Ayers Rock, or Uluru as it’s known to the traditional Anangu owners, is a massive sandstone monolith in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre—the physical and spiritual center of the country. Ayers Rock and the nearby Kata Tjuta rock formations have been significant in traditional ceremonies and rites of passage for over 10,000 years.
Aboriginal guides having a campfire at Ayers Rock. Image: Tourism Australia
Today, Ayers Rock is one of Australia’s top natural wonders, drawing many visitors throughout the year. Sunrise and sunset tours allow you to watch in awe as Ayers Rock changes colors in the shifting light, from burnt orange to fiery red to deep purple. Combined with the remote and rugged outback landscape, it makes for a truly iconic Australian experience.
Our team of Australia travel specialists have visited the Red Centre several times, so we’ve compiled this Ayers Rock travel guide with everything you need to know before you go!
How do I get to Ayers Rock?
Ayers Rock is located in the Red Centre of Australia, far from major cities. The easiest way to get here is to fly to Ayers Rock Airport; most hotels in the area provide airport transfers. Its remote surroundings will make you feel as if you’re riding into a scene out of Star Wars!
We do not recommend self-driving to Ayers Rock as a tourist, as it is so remote and the landscape is quite harsh; you certainly don’t want to blow out a tire in the middle of the scorching hot outback! If you wish to visit some other outback destinations as well, like Alice Springs or Kings Canyon, you can enjoy multi-day tours with comfortable transportation in an air conditioned coach bus.
When is the best time to go to Ayers Rock?
The best time to visit Ayers Rock is May through September. This is Australia’s winter, so the temperatures are more bearable at this time of year.
Ayers Rock is located in the desert, so the climate is characterized by extremes: hot days and cold nights. It can be especially hot in the summer (December through February), and guests may be bothered by flies and pests. You can still travel during this time, but be cautious for higher temperatures during the middle of the day.
Raising a glass to Ayers Rock at sunset. Image courtesy of Vanessa Massey
What can you do at Ayers Rock?
We suggest spending 2-3 nights in the Red Centre, as there’s plenty to do! Here are some of our favorite activities at Ayers Rock:
- Take a camel ride through the outback and witness Ayers Rock changing colors at sunrise or sunset
- Enjoy an Aboriginal-guided tour of Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta to learn about the area’s cultural and spiritual significance
- Witness the majestic landscape from above in a helicopter
- Ride through the rugged outback on a motorcycle
- Enjoy a gourmet dining experience under the stars (our favorite is the Tali Wiru dinner)
- Visit the incredible Field of Light art installation at the base of Ayers Rock
- Learn about Aboriginal heritage with a traditional dot painting workshop
For many years, the local Anangu people have requested that visitors not climb Ayers Rock, although it was still technically allowed. As of October 2019, climbing Ayers Rock will be officially prohibited. In the local culture, this trek up Ayers Rock holds great spiritual significance.
Sunrise camel tour in the outback. Image: Luxury Lodges of Australia
Field of Light lit up under a starry sky. Image: Voyages Australia
Where should I stay when visiting Ayers Rock?
Due to the remote location, there is no real town to stay in, but there are some fabulous resorts that contain everything you need, including restaurants, spas, boutique shops, art galleries, supermarkets, and plenty of activities. Our favorite hotels and resorts at Ayers Rock are:
- Desert Gardens Hotel: This lovely hotel on the Ayers Rock Resort compound offers rooms with views of Uluru, as well as poolside rooms.
- Sails in the Desert Hotel: Sails in the Desert is the premium hotel at Ayers Rock Resort, offering an elevated experience compared to Desert Gardens.
- Longitude 131°: For a VIP Ayers Rock experience, stay at Longitude 131°. This intimate, eco-luxe camp features dramatic views and the utmost privacy. Think of it as 5-star glamping!
View of Ayers Rock from a room at Longitude 131°. Image: Luxury Lodges of Australia
Looking to experience the magic of Ayers Rock and Australia’s outback? Give us a call today at 888-229-0082 and let our luxury travel designers handcraft your dream adventure!