Things to do in Uluru

Things to do in  Uluru

The spiritual heart of Australia

Smack in the middle of the Australian Outback is a truly massive hunk of rock—and one of the country’s most iconic landmarks: Uluru. Also known by its Western name (Ayers Rock), the sandstone monolith is the top draw in the vast, desert expanse of the Red Centre. The sacred sight magnetizes travelers eager to see a truly ancient edifice (it’s thought to have started forming 550 million years ago) and its daily light shows: The rock appears to change color—from charcoal to purple to crimson to ochre—with every sunrise and sunset. Some of the best things to do in the area include helicopter rides, camping, and walking the base of Uluru with an Indigenous guide.

Top 15 attractions in Uluru

Uluru (Ayers Rock)

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A gigantic monolith of rust-red rock looming over the desert plains of the Australian Outback, Uluru (Ayers Rock) is more than just a postcard icon—it’s the cultural, spiritual, and geographical heart of Australia, one of its most impressive natural wonders, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.More

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

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The UNESCO-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is an iconic Australian destination with two of the country’s most striking natural landmarks: Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the Olgas (Kata Tjuta). A sacred site, the park is co-managed by the Anangu and the government. Watch the sun come up, and learn about Anangu culture and traditions.More

Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

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Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, the mighty Ayers Rock (Uluru), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park. This natural wonder, comprising 36 domed red rocks looming up from the desert plains, is a spectacular sight and one of the highlights of Australia’s Red Centre.More

Standley Chasm (Angkerle Atwatye)

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Soaring 260 feet (80 meters) high and narrowing to just 10 feet (3 meters) wide, the red sandstone Standley Chasm is one of the West MacDonnell Ranges’ most striking features. A sacred site known to the Arrernte people as Angkerle Atwatye, it’s a trailhead on the Larapinta Trail with various hiking (bushwalking) options.More

MacDonnell Ranges

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The MacDonnell Ranges are a 400-mile (644-kilometer) stretch of mountains offering spectacular views and some of the top natural attractions in Australia’s Northern Territory. Visit the ranges to experience Simpson’s Gap, Standley Chasm, and the secluded water holes of Serpentine Gorge and Ellery Creek Big Hole.More

Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre

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Owned and operated by the Anangu, the traditional owners of Ayers Rock (Uluru, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre offers a place for visitors to discover the myths, legends, and cultural heritage of Australia’s most famous monolith. Just south of the UNESCO-listed landmark, the cultural centre is filled with art galleries, fascinating exhibitions, and multimedia displays.More

Sounds of Silence

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A highlight of any visit to Australia’s Red Centre, the Sounds of Silence is an unforgettable way to discover Uluru (Ayers Rock). From watching a romantic sunset over this nature's made landmark to dining beneath the desert's bright stars—it’s an outback experience like no other.More

West MacDonnell Ranges

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Towering red-rock canyons, wildflower-filled gorges, and weathered mountain peaks make up the West MacDonnell Ranges, which stretch west of Alice Springs over an area of 1,240 square miles (2,000 square kilometers. The wild landscapes afford ample opportunities for outdoor activities and harbor a wide variety of wildlife and a rich Aboriginal heritageMore

Ormiston Gorge

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One of the star attractions of central Australia’s West MacDonnell Ranges, Ormiston Gorge has stark red walls that house an almost permanent waterhole and attractive ghost gum trees. Facilities include a visitor center, a campground, and a kiosk, while the gorge forms the trailhead for sections 9 and 10 of the Larapinta Trail.More

Walpa Gorge (Olga Gorge)

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Far less crowded than popular Uluru/Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta (the Olgas is where the Aboriginal Anangu people still practice cultural ceremonies. Walpa Gorge offers visitors the shortest and easiest trail in Kata Tjuta. For what it lacks in length, however, it makes up for in dramatic views overlooking some three dozen sandstone domes.More

Mala Walk

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Following dusty desert paths around the north-western edge of Ayers Rock (Uluru, the Mala Walk offers a chance to see the mighty landmark up close. The short and accessible trail runs to the Kantju Gorge, passing beneath the towering red rock walls of Uluru and dotted with ancient Aboriginal rock art sites.More

Watarrka National Park

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Australia's Watarrka National Park protects one of the Northern Territory’s most legendary destinations: Kings Canyon. It's a rocky red desert park of rugged geological formations and sheer-edged sandstone gorges plummeting to waterholes and unexpected oases of cycad palms. Walking trails lead to lookouts for views over the canyon, and there are picnic tables at the sunset-viewing area and Kathleen Springs.More

Curtin Springs

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This cattle station (ranch in Australia’s “Red Centre” is bigger than the state of Rhode Island. Curtin Springs is a welcome, comfortable stop on the road leading west toward Uluru/Ayers Rock. Most travelers who stay here use it as a base for exploring Uluru, Kata Tjuta, and Kings Canyon, ,thereby escaping higher prices and crowds found near the rock.More

Valley of the Winds

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Like a vein through the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park, the rugged Valley of the Winds trail is a scenic, mind-bending journey. It’s a spot where the silence can often seem deafening—even in busier times of year—and the sun bathes the rocky Olgas in a deep, reddish hue. More
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Tnorala/Gosse Bluff Conservation Reserve

Tnorala/Gosse Bluff Conservation Reserve

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In a landscape strewn with otherworldly formations, Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) Conservation Reserve stands out. An almost perfectly circular crater measuring 3 miles (5 kilometers) across and surrounded by 650-foot (200-meter) rock walls, it’s the last traces of a comet or asteroid that smashed into the ground around 140 million years ago.More

All about Uluru

When to visit

Uluru is right in the middle of the Northern Territory desert and experiences a typical outback climate: scorching hot, wet summers and dry, mild winters with warm days and cold nights. Most travelers will find it more comfortable to visit during the cooler months, between May and September. Summers have their own charm, however, as heavy rain and storms fill waterholes and create waterfalls on Uluru’s rock face. As most activities around Uluru are outdoors, avoid the heat of the day in any season.

Getting around

You’ll need your own vehicle to get around Uluru and the surrounding Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park; most travelers pick up a rental car at the airport unless they’re on a cross-country road trip. The roads around Uluru are all sealed, so there’s no need for a 4-wheel drive for regular on-road sightseeing. If you don’t want to rent a car, guided tours and a hop-on hop-off bus service fill the gap, but there’s no other public transport in the area.

Traveler tips

While Uluru is the most famous monolith in this part of Australia, it’s by no means the only interesting rock formation. Don’t miss the red domes of Kata Tjuta (also called the Olgas) in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, hiking in Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park, or taking a 4-wheel-drive tour to Curtin Springs to check out flat-topped Mount Conner.

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People Also Ask

Why is Uluru so special?

Uluru, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks. To the Pitjantjatjara (the Aboriginal people of the area, known as the Anangu) who are the traditional custodians of the rock, Uluru is a sacred cultural landscape and the resting place for the ancestors’ spirits.

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What can visitors do when they visit Uluru?

Visitors can walk or take a camel tour around Uluru’s base—a popular time to do this is at sunrise or sunset, when the sun creates a dazzling display of shifting colors on the rock. Alfresco dinner at sunset is another popular activity.

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How many days do you need in Uluru?

Three days is the perfect length of time to spend exploring Uluru and its surroundings. That gives you enough time to see it at both sunrise and sunset; visit the cultural center; see the Kata Tjuta rock formations; and add in a couple of special activities such as a camel ride, helicopter tour, or sunset dinner.

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Why isn’t Uluru called Ayers Rock anymore?

Ayers Rock was a name imposed by Europeans in the 19th century, but the Pitjantjatjara people had used the name Uluru for thousands of years prior to that. When Uluru’s land was returned to the Pitjantjatjara people in 1985, the name returned as well.

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What are you not allowed to do at Uluru?

You are not allowed to climb Uluru. This is a sacred site with deep cultural meaning for Aboriginal people, who consider climbing on it to be deeply offensive. People were climbing on Uluru for many years until it was finally banned in 2017.

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Where do I go after Uluru?

After you’ve experienced Uluru, you should visit the 36 giant rock domes of Kata Tjuta, a 30-minute drive from Uluru. Other activities to consider include hiking around Kings Canyon in the Watarrka National Park; exploring Finke Gorge National Park; and bushwalking in the MacDonnell Ranges.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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