Unmissable Experiences at Uluru, Australia

Unmissable Experiences at Uluru, Australia

If you followed along on social media I think you’ll understand when I say Justin and I have just had an INCREDIBLE 4 days in Australia’s Red Centre. I’d been wowed by Uluru once before (just seeing this part of Australia is an unforgettable experience) but the activities we took part in on this trip make it one we shall never forget. Read on to discover the best things to do in Uluru for a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Best things to do in Uluru

best things to do in Uluru

Riding the ‘ships of the desert’

Sounds Of Silence

An Uluru sunset is one of the best in the world, you’ll be truly mesmerised as the rock appears to change colour from orange to amber to deep red right before your eyes. Add to this experience a glass of champagne, dinner under the stars and good conversation from travellers all over the world and you have the makings of an unforgettable evening. Sounds Of Silence is one of the more luxurious experiences you can book at Uluru (priced at $295 per person locally) but I truly believe it’s worth every penny.

Uluru positively glows at sunset

Uluru positively glows at sunset

best things to do in Uluru

All eyes on Uluru as the sun goes down

best things to do in Uluru

Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) look beautiful at sunset too

Not only are you treated to fine wine and posh bush tucker (think crocodile caesar salad and kangaroo bruschetta) but the evening starts with a traditional Indigenous dance and ends with a talk from an astronomer. As the dinner table lights were dimmed and we leaned back to look at the desert night sky I could not believe how many stars were visible, the whole of the Milky Way seemed just beyond the end of our fingertips. Using an impressive laser the expert Star Talker pointed out constellations including the Southern Cross and signs of the zodiac, whilst explaining what some of them mean in Aboriginal culture. He also had a telescope set up so one by one we went down to the viewing platform and had the incredible opportunity to look at Saturn – I could actually see the planet’s famous rings!

best things to do in Uluru

Dinner with Uluru as the backdrop at Sounds Of Silence (Note: there are 3 Sounds of Silence venues so views may vary slightly)

best things to do in Uluru

Making friends over dinner at Sounds Of Silence

The food was delicious too, especially when you take into account our remote location. The meal service started with a pumpkin ravioli and then each table is led up to the buffet to select from the number of dishes on offer. There was kangaroo steak cooked to perfection and the lamb cutlets (which were recommended to me by the local couple on our table – always a good sign!) proved to be incredibly good. For dessert there was a range including chocolate cake, cheesecake, lemon sponge and apple crumble. I tried a little of each but to be honest had enjoyed the mains so much I couldn’t fit more than a few mouthfuls in.

The evening begins with a traditional Indigenous dance

The evening begins with a traditional Indigenous dance

On our table were couples from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, London and Yulara (the town at Uluru) itself. We seemed to have been magically matched with a table full of world explorers who left London and Paris to live in remote tribal areas, I was fascinated by every story they had to tell.

All too soon 10pm came around and the coaches arrived to escort us home. I could have sat under those stars until the early hours, sipping port and talking about travel, but we had another incredible activity which was to start in just a few hours…

Uluru Sunrise Camel Tour

There are not many things that can convince me to rise at 4.30am but this experience was one of them! A camel ride in Australia may seem a bit random but Australia is, in fact,home to the world’s largest roaming herd of camels and camels play an integral role in outback history. Uluru Camel Tours offer a range of experiences which teach about the 130 year history of camels in the outback whilst offering incredible views of Uluru from a furry perch. After perusing the brochure we booked the Camel To Sunrise tour (priced at $129 per person) as I couldn’t resist the chance to see the desert in the magical, early morning light.

Our ride waits patiently under the stars

Our ride waits patiently under the stars

best things to do in Uluru

The camel train heads towards the sunrise viewing platforms

Under the starlight we were taught how to mount the patiently waiting camels and listened to them moan like dinosaurs when it came time for them to stand up. As you lean back the camel lifts you up in 2 strong steps and then away the group goes. A chatty guide led our camel train whilst another member of the team walked alongside us. Together they filled us in on how camels live in the outback, at the same time leading us towards sand dunes with sunrise views over Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

The desert is incredible peaceful at that time of the morning and as you travel along the remote camel tracks you can’t help but feel part of some incredible adventure. The light and shadows are a photographer’s dream and even the saddle is a lot more comfy than it seems!

best things to do in Uluru

Our camel enjoyed the view of Uluru too!

best things to do in Uluru

Camel ride selfie!

Back at the farm a brekkie of damper bread, spreads and strong coffee is waiting for you. There are lots of great pictures and stories of camels working in the outback spread around the property so we took some time to take them all in. Before heading back to our beds – it was still only 8am!

The tour ends with breakfast back at the Camel Farm

The tour ends with breakfast back at the Camel Farm

All sorts of outback memorabilia at the Camel Farm

All sorts of outback memorabilia at the Uluru Camel Farm

Visit the Cultural Centre

The signs at the entrance to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park urge you to visit the Cultural Centre first and I couldn’t agree more. An integral part of a visit to Uluru is about understanding the history and significance of this area and the small, mud-brick Cultural Centre has a big impact. Through video, images and information boards it sets out to explain the creation stories, traditions and ceremonies that take place at Uluru and Kata Tjuta, as well as provides some context into how the park is managed in association with the Anangu people, the Aboriginal land owners.

(Note: photography and filming is not permitted at the Cultural Centre.)

First stop: the Cultural Centre

First stop: the Cultural Centre

best things to do in Uluru

Kata Tjuta means ‘many heads’ in the local language

We loved self-driving around the park

We loved self-driving around the park

The screening room is one of the most interesting parts of the exhibition (in my opinion) as it covers the delicate subject of what it was like when westerners first arrived in Uluru, a subject not often spoken of but a part of history that cannot be ignored. In their own words some of the elder members of the community describe what it was like when white men arrived proffering sweets, which the locals threw over their shoulders whilst pretending to eat them lest they be poisonous. It’s a fascinating, educational film and I hope all visitors take time to watch it.

Best of the rest

Here’s what’s on our list for next time:

Helicopter Flight – if you’re on the left side of the plane you get an excellent view of Uluru as you land at Uluru/Ayers Rock Airport so I can just imagine how fantastic it would be to fly over the national park in a helicopter.

Uluru by Harley – for the cool riders!

Free Activities at Ayers Rock Resort – there is a whole range of free programmes hosted by the Ayers Rock Resort including Bush Yarns, Guided Garden Walks and Astronomy Information Sessions. Pick up a leaflet at your accommodation or via the Tour and Information Centre at Town Square for more information.

More Info

This trip was made possible by Austravel, leading Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific specialists who can tailor make your dream trip to Uluru. Find out more about their Red Centre Holiday Ideas here.

Further reading:

Tips For Travelling To Uluru

Conquering The Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Glamping At The Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge

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24 Comments

  1. October 6, 2015 / 5:11 am

    Love this post. Uluru itself is such an amazing place but there is so much more to Central Australia than The Rock. I am addicted to our outback and cannot get enough of it. Am hoping to visit the Kimberley next year. Fingers crossed 🙂

  2. Jayne Gorman
    Author
    October 6, 2015 / 5:39 am

    I know what you mean! This trip has given me a taste for more outback adventures – especially around Broome and the Kimberley. Fingers crossed you get your trip!

    We also went to Kings Canyon on this visit which was spectacular. More details to follow soon 🙂

  3. Tahlia
    October 6, 2015 / 5:57 am

    I love this post.. I live in Alice Springs and it makes me so happy when people who have never seen the outback, like your partner, come and they love it so much. I cant wait to read about Kings Canyon, it’s one of my favourite places in Australia, it’s magnificent!

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 6, 2015 / 6:00 am

      O wow so great to hear from you Tahlia. My partner was blown away just like we expected! It’s also been so great to be able to show people this part of the world who may not have seen many images before. Someone asked if I had added filters to my photos or whether it really was that orange on the ground and blue in the sky – I assured them it really was. I’m sure you’ve probably had similar questions 😉

  4. October 6, 2015 / 8:27 am

    Ah if only I could hop on a plane right now! This looks and sounds incredible. I can’t wait to do this trip one day soon. I’ve explored the east coast of Australia, but need to go back for this spot.

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 7, 2015 / 1:34 am

      I did the East Coast on my first visit to Oz too but can honestly say the NT has given me the best memories. Hope you make it over here one day soon 🙂

  5. October 6, 2015 / 9:13 am

    I literally loved my stay in Uluru. The hotel that we stayed in does it’s own Sounds of Silence dinner but it was cancelled due to the weather, which was pretty gutting but I adored doing everything else.
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 7, 2015 / 1:34 am

      What a terrible shame – that must be so rare. Maybe you’ll get a chance to come back some time and try again!

  6. October 6, 2015 / 11:13 am

    I never managed to go to this part of Australia when I was there, which is a same as this looks amazing!

    Leonie ♥ Lo On The Go

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 7, 2015 / 1:31 am

      I didn’t on my first visit either Leonie, it can be an expensive exercise, but totally worth it if you have the time and budget.

  7. October 6, 2015 / 12:22 pm

    I love this post! The Northern Territories were my favourite part of my time in Australia last year. Who knew rocks could be so special?! Uluru and Kings Canyon and the Devils Marbles totally blew me away and I really didn’t expect it. Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts on this incredible area.

    Yasmine | http://peekingduck.co

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 7, 2015 / 1:31 am

      Thank you! I know just how you feel. I’ve never been one for geology but the NT bought it out in me 😉 I’d love to visit the Devils Marbles, another one for the ‘next time’ list!

  8. October 7, 2015 / 1:17 am

    So glad you enjoyed Uluru, Jayne! It’s a very special part of the world!

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 7, 2015 / 1:29 am

      Thanks so much. It’s definitely left me wanting to explore more of the NT. Such a fascinating place in terms of nature and culture.

  9. October 8, 2015 / 1:22 pm

    How beautiful! These photos just make me want to watch Tracks again!

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 8, 2015 / 9:32 pm

      Funnily enough they sold the book at the camel farm and I wanted to read it all over again!

  10. October 8, 2015 / 6:11 pm

    Looks and sounds amazing. Definitely one trip I would like to do!

  11. October 9, 2015 / 10:30 am

    I absolutely loved Uluru and would love to go back one day! That sounds of silence dinner sounds incredible, and I’ve always wanted to ride a camel!

    C x | Lux Life

  12. October 29, 2015 / 7:52 am

    This brought back so many happy memories of the 3 days my teenage daughter and I had at Uluru in the spring this year. Like you, I loved the Sounds of Silence dinner (think we were at the same venue, as your photos look almost exactly like mine). I thought it might be a bit naff but it was just amazing. We sat with some lovely people, and just had the best evening with Mother Nature providing the best floor show ever.

    We didn’t do the camel at dawn, but did a dawn walk and breakfast, followed by walking round different parts of Uluru with an amazing guide. I’ve never enjoyed a bacon sandwich and coffee so much as watching that incredible sunrise over the monolith.

    I hope to get back some day, but count myself lucky to have experienced it once. Highly recommend it!

    • Jayne Gorman
      Author
      October 30, 2015 / 5:32 am

      I feel the same as you Helen. I felt so lucky to have even been once but when I got to go back and do these awesome experiences it was even better than I remembered. Your dawn walk and bacon sarnie sounds perfect. Maybe I’ll have to go back and do that one too!

  13. October 29, 2015 / 5:22 pm

    Amazing photos! I really want to go back to Australia to explore the red centre. I visited this beautiful country last year but I only managed to do the East Coast! Can’t wait to explore more of your blog 🙂

  14. Jayne Gorman
    Author
    October 30, 2015 / 5:32 am

    Thanks Kimberley! It’s such a vast country that there’s too much to fit into one trip. You’ll have to come back 😉

  15. November 6, 2015 / 2:28 am

    Wow – what an experience!

  16. January 12, 2016 / 11:51 pm

    I bet you’ve had an amazing Australian outback experience. It’s something that I also want to have in my lifetime and it seems that it’s just around the corner, for I’m going to Australia in 2 months! I’m so excited!

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