I’m not a religious person, but for me, Uluru is an extremely spiritual place. It’s the single most powerful place I have ever visited. Perhaps it is the isolated and remote location. Perhaps it’s the sheer size of this monolith, and the sprawling nothingness surrounding it. Perhaps, as the traditional owners believe, it is a place steeped in energy, meaning and magic. I think they’re probably right. To me, Uluru in Australia’s Northern Territory is truly magic.
Walk around Uluru
Take a day, take a week, take as much time as you can to explore this remarkable place. We took the time to walk around Uluru, and I could not recommend this more highly. Touch the rock-face. Hug each turn as you walk around its circumference. If you walk quickly, the ten kilometres metres or so of flat paths won’t take you long to complete. But nobody walks around Uluru quickly; you stop constantly to stare, you take endless photos, and you sometimes walk backwards, just too walk forwards again. We set off around 9am, and finished around lunchtime, mostly because I took too many photos, read every sign explaining the significance of the site, and stopped to chat to other walkers along the way. Do not go to Uluru without walking around it. This is a must.
What to Pack to Explore Uluru
Comfortable outdoor clothes, including either runners or light hiking shoes. No sandals or thongs. In the shade of the rock it can be cool, so pack a jumper. Bring a hat, sunscreen and a truckload of water. Even on a cool day you will need plenty of fluids. We packed a picnic lunch, and you can easily get basic groceries from the local supermarket next door to the hotel.
Uluru Bicycle Ride | Outback Cycling Uluru
This was easily my favourite activity all week. Watching Uluru glide by as we peddled along the wide and dusty paths was a sensational experience. The well-maintained three-gear cruisers were perfect for the easy ride around the rock. This experience was so much fun I wanted to go again. Oh and if you’re a die-hard cyclist I would strongly recommend bringing your own bicycle. A road bike would be great for the sealed surfaces, and a mountain bike would be perfect for exploring the endless array of tracks and paths in the area.
What to wear to bike ride around Uluru
Active-wear and closed toe shoes
Desert Awakenings Tour Uluru | BOOK
If you’ve got limited time at Uluru, this tour is a great way to see the surrounds and get some great photos. We boarded a four-wheel-drive bus at 5am, and were taken to a secluded lookout to watch sunrise over Uluru. We sipped hot chocolate, nibbled on freshly baked damper, and devoured bacon and egg rolls as we watched the sun climb into the desert sky. What a great way to start the day. Later on, we were treated to a drive around Uluru, narrated by an expert guide, who stopped along the way to allow us time to take photos and enjoy the surrounds. Last stop was the cultural centre. While I am not usually one for tourist shops, the cultural centre is well worth a visit. We watched as local and visiting indigenous artists painted in the gallery, and wandered the shop taking in some spectacular artwork.
What to wear for the Uluru Desert Awakenings Tour
Before the sun gets up, this tour is cold, so bring a cosy jacket and closed shoes. If you’re cold and extra-lucky, there’s a few ponchos onboard too.
Sounds of Silence Dinner Uluru | BOOK
Once again, we were picked up from our hotel foyer, this time in a large coach. Our group was driven to another lookout, where we sipped sparkling wine, snacked on canapés and took in the sunset over Uluru. Indigenous performers and a didgeridoo player were also on hand, making the experience extra special. After the sun set, we enjoyed a three course meal under the stars, followed by a walk among the Field Of Lights installation by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro. A wonderful way to wind out a special day.
What to wear for the Sounds of Silence Dinner
Pack a warm jacket if you’re taking this tour. It gets cold when the sun goes down.
Visiting Kata Tjuta or The Olgas
If you’re in the NT for a short stay, it may be tempting to skip the Olgas. Please don’t. Whilst they’re in a similar category to Uluru, this rock formation is uniquely impressive, and entirely different. Walking between the two sheer rock faces is awe-inspiring and humbling in equal measure.
Getting there: 40 minutes or 52.3km from Sails In The Desert. The roads are sealed all the way.
What to wear to explore Kata Tjuta
Active-wear, especially comfy walking shoes. Take a picnic, or a snack, and don’t forget plenty of water.
Northern Territory Driving Holiday Tips
- Half the fun of travelling in the Northern Territory is cruising the wide open roads, and enjoying the beautiful sunrises and sunsets from the comfort of your car. Don’t rush. Take your time. Drive safely. Be sure to stop along the way. Lookouts, rest stops, roadside businesses, vantage points. There’s so much to see when you take the time to look.
- Spend some money hiring a good car. Long drives to remote locations will be much more pleasurable behind the wheel of a comfortable car. Air conditioning is a must, especially if you’re travelling in the warmer months.
- Ask the locals. Don’t just rely on travel guides and Google. Those in the know are often the people who call the place home.
- Pack practical clothing. Do not leave home without plenty of active wear, a warm jacket and great runners.
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Voyages during our time at Uluru. As always, the opinions and words are authentically our own.
Gabrielle Boyle is a reporter for Nine News Australia, based in Sydney. With fifteen years experience in television reporting and presenting, Gabrielle specialises in breaking news, and thrives on the adrenalin which comes with covering breaking national and international news.
In her spare time, you will find her enjoying the great outdoors, whether it be bushwalking in the Blue Mountains, kayaking on Sydney Harbour or camping out in the Royal National Park.
Follow Gabrielle’s off-camera adventures on Instagram or Twitter.