Uluru Without The Crowds // Tips From A Local (NT)

Uluru: one of Australia’s most iconic and spiritual landmarks. Here’s some advice from a former tour guide in the area on where to check it out without the crowds… 


Highlights

  • Finding out the best times to explore Uluru
  • How to avoid the crowds
  • Best spots to view sunset and sunrise with no crowds

As they say, Uluru is the heart of Australia, a place of deep significance to the Anangu people who are the rightful landowners of this stunning thriving semi-arid desert of Central Australia.

Uluru is a very busy place at any time of the year as travellers have ideal times they want to see the wonders of the desert. As an insider, I worked as a tour guide for 6 months in the National Park to which I discovered the best times were to go and see Uluru at its best!

Go during the wet season.

It’s simple, on average of all the people that visit Uluru only 1% of those see Uluru with cascading waterfalls, fields of Parakeelya (purple succulent plant) and honey grevillea still used by the Anangu for sweets.

The wet season occurs from January to March (Itjanu/ Inuntji). Although January to March is generally hotter than other times of the year, this is when most stay away from the rock. Days are much longer with the park opening from 5am to 9pm giving you maximum amount of time to make the most out of your adventure!

It is best to be at the park gate right as the park is opening, it may be early but it’s certainly worth it. DON’T go to Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area for sunrise as it will be completely full, all year round, instead for something unique head to the car sunset area to see the sun come up behind Uluru creating an awesome silhouette.

To completely have Uluru to yourself, do the base walk (10.6km) while everyone is watching the sunrise to truly experience the beautiful rustic red gorges, caves with thousand-year-old rock paintings in complete silence.

For sunset, definitely avoid going to the car sunset area. Instead head for Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area followed by the base walk as the belt of Venus (earth’s shadow) comes from the east.

Camping in the National Park is forbidden at any time as the park closes at 9pm. But don’t let that put you off going to bed early. As a local for 6 months, sand dunes became my best friend for viewing the Milky Way. The best sand dunes away from the crowds are along Kunia Street or Napala Road (on the way to Uluru Camel Tours).

Essential Gear

  • A plane ticket to Uluru!
  • Clothing suited to extreme conditions such as long sleeved shirts, hiking boots or joggers.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat
  • Plenty of water as the Rangers suggest you drink 1 litre of water per hour (water is available in most places around Uluru and Yulara)
  • A hire car for more freedom!
  • Your camera and a tripod if you want to do some astrophotography
  • A detailed map of Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park available at the Cultural Centre located within the National Park

How To Get There

  • Direct flights are available from Sydney to Uluru daily and from Melbourne daily to Connellan Airport
  • If you fancy more of an adventure, fly into Alice Springs, hire a car and drive along the Stuart Highway. Then turn onto the mighty Lasseter Highway, passing Mount Conner and Kings Canyon (they are a whole new adventure for another day)
  • Within the National Park, roads are sealed and well-marked so just follow the signs, not the crowds

Activities

  • Cultural Centre visit (do this first)
  • Walking around Uluru (Please DO NOT climb Uluru)
  • Animal watching includes wild camels, native birds and dingo’s
  • Photography including astrophotography and landscape photography

Skill Level

  • Moderate levels of fitness are required to complete the Uluru Base Walk (begin walk well before the sun reaches its highest point in the sky).
  • Disabled access is limited throughout the National Park beyond the designated car parks

Distance Covered

  • 6 kilometres for the complete Uluru Base Walk – 3.5 hours
  • 2 kilometres return for the Mala Walk to Kantju Gorge – 1.5 hours
  • 1 kilometre return for Kuniya Walk to Mutijulu waterhole – 45 minutes
  • 4 kilometres return for Lungkata Walk – 1.5 hours
  • 4 kilometres return for Liru Walk – 1.5 hours