“There are lots of different ways you can get yourself to the Red Centre and it is more than worth the effort”
Ask People what they have to see before they leave Australia and you can bet a whole lot of them are going to say “the Rock”.
Known as many things such as Uluru, Ayers Rock, the rock and that big thing in the red centre, the popular pilgrimage to this amazing sight is one that surely should not be missed.
Unfortunately, there are a few small obstacles to negotiate such as the cost and the distance to get there. Over the years the most popular ways of getting to see the Rock has changed due to many factors. 3 day Trips from Alice Springs to the rock used to be most popular and were the common option especially when Tiger airways started operating as a budget carrier to “The Alice”. After a short stint of operating the service Tiger soon realised they were not getting enough passengers to justify its existence and they ceased running. You could argue that they could operate the route seasonally from May to October but as it is the nature of tourism a lot of international tourists still choose to visit the Rock in Summer even though Temperatures are extremely high (It is the desert after all). Word has it that Virgin (who now are a majority shareholder of Tiger Airways) are going to start Flying into Alice Springs.
In recent history trips from Ayers Rock Airport have become increasingly popular thanks to Jetstar Airways operating services direct from Sydney and Melbourne. The benefit of these trips is that you can arrive at the airport, get picked up without having to spend a night before hand and get dropped back at the airport afterwards in time for your flight out. The fact of the matter is and I’m sorry to say it but there isn’t a lot to see in Alice Springs. Those short on time can do an Afternoon trip to the Rock and spend a night at the Ayers Rock Yha or do an overnight trip so you at least get to experience camping in a swag and seeing the amazing outback night sky full of stars. The best option by far is the 4 day 3-night trip as it is great value and there is A LOT to see out this way with an abundance of amazing hikes and stories to experience.
If you’ve got more time there’s always the option of Hiring a Car or Campervan (or perhaps you already own a car) and doing a ROAD TRIP!!! There’s just a few things to consider in this case. You’ll be driving long distances with not a lot in between so you need to take into consideration the cost of fuel. Once you get into the outback the cost of fuel has been known to go upwards of $2.20 a litre. Of course once you get to your destination it’s totally worth it and you get to enjoy the amazing landscape of Australia change as you travel along, it’s just always good to be prepared. Also to take into Consideration is that no insurance (when hiring) will cover you for hitting Kangaroos and other wildlife. It is best to limit your driving to during the day as in the early morning or Sunset and night time Kangaroos and other Critters are more active and will jump across the road right in front of you. Having a head on collision with an Adult Kangaroo can be a costly affair.
A safer option and the best option for many with the time is an Extended tour. You can do Extended tours from Melbourne, Adelaide and Darwin or Start in Alice Springs itself. The benefit of these tours is that you get all your food, accommodation and transport included. You also get to travel with a knowledgeable tour guide who will take care of the driving for you so that you can rest in between hikes and all the hot spots. Guides that visit the rock also have to pass accreditation which means they need to know their stuff, if you travel on a tour you are not only going to see all these amazing spots but you’re also going to learn the story behind them which makes for a really special experience.
To sum up there are lots of different ways you can get yourself to the Red Centre and it is more than worth the effort, I myself have been a few times and on one occasion even proposed to my wife out there, it really is that special a place.