Things to Do in Uluru

A trip through the heart of Australia's Northern Territory isn't complete without a burl to Uluru, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Alice Springs.

Alice springs Uluru

Nestled in the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, this iconic big rock stands proud at about 348 metres high and a whopping 9.4km around. It's the world's largest sandstone monolith, no less!

Uluru is a cracker of a spot to get a handle on the traditional Anangu culture, soak up the unreal desert sunrise views, and have a go at the heaps of activities and experiences in this culturally loaded landscape smack bang in the middle of the Northern Territory.

Guide to Uluru

While once you could have a crack at climbing Uluru, due to its deep cultural roots, that's not on the cards anymore as of late 2019. And yep, it used to be called Ayers Rock but has since been given back its rightful indigenous name.

But no dramas. There's still loads to do at Uluru and plenty of ways to appreciate this iconic rock!

For just 38 bucks for three days, you snag access to the entire national park with its stunner sunrises, a squiz at the local history at the cultural centre, a close encounter with the cultural site via the Uluru base walk, and a gander at the often overlooked Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park with its diverse flora and fauna in the desert oasis of Walpa Gorge.

With over 100 activities and tours, it's a fair dinkum outback getaway for everyone, but with so much on offer, it might be a bit tricky to know where to start!

So, here's our list of the ten top things to get up to in Uluru!

  1. Catch Uluru at Sunrise

At the top of your to-do list should be watching the sunrise light up Uluru with those iconic red centre hues.

Be sure to hit the road early, allowing at least 30-40 min to drive in and settle in for this magic moment.

Head over to the sunrise carpark and join the crowd at the viewing area, or if you're keen to dodge the masses, bring a chair and your morning cuppa!

Nothing beats sipping your coffee while you kick back and watch the sun drench Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park in beautiful light.

Just before the sun pops over the horizon is when Uluru shines, so be quick with your camera to capture those stunning reds, or you might just miss out!

If you're around for a few days and looking for a different vibe, try the Kata Tjuta sunrise viewing area for another special peek at Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.

From this spot, Uluru is in full shadow but looks like the Aboriginal flag as the sun crests the horizon – a different kind of magic.

  1. Stroll the Uluru Base Walk

Even though you can't climb Uluru anymore, there's a 9.7km loop that skirts around the base, offering the perfect chance to take in the cultural and natural splendour of the park.

Summertime here can see the mercury hitting 47 degrees Celsius, so starting your walk early in the day, right after sunrise, is the way to go.

Park your car in the Mala carpark, and don't forget to slap on sunscreen and carry plenty of water as you explore!

  1. Segway or Cycle

If a foot slog isn't quite your thing, or if you're after a less strenuous option, segway tours and bikes are on offer along this track, too!

You can hire a bike from Outback Cycling by the cultural centre and pedal around the rock.

Or, for something different, why not book an Alice Springs Uluru Tour?

Join a guided segway tour around Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park starting from AUD 159.

  1. Check Out the Mala Walk

Named for the region's nearly vanished Rufous hare wallaby, this easier walk is an absolute must-do in Uluru for folk of all stripes.

Passing through culturally important women’s sites, showcasing rock art, and winding up at Kantju Gorge, it packs a lot into a short distance (2km return).

Alice springs Uluru Tour

Keen to learn more about the park's geology and culture? Make sure you jump on the free ranger-led tour through this area.

The local rangers will give you the lowdown on the area and landmarks of the national park, share creation stories, and answer any questions you've got.

Set up to 1 hour 30 minutes for this ranger-guided tour through Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.

  1. Check Out the Cultural Centre

If you're wondering what to do in Uluru for the ultimate outback adventure, swing by the Cultural Centre to kick things off. It's a top spot to dive into Uluru's history, activities, attractions, local art, artifacts, and heaps more.

You'll find videos that explain the creation stories told throughout the park and get an intro to Anangu culture.

It's also a great place to snag a park map to help you navigate the landscape!

The cultural centre also boasts two Aboriginal-owned art galleries that showcase Anangu art and craft, from paintings to woodwork.

Head over to the galleries to check out the art, watch demos by local Anangu folks, or maybe even pick out a piece to take home and support the local communities and artists.

  1. Have a Go at a Dot Painting Workshop

If the Cultural Centre has got you hooked and you're mad about Aboriginal art and painting, pop into the Maruku Arts dot painting workshop at Ayers Rock Resort.

This workshop is a cracker of an intro to Western Indigenous art and is a top way to learn from local artists about their art and the symbols they use to share various Dreamtime stories.

  1. Explore Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta, or "many heads", comprises 36 massive domes over 20 kilometres.

These rock formations might be less well-known to visitors and travellers, but they stand 200 metres taller than Uluru and are just as culturally significant to the Anangu people.

You can do two walks to explore these stunning formations: The Valley of the Winds and Walpa Gorge.

The Valley of the Winds walk is a longer trek that lets travellers wander among the domes and get up close to these formations.

This walk is a bit challenging in parts, so give yourself up to 4 hours to complete the circuit.

This is also one of the spots in the national park that's important to the local people.

Out of respect, they ask that you don't take photos to help preserve the spiritual traditions of these areas, so be mindful of where you snap a pic.

Walpa Gorge is a much shorter walk, but with its towering cathedral-like walls acting as a desert sanctuary, it's brimming with local flora and fauna to discover.

If you're lucky, you might even spot a wallaroo!

  1. Be Wowed by the Field of Light Installation

This art installation, fittingly named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or 'looking at lots of beautiful lights' in the local Anangu language, was created in 2016 by the internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro.

The installation of 50,000 spheres of light has been extended indefinitely in response to high demand.

Visitors can enjoy wandering and taking in the desert colours at the installation or opt for an exclusive sunrise walking tour for a more private experience.

Wind your way through the maze of colourful, stunning lights as they spread out and intertwine across the desert floor.

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