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Climbing Uluru might be off-limits, but there's still plenty to see and do in the Red Centre. Here are our Top 5 must-try experiences

AT ULURU

It is arguably the most iconic symbol of the Australian outback. Uluru is a sandstone rock of truly monolithic proportions. It towers 348 metres above the surrounding plains and it's almost 10km around its base. It is seriously huge. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. I've visited Uluru four times, and it never fails to impress me.

For some visitors, a desire to climb Uluru was the only reason to visit, but there is so much more to Uluru than just the climb. In fact, I would argue there are far better ways to experience Uluru and the surrounding areas. So, to rekindle the interests of new visitors, here are our 5 top things to do at Uluru that don't involve the climb.

WORDS AND IMAGES MARTY LEDWICH

The top 5 things to do

TRAVEL Uluru

ABOVE The field of lights display is spectacular // BELOW One of the many faces of Uluru

ABOVE Stunning scenery along the Valley of the Winds walk through the heart of Kata Tjuta

Combine your Titan Tray with the Rola Low Mount System for the ULTIMATE ADVENTURE!

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Segway Tours
Out of all the activities available at Uluru, this for me is the most fun. It is also the most intimate way to experience Uluru because you get so close to it. The day starts early, before sunrise, where you catch a bus from the resort to the start point for the tour. Here, your guides serve a light breakfast of tea, coffee and muffins while you enjoy a magical sideshow of ever-changing colours that accompany an outback sunrise.


ABOVE This is a very relaxing way to explore the base of Uluru // BELOW If you’re doing the tour in the morning, it’s a good idea to rug up as it gets quite chilly here in the desert

After breakfast, your guides will take you through a thorough lesson on how to ride the specialised off-road Segways. If you've never ridden one of these before, don't worry. It's easier than walking. The tour takes you along the walking/cycling track the meanders around the base of Uluru and into the many culturally significant sites. Water holes, rock art and unique geographic features can all be found on the tour. The guides explain how the local Anangu people lived around the rock and how it influenced their lives. It's fascinating and fun all at the same time. Sunset and daytime tours are also available.

1

MORE INFO
ulurusegwaytours.com.au
P: 08 8956 3043
Cost: From $179 per person

“It is seriously huge. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. I've visited Uluru four times, and it never fails to impress me"

for the outback
real caravans

Sounds of Silence Dinner
If you want to treat yourself and your partner to a uniquely Australian dining experience, the Sounds of Silence open-air dinner will not disappoint. The evening starts with pre-dinner drinks overlooking Uluru in one direction and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) in the other, the latter silhouetted by the setting sun. After drinks, you're escorted to the large, open-air dining area and shown your seats while a local musician plays the didgeridoo. The meal is a beautiful buffet of uniquely Australian, bush-tucker-inspired cuisine, and there's plenty of it to satisfy even the largest appetite. As the night darkens, the stars come out and a 'star talker' guides you through the night sky, pointing out the many constellations including those observed by the local Aboriginal people. After dinner, you have the option of visiting the incredible Field of Lights display. This unique art installation is a walkway through a seemingly endless field of 50,000 glowing balls that continually change colours. It's a fascinating way to end a perfect evening.


ABOVE Dining to the sounds of the bush // BELOW Kylie and I share an affinity with this place

2

MORE INFO
ayersrockresort.com.au
P: 1300 134 044
Cost: From $225 per adult. $113 per child

BELOW Sensational outdoor dining at the Sounds of Silence dinner

Uluru from the sky
There are several tour companies offering scenic flights over Uluru and the surrounding area. If you want to experience the true vastness and grandeur of the Australian outback, this is the way to do it. Whether it be in a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft, you'll see Uluru and Kata Tjuta as lone figures rising from the vast, endless central plains. Flights range in duration and can include flying over Lake Amadeus, Kings Canyon and if you want a treat, the colossal meteorite crater, Gosses Bluff.


ABOVE King’s Canyon from the air is magnificent // BELOW Image credit: H Hind

3

MORE INFO
flyuluru.com.au
P: 08 8956 2345
Cost: From $120 per person

Kata Tjuta (the Olgas)
The unique rock formation of Kata Tjuta is a short drive from Uluru, and it offers its own unique visitor experience. Walking trails are the star attractions that take you in between the valleys formed by the towering rock domes that make up Kata Tjuta. The track through Walca George is our favourite. It's listed as a grade three moderate walk that is a 2.6km-long return trip and takes approximately one hour to complete. At the end of the track, you'll come to a vast natural amphitheatre and nestled within its centre is a small pool of water fed by an underground spring. This is a wonderful place to sit and listen to the sounds of the wind rushing through the valleys.

ABOVE The Valley of the Winds walk through the massive sandstone walls of Kata Tjuta // BELOW Sunset is just as spectacular at it is at Uluru. Kata Tjuta translates to ‘many heads’ in the local Anangu language

4

MORE INFO
parksaustralia.gov.au 
P: 08 8956 1128
Costs: No charge. Access to Kata Tjuta included in entry fee to the national park

Sunset viewing
While all these activities offer their own unique experience of Uluru, no trip there would be complete without spending an evening watching the changing colours of the rock during sunset. For those of us who enjoy photography, this is an event that never gets old. Every sunset is different. The most dramatic colour changes happen during partly cloudy weather conditions. If you're lucky to time your viewing with a little favourable weather, you'll be rewarded with some spectacular photographs. Here's a tip. If you have a new smartphone or GoPro camera, it will likely have a time-lapse function. Mount your camera or phone on a tripod and take some time-lapse videos. You will be amazed by the results.

BELOW All set up to experience the sunset at Uluru

5

MORE INFO
ayersrockresort.com.au
P: 1300 134 044
Costs: No charge. Access to viewing areas included in entry fee to the national park

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

Don't bother complaining
The traditional owners of Uluru have wanted to close the climb since Uluru was handed back to them more than 30 years ago. In that time, they have chosen to ask (rather than tell) visitors not to climb Uluru.

This request is not simply because Uluru is sacred to them, but because the climb is extremely dangerous. Thirty-seven people have died attempting to climb Uluru. Many more have had to be airlifted or stretchered off the rock face after injuring themselves on the climb. This is extremely distressing to the Anangu people. It is also extremely dangerous for rescuers involved in recovering people from the rock.

The decision to finally close the climb came only after the percentage of visitors who do climb dropped to below 20 per cent of all visitors to the national park. In other words, the vast majority of visitors now voluntarily respect the wishes of the Anangu people.

Finally, despite what many opponents of the closure like to claim, the Anangu people themselves do not climb Uluru.


ABOVE It’s important to understand the deep connection the local Anangu people have with Uluru // BELOW Even with the closure of the climb, there is so much more to see and do at Uluru

There's no doubt that many people will be disappointed they will not be able to climb Uluru, and that's understandable. But it shouldn't be a reason not to go and explore the area. Uluru is so much more than just a big rock to climb. It's a place of enormous cultural significance and geological importance to all Australians as well as the many thousands of overseas visitors who come here each year. When you come to Uluru, open yourself to the possibility of experiencing it in the same way as the Anangu people have done for the last 10,000 years. A place where the spirits of Tjukuritja and Waparitja, the ancient creators of Uluru, still inhabit this wonderful landscape.

Safe Travels.

ABOVE A permanent waterhole of cultural significance to the Anangu people

It is arguably the most iconic symbol of the Australian outback. Uluru is a sandstone rock of truly monolithic proportions. It towers 348 metres above the surrounding plains and it's almost 10km around its base. It is seriously huge. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. I've visited Uluru four times, and it never fails to impress me.

For some visitors, a desire to climb Uluru was the only reason to visit, but there is so much more to Uluru than just the climb. In fact, I would argue there are far better ways to experience Uluru and the surrounding areas. So, to rekindle the interests of new visitors, here are our 5 top things to do at Uluru that don't involve the climb.

AT ULURU

The top 5 things to do

Climbing Uluru might be off-limits, but there's still plenty to see and do in the Red Centre. Here are our Top 5 must-try experiences

TRAVEL Uluru

WORDS AND IMAGES MARTY LEDWICH

ABOVE The field of lights display is spectacular // BELOW One of the many faces of Uluru

ABOVE Stunning scenery along the Valley of the Winds walk through the heart of Kata Tjuta

Combine your Titan Tray with the Rola Low Mount System for the ULTIMATE ADVENTURE!

LOOK

LIGHT

LOW

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

Segway Tours
Out of all the activities available at Uluru, this for me is the most fun. It is also the most intimate way to experience Uluru because you get so close to it. The day starts early, before sunrise, where you catch a bus from the resort to the start point for the tour. Here, your guides serve a light breakfast of tea, coffee and muffins while you enjoy a magical sideshow of ever-changing colours that accompany an outback sunrise.


MORE INFO
ulurusegwaytours.com.au
P: 08 8956 3043
Cost: From $179 per person

ABOVE This is a very relaxing way to explore the base of Uluru // BELOW If you’re doing the tour in the morning, it’s a good idea to rug up as it gets quite chilly here in the desert

1

After breakfast, your guides will take you through a thorough lesson on how to ride the specialised off-road Segways. If you've never ridden one of these before, don't worry. It's easier than walking. The tour takes you along the walking/cycling track the meanders around the base of Uluru and into the many culturally significant sites. Water holes, rock art and unique geographic features can all be found on the tour. The guides explain how the local Anangu people lived around the rock and how it influenced their lives. It's fascinating and fun all at the same time. Sunset and daytime tours are also available.

“It is seriously huge. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. I've visited Uluru four times, and it never fails to impress me"

for the outback
real caravans
WATCH THE 2019
WALKTHROUGH
Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.
ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

Sounds of Silence Dinner
If you want to treat yourself and your partner to a uniquely Australian dining experience, the Sounds of Silence open-air dinner will not disappoint. The evening starts with pre-dinner drinks overlooking Uluru in one direction and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) in the other, the latter silhouetted by the setting sun. After drinks, you're escorted to the large, open-air dining area and shown your seats while a local musician plays the didgeridoo. The meal is a beautiful buffet of uniquely Australian, bush-tucker-inspired cuisine, and there's plenty of it to satisfy even the largest appetite. As the night darkens, the stars come out and a 'star talker' guides you through the night sky, pointing out the many constellations including those observed by the local Aboriginal people. After dinner, you have the option of visiting the incredible Field of Lights display. This unique art installation is a walkway through a seemingly endless field of 50,000 glowing balls that continually change colours. It's a fascinating way to end a perfect evening.


MORE INFO
ayersrockresort.com.au
P: 1300 134 044
Cost: From $225 per adult. $113 per child

ABOVE Dining to the sounds of the bush // BELOW Kylie and I share an affinity with this place

2

BELOW Sensational outdoor dining at the Sounds of Silence dinner

Uluru from the sky
There are several tour companies offering scenic flights over Uluru and the surrounding area. If you want to experience the true vastness and grandeur of the Australian outback, this is the way to do it. Whether it be in a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft, you'll see Uluru and Kata Tjuta as lone figures rising from the vast, endless central plains. Flights range in duration and can include flying over Lake Amadeus, Kings Canyon and if you want a treat, the colossal meteorite crater, Gosses Bluff.


MORE INFO
flyuluru.com.au
P: 08 8956 2345
Cost: From $120 per person

ABOVE King’s Canyon from the air is magnificent // BELOW Image credit: H Hind

3

Kata Tjuta (the Olgas)
The unique rock formation of Kata Tjuta is a short drive from Uluru, and it offers its own unique visitor experience. Walking trails are the star attractions that take you in between the valleys formed by the towering rock domes that make up Kata Tjuta. The track through Walca George is our favourite. It's listed as a grade 3 moderate walk that is a 2.6km-long return trip and takes approximately one hour to complete. At the end of the track, you'll come to a vast natural amphitheatre and nestled within its centre is a small pool of water fed by an underground spring. This is a wonderful place to sit and listen to the sounds of the wind rushing through the valleys.

MORE INFO
parksaustralia.gov.au 
P: 08 8956 1128
Costs: No charge. Access to Kata Tjuta included in entry fee to the national park

ABOVE The Valley of the Winds walk through the massive sandstone walls of Kata Tjuta // BELOW Sunset is just as spectacular at it is at Uluru. Kata Tjuta translates to ‘many heads’ in the local Anangu language

4

Sunset viewing
While all these activities offer their own unique experience of Uluru, no trip there would be complete without spending an evening watching the changing colours of the rock during sunset. For those of us who enjoy photography, this is an event that never gets old. Every sunset is different. The most dramatic colour changes happen during partly cloudy weather conditions. If you're lucky to time your viewing with a little favourable weather, you'll be rewarded with some spectacular photographs. Here's a tip. If you have a new smartphone or GoPro camera, it will likely have a time-lapse function. Mount your camera or phone on a tripod and take some time-lapse videos. You will be amazed by the results.

MORE INFO
ayersrockresort.com.au
P: 1300 134 044
Costs: No charge. Access to viewing areas included in entry fee to the national park

BELOW All set up to experience the sunset at Uluru

5
Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

Don't bother complaining
The traditional owners of Uluru have wanted to close the climb since Uluru was handed back to them more than 30 years ago. In that time, they have chosen to ask (rather than tell) visitors not to climb Uluru.

This request is not simply because Uluru is sacred to them, but because the climb is extremely dangerous. Thirty-seven people have died attempting to climb Uluru. Many more have had to be airlifted or stretchered off the rock face after injuring themselves on the climb. This is extremely distressing to the Anangu people. It is also extremely dangerous for rescuers involved in recovering people from the rock.

The decision to finally close the climb came only after the percentage of visitors who do climb dropped to below 20 per cent of all visitors to the national park. In other words, the vast majority of visitors now voluntarily respect the wishes of the Anangu people.

Finally, despite what many opponents of the closure like to claim, the Anangu people themselves do not climb Uluru.


ABOVE It’s important to understand the deep connection the local Anangu people have with Uluru // BELOW Even with the closure of the climb, there is so much more to see and do at Uluru

ABOVE A permanent waterhole of cultural significance to the Anangu people

There's no doubt that many people will be disappointed they will not be able to climb Uluru, and that's understandable. But it shouldn't be a reason not to go and explore the area. Uluru is so much more than just a big rock to climb. It's a place of enormous cultural significance and geological importance to all Australians as well as the many thousands of overseas visitors who come here each year. When you come to Uluru, open yourself to the possibility of experiencing it in the same way as the Anangu people have done for the last 10,000 years. A place where the spirits of Tjukuritja and Waparitja, the ancient creators of Uluru, still inhabit this wonderful landscape.

Safe Travels.