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Sunset at Uluru

“The Rock” - Otherwise known as Uluru.

You can organise yourself a 1,2,3 4 or 5 day mini bus/4 wheel drive tour to discover this famous rock and its meaning from the Aboriginal culture. You can even head all the way up through the Northern Territory or Adelaide on an extended trip from Alice Springs.

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Guide To Uluru

A visit to Uluru is all about incredible geography, an ancient culture and the chance to take remarkable photos. When you visit you’ll learn about aboriginal culture, how it is today, and what it actually once was. For many there are some big surprises. A lot of Australians live mostly on the east coast and south coast of Australia and don’t know what’s going on in Central Australia with aboriginal culture. This is a place where the effects of white culture have only been relatively short-term.

Wild Places

Another thing that surprises visitors is the isolation. The Northern Territory is a big place with a very small population. It has harsh weather conditions. Cold in the winter and very hot it in the summer. So this is a wild rugged part of the world.

The Highlights

The most important places to see are Uluru, Kata-Tjuta, and Kings Canyon. Even those places have little hidden areas. Not necessarily just physical hidden areas. A guide can help you see what’s really interesting. For example there are some hidden places along the western MacDonnell Ranges. They are on the tourist track, but a lot of tourists don’t make it into those places. Places like Serpentine Gorge. It’s a stunning place with a waterhole and amazing geological formations.

Hidden Gems

It is possible to do a short highlight trip here. Your other option is to slow down and really take in what is unique about this beautiful landscape. There are amazing places just out of Alice Springs. The MacDonnell Ranges are a stunning area to explore. It has canyons, gorges, and waterholes that are semi-permanent and permanent all year round. Some travellers rank the MacDonnell Ranges as one of the most amazing places in all of Australia.

The west of MacDonnell Ranges are particularly stunning. These are places like Redbank, Ormiston, Ellery Creek Big-Hole. Rainbow Valley is also a good place to go, just south of Alice Springs.

The Benefit of A Good Guide

The best way to see all this is through an established backpacker tour with a guide who has some local knowledge. If you just get in a hire car and go and see these place, you'll get there and it is just a place. If you have a guide you get to learn all the history and the culture that goes with those places. You’re seeing it through the eyes of somebody who potentially has a lot more history with the area. That’s when a lot of passion for the place comes through. Seeing this country with a good guide makes it more meaningful and enjoyable.

Guides are able to explain how aboriginal people in Central Australia survived, how they moved around in satellite groups, and how they found water. Many people are really quite blown away to learn about survival in such an incredibly harsh environment.

Great Walks

There are amazing walks in Central Australia. There’s the walk around Uluru, there’s the walk at Kata-Tjuta. A visit to Central Australia is about coming and learning about the land and seeing the spectacular beauty of sunrises and the sunsets. Those who do come here normally go away pretty impressed.


If you are a photographer you are in for a treat any time of year. Towards the summertime, you get the buildup of some storms, so there’s the chance of getting some rainfalls late in the afternoon. The warmer weather might be more challenging but it has the advantage of giving you much longer daylight hours. You have both early sunrises and late sunsets. Most cloud potential happens between October until Christmas. That is when you’re going to get the best and most colourful photographs. Unfortunately, it’s also the time when a lot of people don’t come because temperatures can go well above 40 degrees, and that’s by 9:00 am in the morning. So you can take great photos any time of the year. If it's a crazy passion for you then think about coming when the heat on just for the storm clouds and the colour that comes with them.

Best Time

Generally, from August up until October/November is the better time for a lot of travellers; it’s not too hot yet, but it’s also starting to get some of that cloud colour. The guides say they think the best time is in the peak of summer from November through to early March. They say you get longer daytime hours, so you get more time to see things. There is that luxury of being able to go and use one of the swimming pools in the resort or at Kings Creek Station or Kings Canyon Resort. During the summer months there’s more daylight so there's more time to drive from place to place. Visitors at this time of the year notice things move at a more relaxing pace.


There’s several different accommodation options. Some tours offer bush style swags for sleeping underneath the stars. Sleeping in the sand dunes or sleeping on the ground adds to the sense of adventure. We'd recommend it. There’s also tent accommodation which is fun as well.


You’ll probably see some kangaroos. camels, birds and reptiles like lizards.

What You Take  Away

It’s one thing to go and see a great big rock in the middle of a desert, but actually understanding how that rock was formed is a special part of the story.  You’ll come away with amazing pictures, an understanding how everything was formed, and some insight into the aboriginal culture and how the aboriginal people lived off this wild land. For many, this part of the world is spiritual, mystical and very special. Come and see it for yourself.

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