If you’re visiting Australia, you should consider a pilgrimage to the most iconic rock in the country.
Uluru Rock. Credit: Walkerssk
Although there are many ways to explore Uluru now in a responsible and culturally sensitive manner, you’ll also be able to enjoy plenty off-the-beaten-path attractions to make the most of your visit to Ayers Rock.
Stunning hikes, incredibly climbs, and the rich culture are just the beginning. Throw in some quirky events and festivals and your Australian vacation will be made. Make sure you get travel covered before booking your flights!
Explore the other rocks
Uluru may be the star of the show, but it’s far from the only big rock worth visiting. Just about 30 kilometers away lies the striking domes of Kata Tjuta, or The Olgas. Only two walks are opened to tourists due to its significance in Aboriginal law, religion, and customs. Please note that climbing the boulders isn’t permitted. If you’ll be there at sunrise, definitely head to the dune viewing platform. A $25 park entry ticket will allow you to visit the domes on your own time or join a tour through Ayers Rock Resort.
Fool-uru is also worth viewing. It’s often called Uluru’s forgotten rock. Mt Conner, or Atila, as it’s known was formed during the same uplift period that created Uluru nearly 550 million years ago. It sits on the cattle station of Curtin Springs about 80 kilometers north of Uluru. SEIT Outback Australia now runs tours through the area.
While you’re in the area, you should also grab a bite to eat and take the opportunity to learn a bit more about the deep cultural and spiritual significance of Uluru to the Anangu. Ayers Rock Resort offers multiple cultural experiences worth trying out. The Wintjiri Arts & Museum, next to the Desert Gardens Hotel, also has an exhibition of the history and geology of the region.
Hike Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon. Source: Walesjacqueline
If you’re in the Ayers Rock area, it’s easy to hike the legendary Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park on an enjoyable day trip. Lying about 300 kilometers from Uluru, you can drive out to do the famous 6KM Rim Walk that lasts three to four hours. You can also book a guided hiking tour with AAT Kings to explore the area. Your tour will stop at the Kings Creek Station where you can enjoy a delicious breakfast in a quirky setting and later see the Kings Canyon Resort at lunchtime.
The Rim Walk starts out steep and challengingly, which is why it has been nicknamed “Heart Attack Hill” but following the peak, you’ll enjoy a relatively easy climb through some spectacular landscapes, like the domes of the “Lost City” and the lush oasis at the canyon’s heart known as the Garden of Eden.
Attend festivals and special events
When the cool autumn climate begins breezing in, the festival season kicks off around Uluru. It all starts with the Tjungu Festival in April that celebrates the indigenous culture through music, markets, foods, sports, and more. At the end of May, attend the Camel Cup where you’ll find on and off track entertainment. Ayers Rock Resort also hosts many different special events, from astronomy programs to yoga retreats.