Uluru was the main reason why I decided to visit Australia in mid February 2014, and after seeing what it offered, It blew me away.
It may seem like it's just a rock in the desert but there's so much more to this than you think. It's not just about Uluru anymore. It's about the whole outback experience. It felt more like Australia at the Red Center than any other places I've been in Australia. The flies, the sand, the heat, the people, the nature, the landscapes, all are part of the outback.
Although, Uluru is beautiful, it was also quite expensive since there's only a few companies operating within this region. Here's how I experience Uluru on the cheap:
For the accommodation, I stayed at the Outback Pioneer Lodge, where I shared a bedroom with a friend of mine I met on the plane. This option was the cheapest available (~$40 per night). If you are looking for a luxurious options, you can try the Sail of the Desert or any other hotels around the Yulara area. If you have the required gears, you can also camp at the campground for a similar price at the lodge I stayed.
The sightseeing areas are all far apart, so it is best if you rent a car and drive by yourself or book a tour provided by all the hotels in the area. I decided to go with the tours as it seems to be the cheapest and easiest options. All the tours by the hotels will have a coach ready for you at certain time, so be sure to be on time. Here are the tours I booked:
Note: All prices are approximated. It was during the hottest month of the year, February, so it was cheaper than in other seasons.
- Astro Tour (AU$40)
- AAT Kings Ochre Pass (including national park pass, Valley of the wind walk at Kata Tjuta (half day) and Uluru Sunrise and Cultural Walk (half day)) (AU$265)
- AAT Kings Canyon (Full Day tour starting at 4 AM to 3 PM) (AU$199)
- Sunset Camel Tour (AU$119)
Astro Tour is also highly recommend if you like looking at stars. As you may know, I am a big space geek and an amateur astrophotographer so I maybe biased but nevertheless, you will learn a lot more about the southern hemisphere and all its constellations.
Flies is a big part of the outback experience. Even though it is annoying, I kinda got use to it and embraced it instead. During the winter, the fly problems aren't too troublesome, but during the summer, the flies will be out in full force. Some people bought a net hat that covers your head and protect you from flies. You can buy this at the lodge, although I can't say how much because I didn't bother buying it. :)
- All wifi are quite costly out here, so If your first stop is somewhere in the city, buy a 4G SIM card instead. I bought by for AU$10 and got unlimited 4G for 5 days (My friend bought it for me in Sydney with his name).
- Do the Kings Canyon rim walk.
- Explore the lookout areas around the hotel. I found 2 which gave me a pretty awesome view of the Uluru, right near the lodge I stayed.
- During the Uluru sunrise, there will be a platform where you can take a photo. Don't go there, walk down to another far spot, you will get a closer view, plus there's no one to block your beautiful photo. Don't believe? Look at the photos I took.
March 2nd, 2014
February 17th, 2014