12 Best Things to do in Uluru (2023 Guide)

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Welcome to the heart of Australia! Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, located in the Northern Territory is an incredible natural wonderland that sits on the postcard of every Australian travellers diary.

If you’re eager to discover the best things to do in Uluru, you’re in for a treat. 

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a captivating destination almost bang smack in the middle of the Australian outback, affectionately known as the red centre.

This vast park is steeped in local history of the Anangu culture, a group of Indigenous Australian peoples who call this special place home.

The two most prominent landmarks here are the famous Uluru and the striking Kata Tjuta rock formations. With its vast, red sandstone iconic monolith and towering domes, the park’s landscape is unlike anything else.

In this guide, we’ll dive deep into all you need to know about the park, from activities to travel essentials, so you’re ready for your adventure’s in the wide Australian outback.

Best things to do in Uluru Quick Travel List

If you’re short on time and want to know the basic points of the best experiences in Uluru you cannot miss, here is a quick run down of them.
 
  • Uluru base Walk

  • See the sunrise over Kata Tjuta

  • Drive from Uluru to Alice Springs

  • Scenic flight in a fixed wing 

  • Field of lights tour

  • Segway tour

  • Valley of the winds tour

  • Explore the hiking trails

  • Dot painting workshop at the cultural centre

  • Mala walk

  • Road trip to Kings Canyon

  • Sounds of Silence dinner

PLAN YOUR AUSTRALIA TRIP>> Find out what what else is on the list of the best things to do in Australia

Our guide to the Best things to do in Uluru

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, situated in the Northern Territory of Australia, is all about natural marvels and unforgettable experiences. 

These ancient rocks that live within the 1300 square kilometres of Uluru and Kata Tjuta national park showcase a remarkable geological history.

Watching Uluru’s colours change at sunrise and sunset is pure magic, but more interestingly, to date, the night time skies of the outback here in Uluru have been some of the best we have ever witnessed in the entire worldThis is due to the low humidity and naturally low ambient light in the park.

Hiking to their bases offers a close encounter with these giant sandstone formations.

Local guides bring these rocks to life with stories that blend culture and geology.

Now, if you’re wondering about things to do in Uluru, from stargazing under the outback sky to exploring ancient landscapes, this guide has you covered for an adventure like no other.

How to get to Uluru kata Tjuta national park

Traveling to Uluru is an adventure in itself, as it’s situated in the remote Australian outback. The nearest major town is Alice Springs, located approximately 450 kilometres (280 miles) to the northeast. To reach Uluru, you have several options:

  • By Air: The fastest way to reach Uluru is by flying. Ayers Rock Airport (also known as Connellan Airport) is the closest airport, offering regular flights from major Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. 

Melbourne to Uluru (3 hours flight)
Adelaide to Uluru (6 hours, there is no direct flight) 
Sydney to Uluru (3 hours + 20 minutes)
Perth to Uluru (11-12 hours, no direct flights) 
Darwin to Uluru (2 hours, 50 minutes to Alice Springs, 11 hours non-direct)
-Brisbane to Uluru (5 hours + 55 min) 
  • Road Trips: Many travellers opt for road trips to Uluru. You can embark on an epic outback journey, experiencing the vast landscapes and unique attractions along the way. The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru is a popular route, with well-maintained roads and opportunities to explore the region’s beauty. You’ll find car rental services and shuttles for convenient transport to the park, or you can find the best deals over on Booking.com

  • Guided Tours: Joining a guided tour is an excellent way to explore Uluru. Various tour operators offer packages that include transportation, accommodation, and guided experiences. These tours provide a hassle-free way to discover the national park.

  • Public Transport: While not as common, some bus services operate between Alice Springs and Uluru. These options are typically more budget-friendly but may take longer than other methods so we dont really advise this option as it gets really hot here.

The traditional owners of the land

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park isn’t just about its jaw-dropping scenery – it’s also steeped in fascinating culture. The Anangu people, the folks who’ve been here for ages, have this special connection to the land that’s super deep. Plus, there’s more to explore nearby at Watarrka National Park.

Start your journey at the Cultural Centre; it’s like this cool info hub on all things Anangu, their history, and traditions. Don’t miss the Aboriginal cultural tours. They spill the beans on the stories, art, and why the rocks around here are a big deal.

There’s more to see at Watarrka nearby with Kings Canyon, which is like nature’s own wonderland. When you’re scoping out the best things to do in Uluru and beyond, getting into this cultural groove makes your journey all the more amazing.

You need an Uluru Park pass

In order to explore the best Uluru activities you’ll need to purchase a park pass which can be purchased online for quick and easy entry.

Purchasing a park pass helps Parks Australia maintain the facilities, preserve World Heritage sites and support Traditional Owners and the communities that live here.

Children under 18 dont need a park pass but all other adults will pay $38 AUD for 3 days, or you can purchase an annual pass for $50 if you plan on returning to the red centre later.

How many days is enough in Uluru

If you plan ahead and want to make the most out of the shortest time we personally recommend 3 days is an ideal amount of time to spend in Uluru.

Our top 3 things to do in Uluru would be:

1) Dinner under the stars + field of lights tour

2) Walk the base of Uluru

3) Drive to Kings Canyon

You can easily plan to knock off all three activities in 3 days and if you need a rental car when you arrive at the airport then check out these rental car deals on Rentalcars.com

Whats the best time to visit Uluru

The summer months from December to February are the busiest and hottest with average daily temperatures of 35° celcius making it very uncomfortable to hike in.

Between May and September is the ideal time to visit Uluru when the weather is cool (20-30°C) and very little rain.

READ NEXT >> Head to our Australia Travel Guide for the best travel tips

Can I walk on Uluru

You cannot walk on Uluru.

This has been closed to the public for some time, although visitors still ignore the rules, we advise to obey by the local customs and respect the wishes of the Anangu people by sticking to the walking tracks at the base.

12 Best Things To Do in Uluru

Now that you’ve got an idea of where you going, lets get stuck into our comprehensive list of the best things to do in Uluru.

Uluru base walk

If you’re looking to travel to Uluru and climb this sacred site then you will be very disappointed as Parks Australia have closed all activities that involve climbing Uluru.

However you can still walk around the base of Uluru, where you’ll learn about the ancient stories and appreciate the rock art that has been here for thousands of years.

If you’re planning on doing this hike at your own pace however we recommend an early morning start because temperatures here can reach almost 50 degrees during the day time.

Learn about traditional Aboriginal culture in the cultural arts centre afterwards and as the day transitions into night, enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner with a glass of sparkling wine whilst watching the sun set behind Uluru, making it one of the best Uluru attractions.

Opening hours: The base walk is open daily.

Best time to visit: early morning or late evening to avoid the heat

Things to do in Uluru
The glow on the rock jsut before sunrise - Tourism Australia

See Uluru at sunrise

One of the top things to do in Uluru is to simply see the sunrise over the landscape and see the colours of both the sky and the land change and morph into something magical.

The best times to view sunrise are generally 1 hour to 30 minutes before sun rise during golden hour, with a coffee in hand of course.

The rock is in full glow and lit up completely just before the sunrise bounces over the horizon so this is the perfect time to take your morning photo.

There are five official spots to view sunrise from both your car and on foot:

  • Uluru car sunset viewing area

  • Uluru bus sunset viewing area

  • Talinguru Nyakunytjatku

  • Kata Tjuta dune viewing area or

  • Kata Tjuta sunset viewing area

There are a myriad of other spots to view sun rise (and sunset) from like the many free walking tracks around the park including the Liru walk and north east face walk.

Day Trip to Uluru from Alice Springs

Embark on an exciting day trip from Alice Springs to experience the heart of Australia. From Uluru’s awe-inspiring presence to the intriguing domes of Kata Tjuta, this journey is packed with discovery.

A full-day tour offers the most convenient way to explore the wonders of the Red Centre, starting early in the morning and returning in the evening.

If you’re planning on doing a day trip from Alice Springs to Ayers rock resort bear in mind this is a 4 hour an 45 minute drive and there’s only one road in and out so be sure to pack plenty of water and food for the drive.

If you’d like to know what you can do in Uluru to experience the true outback in style, you should consider trying a Harley Davidson motorcycle tour – make sure you check their website for availability and when they run tours. 

Opening hours: Recommend to start early to make the most of your day

Best time to visit: May to September to avoid the heat and crowds.

READ NEXT >> Uluru is only one of the many incredible places Australia has to offer

Scenic Flight in a Fixed-Wing

Take to the skies from Ayers Rock Airport for a mesmerising scenic flight over Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

If you’re ever wondering what to do in Uluru that doesn’t involve a walk in the soaring heat then this may be the perfect thing for you.

With the most spectacular views of the iconic rock from the sky and the 36 rock domes that stand 546 metres above the sky, the unmistakeable landscape of this 40 minute flight unfolds beneath you and you truly get a sense of just how vast the land is – it’s one of our favourite things to do at Uluru.

If you prefer to jump out of such plane then why not strap on a parachute and go for a tandem skydive to give you one of the most impressive views of them all.

What to do in Uluru
Tourism Australia

Field of Lights tour

One of the most highly sought after activities in Uluru is the Field of lights art installation, located at Ayers Rock Resort in the Northern Territory.

Originally created by British artist Bruce Munro in 2016, this captivating art installation is a collection of 50,000 individual stems with glowing, frosted glass spheres, each radiating an array of colours. 

As the sun dips below the horizon and the outback sky darkens, the Field of Lights comes to life, transforming into a surreal wonderland.

Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Anangu language brightens up the southern night sky and visitors here are treated to an incredible night of star talk, star gazing and you’ll even be able to see the southern cross from where you are.

Location: Ayres Rock Resort (177 Yulara drive, Yulara)

Hours: The tours run from 5pm -10 pm

Segway Tour

Experience the outback on two wheels with a Segway tour around the base of Ayers Rock. Glide effortlessly across the landscapes, immersing yourself in the natural beauty while having the a blast – led by qualified and informative guides.

Be taken to a secret water hole known as Mutitjulu waterhole, and the best part about your entire activity is that it’s environmentally friendly, with zero emissions from the Segways themselves.

Included in your segway tour is pick up from your hotel at Ayres Rock Resort so you dont have to worry about how to get there.

Segway tours are available during daylight hours, with varying schedules to accommodate different preferences.

Valley of the winds tour
Go on a a tour of the Olgas and domes - Tourism Australia

Valley of the Winds Tour

The Winds walk or Valley of the Winds tour as its known is a remarkable 2-3 hour walking tour that begins bright and early for sunrise at the Kata Tjuta dune viewing area west of Yulara.

Your driver and guide gives a brief explanation of the surrounding landscape and prepares you for your half day adventure as your hike through to the Karu lookout and Karingana lookout.

We’ve personally done this tour the last time we were here and it gets very hot during the day but the rock formations and hidden places are just stunning – plus we found it never really became over crowded so we enjoyed the serentiy. 

This particular hike can take anywhere up to 4 hours to do if you’re not on a tour so make sure you’re well prepared.

Walpa gorge, meaning ‘windy gorge’ is not far from here and is a much easier hike taht will take about 1 hour to do if you’re wondering what to do at Uluru.

There are lots of rare plants and fauna that live in Walpa Gorge, guarded from the dry outback sun creating a desert refuge for these native flora and fauna like Spearwood trees and pink Daisies, and uf youre lucky some Wallaroo bouncing around.

Due to the culturally sensitive nature of this sacred site, the Anangu peoples ask that you keep both sides of the Gorge in frame whenever you photograph/video the area.

Opening hours: The Valley of the winds is open all day

Best time to visit: early morning or late evening to avoid the heat

 

Go on hikes

Asides from guided walks there are a ton of hiking tracks and paths for both the beginner hiker and the adventurous amongst us.

As long as you have a map on your phone, or a physical map from the visitor centre and plenty of drinking water, you can really get out there and make the most of these free hiking trails.

To be clear, all of the walks mentioned below form a part of the Uluru walking track and are all within the same rock formation.

Asides from the ones we’ve already mentioned there’s the Liru walk that winds through a Mulga forest connects the cultural centre with the base of Uluru.

The north east face walk is the longest open stretch of the Uluru base walk that has a ton of increidble and mysterious rock formations.

One of the lesser travelled sections is the Lungkata hike which connects the Kuniya walk with the Mala car park is great for getting up close and feeling the textures of the red sandstone.

Opening hours: Hike early or late evening

Best time to visit: May to September

Things to do in Uluru -Makuru dot paints
Makuru dot painting workshops are jus the coolest thing to do in Uluru- Tourism Australia

Maruku arts Dot Painting Workshop

One thing you should not miss when visiting Uluru is the dot painting workshop thats led by local artists.

This informative, hands on experience is one of the best things to do in Uluru where you get to create your very own artwork under the guide and instruction of Indigenous artists.

Using a variety of colours and symbols to tell your own story, you will also learn the importance and significance of the traditional symbols used for hunting and gathering.

Maruku arts is a not-for-profit organisation thats 100% owned and operated by Anangu since 1984.

Location: Ayers rock resort

Cost: $72 Adults, $36 children and families $198

Walk the free Mala walk

Named after the almost extinct Rufous Hare Wallaby and a particular group of Indigenous Australians, the Mala walk is a must do activity in Uluru.

The path stretching from the Mala carpark to Kantju Gorge follows the same route used by daily ranger-guided Mala walks.

Trek through the caves where the Mala people, ancestors of the Anangu first settled upon arriving at Uluru, including the kitchen cave where they prepared meals

This journey offers a unique opportunity to immerse in the profound story of Tjukurpa, a religious philisophy and foundation of life that links the Anangu to their environment and their ancestors.

Witness remarkable Aboriginal art along the way before reaching Kantju Gorge, a sanctuary of tranquility hemmed by towering vertical walls.

The walk provides access to drinking water, ensuring a comfortable and enlightening experience.

Hours: The Mala Walk is open throughout the day for self-guided exploration and allow 1 hour and a half.

Drive to Kings Canyon

If you’ve rented a hire car you can go at your own pace and drive 3 hours (302km) north to Kings Canyon via Luritja road in Watarrka national park.

Undoubtedly one activity you should not miss when you travel to Uluru is to go hiking through Kings Canyon and really go deep into the impressive outback and see the 300m high sandstone walls, palm tree crevasses and brutally hot desert.

The Rim walk in Kings Canyon is the most popular hike here that will take on average 3-4 hours (6km) to compete and is a moderately challenging hike thats made more difficult if you’re here middle of the day when the temperatrues reach mid 40’s during summer.

Visit the Garden of Eden, one of the most beautiful natural rock holes surrounded by rare plants before climbing to the top for 360° panoramic vies of the beautiful red sand dunes.

The first 500 steps are by far the most challenging but once youve climbed these the rest of Kings canyon becomes a breeze.

Location: Kings Canyon carpark, Kings Canyon access road, Peterman 0872.

Best time to visit: May to September in groups of at least 2. 

Dinner under the stars

By far one of the coolest things to do at Uluru is to enjoy a night under the stars and indulge in an evening of fine dining with locally sourced ingredients at Dinner under the stars.

A culinary experience hosted within Uluru-Kata Tjuta, this is the perfect mix of open-air dining in an intimate setting, with unobstructed views of the beautiful dunes of the desert and the iconic rock.

The 3 course menu here is drawn from indigenous flavours and bush tucker inspired menu incorporating native fruits and berries and local ingredients at any interactive chefs station like Barramundi and mud-crab.

As you watch the sunset dip below the horizon and the desert comes to life, local Anangu artists begin a Didgeridoo performance as the darkness falls.

The Sounds of Silence experience has been entered into the Tourism Australia Hall of Fame as one fo the top rated activities in Uluru and Australia.

A night here comprises of:

  • outback style canapes

  • 3 course bush tucker menu

  • guided tour of the night sky in the desert

    & return transfers to your hotel of choice

Cost: from $258 AUD(adults) $129 (children)

Click here to see the location on Google maps

Uluru Travel Guide

Now that youve got your travel plans sorted and you know how to spend the best time in Uluru you will need somewhere to stay and know places to eat, so read on for the top 3 accommodations according to price.

Where to stay in Uluru

To avoid confusion, you cannot actually stay or sleep in or on the famous rock itself but within Ayers Rock Resort and its surrounding hotels is the only place to stay.

Best Luxury Accommodation

For a comfy nights stay surrounded by nature we recommend Longitude 131.

They have an outdoor fire place with cosy couches with direct view of the rock, a lounge side pool and floor to ceiling windows this is a fantastic option.

Best mid-range accommodation

For the budget conscious traveller you can still stay in stlye without breaking the bank at the Desert gardens hotel that comes complete with a hotel pool, a spa and is conveniently 8km from the airport this is a great option that wont dissapoint.

Desert Garden Hotel

The Uluru lookout is only 1.5 kms away from this garden retreat hotel

Where to eat in Uluru – Best restaurants

From the local cafe to the fine dining, here is a short list of the best places to eat in Uluru

High end dining

To experience bush tucker fine dining like no other head to Tali Wiru (beautiful dune) to experience dishes like Kakadu plum compote and Paroo Kangaroo Tartae- are you hungry yet?

Indulge in a 3 course meal run by a talented team of indigenous staff

Prices start as of 2023 from $420 AUD per person

Mid-range dining

Mangata Bistro and bar do specialty breakfast buffets as well as light lunches and dinners. They also have plenty of vegetarian options like green paw-paw mango salad and chargrilled Zucchini pasta before you sleep it off by their restaurant pool.

Budget dining option

For a more budget friendly option head to Outback Pioneer BBQ and Grill at the Outback Pioneer Hotel. These guys do a DIY BBQ experience every evening and from lunch onwards on Sundays, or head to toe outback Pionneer kitchen for hearty pub food with a more communal atmosphere to meet fellow travellers.

Disclosure: We use affiliate links to monetize our content. We may receive a commission on products or services that you purchase through clicking on links within this blog.

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Christopher Aiello
Christopher is the head writer and co-founder of Chris and Laura Travels. Having travelled to over 27 countries and counting, he has a passion for adventure travel in a responsible way. Christopher and Laura currently live in Melbourne but share their time between down under and the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. We aim to inspire others to get outside and explore through our storytelling imagery and video. Keep up to date on where we are by visiting us on our Instagram page or find out more of our story on our About us page.

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Chris & Laura

Australian and Canadian freelance photographers & storytellers addicted to travel,  inspiring you to travel the world.

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