Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is Australia’s best-known natural icon and a World Heritage Site. Rising high above the surrounding desert plains, it strikes an imposing figure, with its ochre rock faces appearing to change color at sunrise and sundown.
With the nearest town of Alice Springs some 280 miles (450 km) away by road, Uluru (and its sister rock formation, Kata Tjuta) is a long way from anywhere, so it’s important to plan your visit to make the most of your time here.
It is possible to walk around the rock with Aboriginal guides and explore the springs, waterholes and cave paintings. You can also climb the rock, although this is considered dangerous (due to heat and high winds) and insulting to the local Anangu people, for whom the rock is sacred.
Several tours offer a unique way to experience Uluru and the surrounding landscape. As the sun goes down and the evening cools, it is possible to dine near the rock and see it glowing a fiery red before complete darkness settles on the desert, with stars across the sky.
The Ayers Rock Sounds of Silence Dinner is perhaps the most romantic way to top off a day’s desert exploration and includes a formal dinner under the stars with champagne and traditional didgeridoo music, a gourmet barbecue of Australian delicacies like barramundi, a crocodile and a ‘star-talker’. Less formal but providing a taste of traditional Aussie hospitality as the sun goes down is the Ayers Rock Outback Barbecue Dinner and Star Tour.