A gigantic monolith of rust-red rock looming over the desert plains of the Australian Outback, Uluru (Ayers Rock) is more than just a postcard icon—it’s the cultural, spiritual, and geographical heart of Australia, one of its most impressive natural wonders, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Uluru is the highlight of Australia’s Red Centre, whether you embark on a sunrise base walk, discover the Aboriginal heritage of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, or dig into an Aussie-style barbecue at sunset. Most tours depart from Ayers Rock, Yulara, or Alice Springs and include nearby sights such as The Olgas (Kata Tjuta), Kings Canyon, or Lake Amadeus. Get an adrenaline fix on a Segway tour of Mutitjulu Waterhole and Kantju Gorge; a helicopter flight over the park; a desert camel ride; or a skydive over Ayers Rock.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cell phone coverage can be limited, but WiFi is available at the Cultural Centre in Uluru and Ayers Rock Resort.
- Uluru is a sacred Aboriginal site, and climbing it is considered disrespectful to the Anangu; a ban on climbing is in the works.
- Uluru is located in the desert, so sunscreen, a hat, water, and comfortable shoes are a must. Prepare for high temperatures during the day and chilly weather at night.
- Many areas of Uluru, including viewing areas and part of the base walk, are wheelchair accessible.
- Alcohol is not allowed in the park except on organized tours.
How to Get to Ayers Rock
Uluru is located in Central Australia, 276 miles (445 kilometers) southwest of Alice Springs (about a 4.5-hour drive). The closest accommodation and restaurants to the landmark are at the Ayers Rock Resort in Yulara, 11 miles (18 kilometers) north. Regular flights run to Ayers Rock Airport at Yulara and Alice Springs Airport, while cars and buses arrive via the Northern Territory's scenic Red Centre Way.
When to Get There
Uluru is open year-round, but visit May through September for cooler weather that’s better suited for hiking and sightseeing tours. In summer (December to March) with temperatures of 100°F (38°C), it’s best to plan activities before 11am to avoid midday sun. Try to visit at sunrise or sunset, when the changing light casts colorful hues over the rock.
What is Uluru?
A solid mass measuring 2.5 miles (3.6 kilometers) long and (1,141 feet) 348 meters tall, Uluru is a one-of-a-kind geological feature formed more than 900 million years ago. The visible rock—an estimated four million tons of arkose sandstone—may only be a third of the entire mass. The important Aboriginal site is protected by its traditional owners, the Anangu people.