Round trip visit to Uluru and Olgas  from Alice Springs in Northern Territory

The travel route: Alice Springs – Kings Canyon – Uluru – Olgas – Alice Springs.

Alice Springs

From the airport, take a rented car and drive to Alice Springs (12 km), walk on to Todd mall and visit the tourist information bureau. Many of the city's residents are Australia's original – the Aboriginals.

 

Todd mall in Alice Springs

 

Walk to the Anzac hill overlooking the city, which is located near the Centre. From the top, you can see that Alice Springs is a small place in the middle of a huge desert.

 

Anzac hill overlooking to Alice Springs

 

Here at Alice Springs it is recommended to visit the Olive Pink Botanic Garden. The park is spread on a relatively large area, full with desert plants. Around the park are various cabins with cages of animals typical of the desert, mainly birds. At many points around the park are signs advertising guided tours at certain hours, each time on a different subject.

 

Olive Pink Botanic Garden Olive Pink Botanic Garden

 

 

There is a movie theater showing intermittently a movie on the creation of Australia culminating with a large picture of a mountain in the desert, and then, the screen drops and the real mountain located near the park is exposed – impressive!

Olive Pink Botanic Garden theater

 

There is also a Reptile Center in Alice Springs where you can see snakes, lizards, reptiles and various rodents which live in the desert.

 

a desert lizard

For those interested, a camel trip in the nearby desert is available. The following is a short movie of such an experience: A camel tour at Alice Springs.

 

Tips for driving in the desert in Northern Territory

The distance from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon is about 470 km. Near Kings Canyon you can stay at Kings Canyon Resort for the night. It is recommended to make the trip during the day light time so that you will not be surprised by crossing animals. Although on desert roads there is usually a fence against animals, it is not so effective against kangaroos that can jump above it. The fence is good against cows, and indeed there are some. Every two to three kilometers you will see a corpse of an animal, mainly kangaroos. Most desert roads are made for fast traveling (mostly the permitted speed is 130 km/h), but as stated one must be careful of animals as well as long trucks named "Road Trains" with up to three and four trailers carrying fuel, minerals, food, containers etc. When you pass one, keep a distance from it because a small swerve by the truck driver causes a large swerve of the last trailer, and often the bank of the road is damaged and narrow. Sometimes there is a special passing lane, and if not, you can pass because the road is straight for many kilometers and there is little traffic.

 

Road Train truck

 

Be equipped with drinking and some supplies as well as good spare wheel (even two spare wheels for those traveling on unpaved roads). The road has two lanes – one for each direction and the allowed speed is 130 km/h. A desert road with little and monotonous vegetation. There are 3 fueling stations on the way and you must always make sure you have a tank with spare fuel. It is most undesirable to be stuck. There is also no cellular connection along the roads except for the populated areas. A satellite phone is recommended. Fuel prices in the desert are more expensive by 30 to 50 percent than in the large cities.

 

A tour of Kings Canyon.

The two marked recommended tracks in the park can be completed in half a day of walking. One track is long, about three hours, on the edge of the cliffs, and a short track of less then an hour inside the canyon.

 

Kings Canyon trail map

 

The long track starts with climbing up a sharp incline to the top of the bluff.

 

Kings Canyon

 

Then you continue along the edge of the cliffs with relatively moderate inclines and declines. There is also a descent and climbing stairs and a bridge passing over to the other opposite bluff. You must be careful not to be too near to the edge of the cliff, there are no guardrails, and with children, and we have seen children there, they must be taken care of. Along all the track are nice observation points over the canyon, the gulf and the steep walls some totally perpendicular. Passing from one side to the other is by stairs and a bridge. 

 

cliffs in Kings Canyon cliffs in Kings Canyon

 

There is little water in the bed of the canyon at the crossing point and lots of vegetation, and a trail leading into the bed at the crossing point.

 

cliffs in Kings Canyon

 

Going down the cliff is more moderate than the going up.
There are many flies in the area; you can buy a face protection screen ahead of time. In Uluru and Olgas there are many more flies.
After the cliff trail you enter into the canyon all the way to the end of the trail, at which place there is an observation point into the canyon.

 

cliffs in Kings Canyon

 

From Kings Canyon leave in the direction of Curtin Springs at a distance of some 200 km. On the way, about twenty km before Curtin Springs, stop at an organized observation point on Mount Conner which some travelers are mistaken to think it is the Uluru. It is unclear why this mountain is not popular, because it is very impressive.

 

Mount Conner

 

Across the road from this observation point there is a sand hill with a nice view of the half dry lakes in the area.

 

dry lakes in northern territory

 

Who looks for inexpensive accomodation can lodge at the Curtin Springs site Motel; The Curtin Springs Wayside Inn. Here there is a filling station, guest rooms, free parking for caravans with minimal facilities. Across, there is a cows' ranch. The room is minimal, like a very basic Motel 6.

Curtin Springs Wayside Inn

 

I recommend the better hotels (and more expensive of course) in Yulara which is 20km from Uluru.

 

A tour of Uluru at sunset (Ayers Rock)

The Uluru is about one hundred km away from Curtin Springs. It is recommended to travel before the sunset in order to see the Uluru at sunset.
You can see how the Uluru changes its colors into reddish as the sun goes down, and after sunset it turns into-red black. Beautiful and impressive sight.

 

Uluru - Ayers Rock
Uluru - Ayers Rock

 

Yulara

After sunset you can spend the night in nearby Yulara. This is a small settlement with a number of expensive hotels, a commercial center, filling station etc. Close to Yulara is a small airport mainly for domestic flights so if you want you can visit Uluru and Olgas by arriving here by flight.

Cellular reception is available close to Yulara. The supermarket is open until 21:00 and the tourist information bureau until 20:30.

Apartments and Hotels in Yulara:

Emu Walk Apartments

Rated as 4 Star. Located a short walk from Ayers Rock Resort centre. Each apartment is air-conditioned and has a TV with on-demand movies, plus a balcony or veranda. All apartments are self-contained, with separate kitchen, living and bedroom areas.  Close to Gecko’s cafe which offers gourmet pizzas, pasta and Mediterranean-style dishes. Guests receive free return airport transfers from Ayers Rock Airport (Uluru, Conellan Airport) to the hotel.

 

5 Star Hotel:

Sails in the Desert (book with HotelsCombined.com)

 Outdoor swimming pool, free shuttle service from Ayers Rock Airport. Outdoor tennis courts and a gym, spa and wellness centre. Ayers Rock Resort Shopping Centre is less than five minutes' walk away. 

Longitude 131

 5-star accommodation, as well as an outdoor pool. It showcases views of Ayers Rock (Uluru), and provides luxury tents. Tents feature a private bathroom equipped with bathrobes. All provide wireless internet access, an in-room safe and floor-to-ceiling windows. Facilities: a library, a dry cleaning service and a fitness centre. The in-house spa and wellness centre offers a variety of massages and body treatments.

 

A day tour in Uluru.

Start the visit at the Culture Centre near the mountain. Presentations, movies and many nice posters explaining the Aborigines' culture are found here. First go to the sunrise observation point, which is not as good a location as that of the sunset, too close to the mountain, also, the place is low and there were shrubs and trees disturbing a good sight of the mountain.
Continue to the main parking near the mountain climbing point. The climbing trail is extremely steep and dangerous having a one rope rail that one can hold on. Seems highly not recommended to climb. The place is also sacred for the Aboriginals and they prefer that people do not climb the mountain.

 

Uluru - Ayers Rock Uluru - Ayers Rock

 

From there continue your trip to the Olgas Mountains at a distance of some 50 km.

 

Tour of Olgas (Kata Tjuta)

On the way from Uluru to Olgas there is an observation point of the Olgas Mountians at a distance of about 26 km.
The Olgas Mountains are comprised of a series of steep and high hills, even more than the Uluru, and some claim that they are more impressive and beautiful. From this observation point, they did not seem more impressive, possibly because of the distance.

 

Olgas - Kata Tjuta

 

When we drew nearer, passed to their other side, they appeared in their full beauty.

 

Olgas - Kata Tjuta

 

As can be seen, the place is comprised of separate domes, very steep and high. There is a walking trail between the domes with a length of about 7.5 km. The full-length tour will last about three hours. The place is not less interesting than the Uluru because it is diverse and it can be well visited. In Uluru it takes one round and there is nothing more than to wait for the sunset.

 

Olgas - Kata Tjuta Olgas - Kata Tjuta
Olgas - Kata Tjuta

 

From there, return to Yulara or Curtin Springs for overnight, and then return to Alice Springs or take a flight from Yulara airport.

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