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Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Travel Guide Oceania Australia Northern Territory Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

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Introduction

Ukuru

Ukuru

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Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is the home of Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock), one of Australia's most iconic attractions. The park was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987 as a natural property, and in 1993 it was listed as a cultural landscape, making it one of the few places in the world recognised for both its natural and cultural significance.

The park is located just north of the South Australia - Northern Territory border, approximately 440 kilometres southwest of Alice Springs and 1431 kilometres south of Darwin by road. The total land area of the national park is approximately 1326km². The traditional aboriginal land owners of the park are the Aṉangu people.

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Sights and Activities

  • Uluru, an image synonymous with the Australian outback, is a sandstone monolith standing 348 metres, although the bulk of the rock actually sits under the ground. It has a total circumference of 9.4 kilometres. Walking around it is much more enjoyable (and respectful!) compared to climbing it. It takes about 2 hours, though more if you include breaks and photo stops. Uluru has a dual name, with Ulura being the traditional Aboriginal name, and Ayers Rock the English name. The colour of the rock changes with different times of the day and year, and looks silvery-grey on the rare occurences when it rains, with water running off the rock through channels.
  • The Olgas, or Kata Tjuta, are another rock formation located around 25 kilometres east of Uluru. Kata Tjuta, their Pitjantjajara name, means 'many heads', referring to the more than 30 rounded red conglomerate domes. Mt Olga is the highest, at around 546 metres high. The road to The Olgas is entirely paved.
  • The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre can be found inside the park on the main road to Uluru. Visitors can learn about Tjukurpa (law, knowledge, religion, philosophy), Anangu art and way of life, as well as information on subjects such as the wildlife and management of the park. Entry to the centre is free, with opening hours from 7am to 6pm. The information desk operates from 8am - 12pm, and then from 1pm - 5pm.

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Opening Hours

Sunset at Kata Tjuta

Sunset at Kata Tjuta

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The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is generally open all year round, closing at night and for occasional brief periods for cultural reasons.

Opening hours during the year are usually as follows: [1]

  • 5am - 9pm during December, January, February
  • 5.30am - 8.30pm during March
  • 5.30am - 8pm during April
  • 6am - 7.30pm during May
  • 6.30am - 7.30pm during June, July
  • 6 am - 7.30 pm during August
  • 5.30am - 7.30pm during September
  • 5am - 8pm during October
  • 5am - 8.30pm during November

The cultural centre is open from 7am till 6pm daily.

The Uluru Climb is open from half an hour before sunrise till half an hour after sunset, depending on weather conditions.

Do take note that Uluru's Traditional Owners, the Anangu people, prefer that visitors do not climb Uluru[2], as it is a sacred site. They believe that when the world was being formed, the Uluru climb was the traditional route taken by Mala Men when they arrived at the rock.

Als note that every year at least one person dies because of health problems or even a fall! The Australian Government has plans to forbid climbing Uluru. These plans have been anounced in 2009, but could take a while to be implemented.

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Cost

Visitors to the National Park over the age of 16 are required to pay a park usage fee.

At the time of writing, the following prices apply.[3]

  • Standard 3 Day Pass - $25.00 (note that the pass must be used on 3 consecutive days)
  • Annual Individual Ticket - $32.50
  • Annual Vehicle Pass - $65.00 (NT Residents only)

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Getting There

Middle of Nowhere...

Middle of Nowhere...

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By Plane

Ayers Rock Airport (AYQ) is serviced by daily flights from Sydney, Perth, Cairns and Alice Springs. Those coming from Darwin, Brisbane, Melbourne or Adelaide can connect via Alice Springs. The flight from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock takes approximately fifty minutes. All flights are operated by Qantas.

By Train

There is no direct train service to the park, but The Ghan train service operates to Alice Springs from Adelaide and Darwin.

By Car

The park is located along the Lasseter Highway, which runs from the Stuart Highway through the park up to Tjukaruru Road, which continues on towards Leonora in Western Australia.

From Alice Springs, drive south along the Stuart Highway and turn off at Ernest Giles Road. Follow this along as it turns into Luritja Road, which ends at the Lasseter Highway. Travel west along the Lasseter. For the first part, a 4wd vehicle certainly is recommended.

Alternatively, if you're coming from South Australia, drive north along the Stuart Highway and turn left at the Lasseter Highway turn-off.

By Bus

Greyhound Australia offers a number of bus trips from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock.

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Getting Around

There are a number of tour groups who will take you to Uluru, The Olgas and some of the other surrounding sights. If you would like to go independently many people hire cars from the Ayers Rock Airport - Thrifty, Hertz and Avis all have branches there.

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Eat

The Ayers Rock Resort has a number of different dining options, ranging from expensive up-market restaurants to more casual cafe style food. There is also a Resort Shopping Centre, with a small supermarket.

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Sleep

Ayers Rock Resort is located in the township of Yulara, 8 kilometres from the entrance to the National Park, and 18 kilometres from Uluru itself. The Resort offers a variety of different accommodation styles, from the luxury Sails in the Desert Hotel to the more budget dormitories in the Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge. There is also a campground - camping is not permitted within the park itself.

For those wanting an upmarket, luxurious wilderness experience, Longitude 131 has 15 luxury tents with views over Uluru (not your typical family holiday camping tents!). Children under 12 are not welcome, and the resort comes with a suitably luxurious price tag to match its accommodation standards.

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This is version 29. Last edited at 13:54 on May 22, 13 by Sander. 9 articles link to this page.

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