Visiting the Australian Outback is on most traveller’s to do list, but no other place is that more true than the bucket list must; a visit to Uluru. You can either fly straight in to Uluru airport (from cities like Melbourne and Sydney) or choose to first visit the outback town of Alice Springs, followed by a lengthy road trip between the two with a stop in at King’s Canyon on the way. Given that Australia is all about the adventure itself, we chose to drove from “Alice” through to Uluru and see much of the outback along the way.
Checking in: Sails in the Desert
Thankfully there are loads of accommodations on offer in Uluru which cater to different budgets and experiences. The crowning jewel of these is Longitude 131, an uber-luxe boutique retreat with just a few tented rooms.
Next on the list is the five star Sails in the Desert, a comfortable resort style hotel with all the amenities one would expect: a pool (you’ll need it!), gym, spa, rooms with a view of the rock, an elaborate buffet breakfast and a few restaurants to choose from. This is where we checked ourselves into for a more than comfortable stay for a few nights in Uluru.
There is also a four star hotel – Desert Gardens Hotel, followed by some great choices for backpackers and campers including Outback Pioneer Lodge and the Ayers Rock Campground.
Dot painting Workshop
For things to do in Uluru, there is much more to see and do beyond the rock (although that is the clear highlight). First, I really enjoyed my dot painting workshop class with a local indigenous lady named Christine who shared her knowledge about the history of the artwork and how different symbols represent different things. We also got to make our own painting which was a really nice keepsake to return home with.
Another great activity is to join a camel tour. I wasn’t aware before I arrived in Uluru that Australia actually has a HUGE population of 1 million camels-gone-rogue (they aren’t native to Australia but were instead brought over from the Middle East). These camels at the farm are extremely well looked after given the harsh environment of the outback and the many problems they face in the wild. The tours are also really informative and of course fun!
Sounds of Silence Dinner
Then there is of course the Sounds of Silence evening which really shouldn’t be missed – this is the most popular attraction in the area for good reason! The evening starts as you are collected from your hotel to either drive to the site (or camel ride as we did) where canapes and glasses of champagne await your arrival, followed by a three-course buffet meal, cultural dance and astronomy lesson. The evening starts at $195 per person but is an evening to remember!
Last but not least, an absolute highlight was to see Uluru from above and appreciate the sheer size of the rock. It is quite a different experience to see Uluru up close as it is to see it from above – as well as flying around Kata Tjuta at sunset.
Viewing Platforms: Sunrise & Sunset
Then of course there are those iconic shots of Uluru in the background – which are taken from the sunrise and sunset viewing platforms. A little handy hint: you don’t have to stick to said viewing platforms (i.e. if you visit the sunset platform at sunrise you will have it almost all to yourself). During the day you can wander around the rock at leisure and see it up close.
World of Wanderlust was welcomed to Outback Australia with Tourism NT – Visit their site for more ideas on visiting the Outback!