Uluru is best accessed from Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, where you can learn to throw boomerangs, watch Wakagetti dancers and take dot-painting workshops. Travel to the iconic rock by Uluru Express Shuttle. Get up early for a Desert Awakenings tour to watch the sun rise over Uluru with a cooked breakfast, easily followed by a visit to the Cultural Centre and an Uluru Camel Tour over the sand dunes. Finish your day with the Sounds of Silence evening experience and a special stargazing presentation. A few hours’ drive from Uluru, Kings Canyon is best explored early in the day to escape the heat. Test your hiking skills on the easy Creek Walk before attempting the steep Rim Walk to the top of the canyon. Back at Kata Tjuta there are also several trails including the Valley of the Winds circuit or a shorter walk to Karu and Karingana lookouts.
Uluru For Every Age
An essential part of any visit to Uluru by children is for them to learn about its significance to its traditional owners, the Unungu people. One of the best places for young children to do this is at the Yulara Town Centre. Here Indigenous storytellers share stories and legends about Aboriginal history, culture and traditional techniques used on the land. Family friendly Ayers Rock Resort also offers a series of engaging and fun tours designed for families where kids can try their hand at dot painting or learn how to throw a boomerang. There’s also a chance to get up close with some of the creatures that call the area home at the Red Desert Reptiles Show, and an afternoon workshop with Wakagetti Cultural Dancers where little ones can learn the meaning behind Indigenous dances as they hone their dance skills.
At the Uluru Cultural Centre the local Anangu people share the stories of their ancestors in a way that is accessible and fun for kids. The Anangu are guided by Tjukurpa (law) to hold culture sacred. Many of the sites around Uluru and Kata Tjuta are so hallowed that it forbidden for the people to speak of them, but there are still many fascinating stories to be told. A favourite with kids is the story of the creation of Uluru by a group of ten ancestral spirits including Kuniya the woma python woman and Liru the venomous snake man who emerged from the void during the Dreamtime. After dark, there are even more stories to hear as billions of stars paint the dessert sky. Ayers Rock Resort offers a Family Astro Tour where a resident astronomer explains how ancient cultures used the night sky for both orientation and the basis of their legends.
Alice Springs Desert Park is a fantastic spot for families to experience first-hand the Red Centre’s amazing diversity with Aboriginal guides leading visitors on walking trails through three desert botanical habitats, free-flying bird shows and a collection of rare and endangered nocturnal animals. For an animal encounter of a different kind, Frontier Camel Farm offers family camel safaris through their date gardens. Another eye-opening experience for kids is a stop at The Alice Springs School of the Air Visitor Centre, where kids can see how, through radio and the internet, the children of the remote areas of Central Australia are able to access education. And at The Earth Sanctuary, enjoy a day or night tour of the outback, the most popular being the Earth’s Cool Tour. Designed for kids, this fabulous tour focuses on sustainability and how to reduce our impact on the planet.
One of the most fun ways to explore Uluru is as the early pioneers did – on the back of a camel. If you prefer your transport with wheels, and less inclined to spit and stink, why not take a Harley Davidson tour of Uluru and Uluru’s stunning sister range, Kata Tjuta. If you’re feeling energetic, rent a bicycle and ride the 9.4-kilometre circumference of the rock at your own pace. If you’re after an extreme view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, why not see them from above on a scenic helicopter tour or on an exhilarating dawn hot air balloon flight which will take in the desert’s best sights as the sun rises. And if you dare, why not check out The Rock as you fall screaming from the sky on an awesome adrenalin pumping tandem sky dive!
Things to do in Uluru
Uluru Travel Info
The Red Centre is filled with bucket list sights, here are 10 of the best. 1. Listen to ancient tales from the local Anangu people at Uluru Cultural Centre. 2. Watch Uluru’s spectacular changes of colours at sunrise or sunset. 3. Experience the desert from the back of a camel. 4. Visit the Alice Springs School of the Air. 5. Learn how to reduce your impact on the planet on an Earth’s Cool Tour. 6. Go star spotting on a Family Astro Tour. 7. Enjoy a close encounter of the wild kind at the Red Desert Reptiles Show. 8. Get hands on at a dot painting workshop. 9. Discover Central Australia’s diverse wildlife at Alice Springs Desert Park. 10. Explore the domed rock formations or Kata Tjuta.
The Anangu Aboriginal people believe there are five, not four, seasons at Uluru, characterised by extremes. Whatever time of year you can expect hot days and cool nights, so you’ll need to pack accordingly. While it is hot during the daytime all year around, Summer temps can hit a whopping 50 degrees Celsius, winter can see night time temperatures drop to lows in minus figures. It is extremely important to plan your family holiday to the Red Centre to coincide with the most kid-friendly weather, especially if travelling with younger children. The best time to visit is between April and September when the weather is milder, there is little chance of rain, and the colours of the rock are at their most vibrant. Whatever time of year you visit, be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, hats and water bottles to stay hydrated.
The modern town of Alice Springs’ food scene caters to every taste and budget with a variety of cuisines from Asian and Mediterranean flavours to wild bush tucker. There are no shortage of restaurants and cafes offering menus and entertainment for the kids either. In Uluru, take a bush tucker tour to learn about and experience native flavours. There are a selection of restaurants in Yulara Town Centre including a café and Asian cuisine at Ayers Wok. The Outback Pioneer BBQ Bar is the place for cook-your-own steaks and all you can eat salads in a kid friendly beer garden. The ultimate experience for kids over 10 years of age is Sounds of Silence, where you dine on a bush tucker inspired buffet under a sparkling outback sky while listening to the sounds of the didgeridoo. Afterwards a resident star talker will decode the southern night sky.
While there is a fee to enter Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, once you’ve paid most activities are free. The park’s Cultural Centre is a great spot for kids to learn and hear about local Indigenous culture and history. And pack your walking shoes for the variety of incredible walks. The Uluru Base Walk is a 10.6-kilometre flat loop around the base of Ayers Rock which takes around three hours, while the shorter Kuniya Walk is wheelchair accessible and will only take around 45 minutes. The Valley of the Winds Walk is one of the best walks in Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, but will take around 3 hours and may be closed on extremely hot days. Ayers Rock Resort also offers a variety of free activities for guests, including guided native garden walks, bush yarns at the Circle of Sand with a local Aboriginal storyteller, and bush tucker demonstrations. The Wintjiri Arts + Museum showcases Indigenous artists and you can watch artists at work.
Field of Light – every night until 31 March 2018 – The exhibition sees more than 50,000 slender stems crowned with radiant frosted-glass light spheres light up the desert at night. APRIL Tjungu Festival – Enjoy a celebration of the best of Australian Indigenous culture. MAY Uluru Camel Cup – Come to the camel races for fashions on the field, an outback barbecue and family entertainment. JUNE Beanie Festival – Find your perfect hat from the more than 4,000 beanies on display. JULY Lasseters Camel Cup – Enjoy camel racing and outback events suitable for the whole family. AUGUST Henley-on-Todd Regatta – This fun dry “boat” race is held on the sandy bed of the Todd River in Alice Springs. AUGUST Alice Desert Festival – Experience dance and music performances from Aboriginal artists and contemporary acts. SEPTEMBER Parrtjima – This free 10-night festival of light transforms Alice Springs into a unique outdoor gallery. OCTOBER Uluru Astronomy Weekend – Astronomy enthusiasts of all ages can discover the spectacular Australian outback sky at this popular event.