The Uluru Base Walk is a must-do hike for everyone visiting the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. Only once you see Uluru from all sides can you truly understand the sheer enormity and utter importance of this spiritual place.
We acknowledge that this adventure is located on Pitjantjatjara Nation, the traditional Country of the Anangu people who have occupied and cared for this land and water for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
- Appreciating the enormity and significance of Uluru
- Kantju Gorge
- Mutitjulu Waterhole
Standing in the shadow of Uluru felt more surreal than I imagined. It’s difficult to get a real grasp of the size of this sacred rock before you see it in the flesh, and even watching from afar as the morning sun lights up its ridges can’t completely do it justice.
Approaching Uluru by car, that bright, ochre rock quickly fills the entire window view, as you wind around its curves and park yourself at Mala car park, the kick off point for the Uluru Base Walk.
The walk is a complete loop, so you’re able to head in whichever direction you’re most pulled towards, however I recommend noting where the sun is and start your hike in the shadows to make use of the shade for as long as possible. If you’re hiking in the morning, head in a clockwise direction!
Hot tip! The flies in Central Australia are full on. You can purchase fly net hats from Yulara if you’re not into swatting flies out of your eyes the entire time.
From the car park, we walked in a clockwise direction, heading towards Mala Puta as the track hugs the side of rock. Within the first kilometre, you’ll wander through caves, admire rock art, and learn about the importance of Uluru to its Traditional Owners, the Aṉangu People.
Do not skip the short 800m return detour to Kantju Gorge. This tucked away nook was the main water source for the Aṉangu people when they gathered at Uluru and is simply stunning.
The towering, perpendicular walls of Uluru wrap around you on two sides and protect the tranquil space from the outside wind and beating sun. There’s an overwhelming sense of calm and spirit here. Give yourself a moment to sit still and take it all in.
Into The Sun
Once you’ve managed to pull yourself away, head back to the main track which now swings out wide away from the base of the rock and through the close by desert shrubs.
This part of the trail gives you a chance to see a lesser photographed side of Uluru with lots of honeycomb-like holes smattered across the rock’s surface.
Once you’re out of the shade of Uluru, the trail can become very open and exposed, especially at the height of the day.
After a few kilometres of admiring Uluru from afar, the track makes its way closer into the rock again, around Kuniya Piti, where there’s a water tank you can use to refill your water bottle.
Along the next section, beautiful gums create dappled shade and tiny birds flit between their branches.
About three-quarters of the way around Uluru, an oasis appears; Mutitjulu Waterhole.
The short wander off the main path through luscious, green scrub lands you at a waterhole which is filled up by a waterfall that flows over the top of the rock during the wet season.
Mutitjulu Waterhole is a major source of water for the local fauna so this is one of your best chances of spotting a roo or reptile helping themselves to a drink. Best keep quiet.
There’s also a few caves and more rock art to check out around this section of the track as well.
The last few kilometres of the Uluru Base Walk wrap around the last corner of the rock, and give you a chance to learn more Dreamtime stories before bringing you back to Mala car park, having taken in Uluru from each and every side.
Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park Entry Fees
There are entry fees for the national park that need to be paid upon arrival or can be pre-purchased online.
Adults for 1-3 day pass – $38
Children and teenagers under 18 – Free
Uluru Base Walk Facilities
There are toilets a short walk from Mala car park where the Uluru Base Walk begins and ends.
There are two water tanks located on either side of the track, one at Mala car park and another at Kuniya Pitu.
There are four emergency radio alarms located along the Base Walk in case emergency medical care is needed. There’s very limited phone reception around the track.
Uluru Sensitive Sites
It’s worth noting that there are several sensitive sites along the Uluru Base Walk where photos and videos are not permitted. These are well sign posted and should be respected at all times.
Best Time of Day to Go
The national park recommends doing the walk in the early morning to avoid the heat of the day and aim to wrap up by 11am on particularly hot days.
Some of the track may close in the afternoon if it becomes too hot and dangerous to walk.
Read more: How To Survive Hiking in Hot Weather
- Hat (preferably broad brim)
- 2-3L of water
- Snacks or lunch
- Walking shoes
- Recommended – fly net hat
How To Get There
The base walk starts from Mala car park within Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.
The national park is a short 20 minute drive from Yulara, the small town that’s popped up to accommodate tourists to the park.
Mala car park is a 4 hour 45 minute drive from Alice Springs.
Beginner – Intermediate
The walk is completely flat, in fact it’s wheelchair friendly, and very easy to navigate. However in the heat of the day and with little shade, it can be strenuous, or even dangerous if you come unprepared.
Distance Covered / Duration / Elevation Gained
10.6km / 3.5hr / 0m
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