Journeying to Australia’s most iconic rock is an essential travel experience. While there are a variety of way to experience Uluru, there are also plenty of other attractions in the Northern Territory desert worth visiting to make sure you get the most out of your travels.
There are other rocks to explore
Uluru (Ayers Rock) may be the main attraction in Australia’s Red Centre, but it’s not the only rock worth visiting. Roughly 30km from the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where Ayers Rock is located, are 36 striking red domes of Kata Tjuta (The Oglas) that are definitely worth the journey. Like Uluru, Kata Kjuta looks particularly stunning at sunset, and the dune viewing platform is a fantastic place to enjoy sunrise. The domes can be visited on many of the tours available, or independently with a $25 park entry ticket.
There is also ‘Fools-uru’ which is known as Uluru’s forgotten rock. The stunning mound sits on Curtin Springs cattle station which is located 80km north of Uluru. Tourists were once able to drive freely through the area, but following a significant number of rescues, station owners now use SEIT Outback Australia to run the tours from Uluru.
On a half-day 4WD tour of the area, you’ll visit the remarkable salt flats of Lake Swanson, featuring free-roaming cattle and camels – it is thought that almost half a million camels run wild through the Australian outback.
Hiking Kings Canyon
Located 300km from Uluru, it is possible to make a day trip to hike the magnificent Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park. There you can do the famous 6km Rim Walk which can take between three and four hours. On days where the temperature is set to reach 36°C it is recommended that you aim to arrive before 9am, as rangers will close the gates in extreme heat for safety reasons.
If you don’t have access to a vehicle, you can book a return guided tour with AAT Kings. They also offer onward passage to Alice Springs at the end of the day, if you’re wanting to continue travelling north. The tour stops at Kings Creek Station for breakfast (where you can stock up on water for the hike), and then the lush Kings Canyon resort for lunch post-hike.
The Rim Walks starts with a step climb (worryingly nicknamed ‘Heart Attack Hill’), but once you reach the peak it’s a relatively easy stroll through the stunning landscapes including beehive-like domes of the ‘Lost City’, followed by the rich oasis at the heart of the canyon known as the ‘Garden of Eden’. Those who are looking for a less strenuous walk might prefer the 2km Creek Bed Walk, which highlights the impressive views of the canyon’s edge. Keen hikers can head to the Giles Track, a 22km route which is typically done at night. Like Kata Tjuta, part of the gorge is sacred and tourists are discouraged from wondering from the designated tracks.