We take a look at all the best things to do in Uluru for the ultimate Ayers Rock family holiday in the Red Centre.
There are loads of amazing things to do in Uluru with kids, from watching sunrise over the rock to taking a helicopter ride, visiting the spectacular Field of Light and learning about the local Anagnu culture.
Even if you plan on exploring Uluru on your own, I definitely recommend doing at least one guided tour to gain a better insight into Anagnu culture and history from the excellent tour guides.
Failing that, make sure the Cultural Center is your first stop so that you can learn some of the creation stories before you venture further. They add an extra layer of depth to your Uluru experience and will make you appreciate the importance of the area.
Click here to read our Ultimate Guide to Uluru with Kids, with information on where to stay, where to eat, how to get around and top tips for visiting Uluru.
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Table of Contents
Sunrise at Uluru
Watching Uluru emerge out of the darkness and go through its full kaleidoscope of colours is just incredible. Trust me, this is definitely worth getting out of bed early for.
Make sure you come prepared with layers of clothing (depending on the time of year you visit, it may be cold when you set off in the dark but will soon heat up once the sun comes up), and also bring water bottles and snacks.
We did this sunrise tour which combined visiting Kata Tjuta.
Sunset at Uluru
At the other end of the day of course is sunset and this is another great time to marvel at Uluru. I personally preferred sunrise due to the amazing colour changing effect on the rock and sky, but we had better weather for the sunrise, so that could have been a factor.
The bonus of sunset is that you can have a glass of bubbles to celebrate sunset! We did the Uluru sunset as part of the Sacred Sites and Sunset tour. There are various other tours you can book, such as this Sunset, Sparkling Wine and Gourmet BBQ tour.
Visit the Cultural Center
This is a great first stop to gain an insight into Anagnu culture and learn some of the creation stories before venturing into the area. Take some time to browse the displays and exhibitions and there are also free presentations run by the rangers.
You can also learn about the natural environment of the national park – about the local plants and animals here.
Leave some time to visit the two Aboriginal art galleries here and you can also pick up a visitor guide from the information desk. There is also an onsite cafe, souvenir shop and picnic area. You can also hire bikes here from Outback Cycling.
Uluru Base Walk or Cycle
You can’t climb Uluru any more but you can still walk (or cycle) around the entire circumference of the rock. It’s the best way to appreciate the sheer scale of the rock and soak in the natural beauty of the area.
The 10km base walk track takes around 3 hours and lets you get up close, explore caves, visit waterholes and learn the creation stories of the Anagnu people from information boards along the way.
You can use an audio guide to give you the tour experience while exploring at your own pace. These give you the stories, facts and local insights to gain more appreciation of your surroundings as you go.
Bear in mind that some sites are sacred so pay attention to signs asking you not to enter or take photos.
If you prefer to hire bikes rather than walk, you can cycle the base in around 1.5 hours. You can hire bikes from the mobile bike trailer at the Cultural Centre or ask at your hotel reception. Click here to learn more.
To do the base walk, park at the Mala car park and, facing the rock, walk clockwise. Remember to pack plenty of water and snacks. If you are visiting during the warmer months, it is recommended that you start early and be finished by 11am before it gets too hot.
Field of Light
From a distance the Field of Light looks like a field of glowing flowers, but as you approach you see the individual 50,000 handblown light bulbs and 380km of fibre optic cables that swirl at the bottom of the stems.
The Field of Light in the the local Pitjantjatjara language is Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku, which means ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’. But that only partly expresses the magic of wandering among them. It’s also massive, stretching across the space of over nine football fields and the scale is mind blowing.
It is super cool and impressive and inspiring, don’t miss it!
Helicopter Ride over Uluru
Yes it’s expensive but it is an experience you won’t forget! Seeing the mighty Uluru and Kata Tjuta from the air is incredible. Plus, flying in a helicopter is always cool.
We did the Uluru & Kata Tjuta 25-Minute Helicopter Experience and it was unbelievable.
You really get to appreciate the scale of the red desert from up here and the contrast between being up close to the landmarks and then admiring them from the air is quite something. There’s also a 15-minute ride over Uluru available.
Visit Kata Tjuta
It’s less well known than Uluru but Kata Tjuta (also known a the Olgas) is every bit as impressive.
Its name means ‘many heads’ thanks to its 36 domes and they stretch for 26km. It is 200m higher than Uluru and the sheer scale is staggering as you walk through it.
Considered more sacred than Uluru, most of Kata Tjuta is only accessible to initiated Anagnu men, but there are a couple of walks ope to the public, including Walpa Gorge, meaning Windy Gorge. And yes, it is windy in there!
You don’t need to spend long here, but definitely don’t skip it, you can’t help but be blown away by it.
We did this tour to Kata Tjuta (combined with sunrise at the Uluru viewing platform).
Take a Camel Ride
How do you get around in the desert? By camel of course! Camel rides are a unique and memorable way to take in sunrise or sunset. The kids will love it! (Kids aged 5 and up can ride).
Camel tours combine a camel ride with a visit to the camel farm, the largest in Australia and home to over 60 camels. You can join tours at sunrise, sunset or the middle of the morning or afternoon, so they are easy to fit in with your other plans.
Free Indigenous Activities
There are several free activities that take place throughout Ayers Rock Resort designed to help visitors learn more about the local Anagnu culture.
These include Bush Yarns, the Bush Food experience, Didgeridoo workshops, guided walks, art activities and more. Click here to learn more.
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