated responsibilities for the care of specific grounds to aboriginal social groups, which led to a rise in population growth and advancement of society.
- Gosse - the famous explorer who named Ayers Rock after the chief secretary of New South Wales.
- Ernest Giles - Named Kata Tjuta after Queen Olga of Württemberg.
- 20th Century - The Commonwealth, South Australian and West Australian governments declared reserves at Uluru as sanctuaries for Anangu speakers.
- 1958 - The Southwest Reserve became Ayers Rock-Mount Olga National Park and began to run as an Anangu-owned enterprise.
Ayers Rock Art & Culture
- Papunya Tula Artist’s Galleries - Aboriginal art with traditional body and sand paintings representative of ceremony and dreamtime creation stories are on display.
- Maruku Arts - Craft company owned by the Anangu to assist craftspeople in the marketing and promotion of their work.
- Ntaria Arts - Display of silk paintings in the Women’s Cultural Centre.
- Keringke Arts - Working art studio and direct-sales outlet for canvas and ceramic works, furniture and guitars.
- Uluru Cultural Centre - Offers information about activities, tours and an introduction to Anangu culture at Ayers Rock.
Ayers Rock Shopping
- Ininti Café & Souvenirs – Shop for gifts, books, videos, Anangu clothing and refreshments.
- Bough House Restaurant - Modern Australian cuisine at Ayers Rock Resort.
- Sounds of Silence - Award-winning gourmet barbeque buffet and spirits under the stars in the Red Centre.
- Uluru Photography - Portrait and landscape photography services.
- Shirt Shop - Reasonably priced souvenirs, postcards and gifts.
Gay & Lesbian Ayers Rock
- Rainbow Tourism – Accredited gay and lesbian accommodations.
- Throb Nightclub - Gay, lesbian and mixed audience nightclub with live music and dance music in Darwin, North Territory, near Ayers Rock.
- Novotel Outback, Alice Springs - Resort hotel located at the heart of the Red Centre, with an award-winning restaurant and pool in the North Territory.
- Wayoutback Desert Safaris - Gay-friendly tour operators in the outback offering tours of Ayers Rock.
- Legends Nightclub - Spirits in Alice Springs.
Ayers Rock Outdoor
- Rock Art Sites - Cave paintings of the ancient Anangu people.
- Sunrise & Sunset Viewing - At the best locations to watch Ayers Rock change from red to purple to brown.
- Walpa Gorge Walk - Observe desert plant and animal life at the base of the Kata Tjuta dunes.
- Take a camel tour from your hotel or resort around the base of Uluru at sunrise or sunset.
- Join a dot-painting workshop and create your own aboriginal artwork at the Cultural Centre with the Anangu people.
Ayers Rock Sport
- Torch Light Fun - Kids play a traditional Anangu game of painting their faces and running outside after dark while holding torches to illuminate their faces and imagine they live in ancient times.
- Anungu Tour - Hear ancient creation stories while learning survival skills, such as starting a fire, sharpening stones and making glue from plants.
- Ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle from your lodging site around the base of Ayers Rock.
- Take a scenic flight via Ayers Rock Helicopters or Professional Helicopter Services for a breathtaking view of Uluru and capture aerial photographs.
- Rent a quad bike and venture to the rugged terrain of King’s Canyon through rock and scrub.
The Country Music Festival in Alice Springs in mid-June is a real treat for those who love their country bumpkin tunes!
July’s Alice Springs Show is one of the NT’s biggest festivals.
Another mammoth event in July is NAIDOC Week. Celebrating the awesomeness of Oz’s indigenous culture and traditions, this week is all about educating, enlightening and having a bloody good time.
Take full advantage of the hot sun with the Alice Prize Arts Festival, held every November.
When To Go
- Summer is pretty damn brutal, with temperatures often top 40°C (104°F). Bring plenty of sun protection – and lots of fly spray!
- On the flipside, Uluru’s winters are quite the frost fest. Expect temps to dip as low as 3°C (37°F) by day and even lower at night.
- Although the area barely sees any rain, if you want a teeny-weeny chance of a refreshing storm, visit in March.
- Having a car is kinda essential when travelling around Ayers Rock, as the attractions are scattered and the shuttle services aren’t that good.
- AAT Kings and Uluru Express run decent shuttle services around the area and The Rock itself, but there aren’t many routes so you probably won’t score too much exploration time.
Ayers Rock Information
Though familiar to most outsiders as Ayers Rock, the paragon symbol of Australia has a more politically correct and culturally relevant name. Uluru, as the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people call it, is without question, the de facto national emblem. A massive sandstone formation, sacred to the Aborignial people of the area for thousands of years, Uluru is at the very heart of Australia and draws millions of visitors to the Northern Territory every year.
About 400 km from the small city of Alice Springs, relative seclusion and desolation have always been part of the iconic landmark's appeal. With mass tourism however, come the usual concerns about preservation and respect. As a result, major efforts have been made to protect not only the precious ecology of Uluru and indeed, the rock formations of Kata Tjuta, but also Aboriginal heritage. The fact that Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is now a vital UNESCO World Heritage Site certainly helps the valuable cause.
Attractions & Activities
Restaurants & Nightlife
The Ayers Rock area has a semi-arid climate, with wide temperature extremes and little rainfall throughout the year.
- Summer (November to February) 17-38°C
- Fall (March to May) 8-33°C
- Winter (June to August) 5-23°C
- Spring (September to October) 9-31°C
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