Welcome to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park! Where the sun is (almost) always shining and adventure awaits. This expansive park in the Northern Territory’s red centre is famous for the sacred site of Uluru, King’s Canyon, Field of Light art installation and more. We’ve rounded up some of the best things to do in Uluru and surrounds for your next trip to the NT.
1. Take a walk around Uluru
One of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, Uluru is a towering sandstone rock formation that holds UNESCO World Heritage-listed status. Most importantly, the region is one of the most culturally significant sights to the Traditional Owners of the land.
Uluru is sacred to the Anangu people, and is an important part of the creation stories of their Tjukurpa – traditional law, stories and spirituality. One of the best things to do in Uluru is marvel at its magnitude up-close and take a guided walk along the 2km Mala Walk or 10km base walk around the perimeter. Learn about the history and ecology of the region from an expert guide, and you’ll have chance to walk the perimeter and explore the Kantju Gorge and Mutitjulu Waterhole along the way.
2. Hike through Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
Take a walk by some of nature’s most impressive feats at Kata Tjuta, which is known for its 36 soaring rock domes. Take the Walpa Gorge or Valley of the Winds walking trails to explore the cultural landmark, where you’ll see sandstone cliffs, a grove of spear wood and lots of native plants.
If you take a guided walk with a local expert, you can also gain insight to the significance of Kata Tjuta to the Anangu people.
3. See the Field of Light
The Field of Light installation by Bruce Munro is well-known thanks to the power of social media but a snap online just doesn’t compare to the experience of seeing this exhibition in-person. The artwork is named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku in local Pitjantjatjara language, which means ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights.’ We’d say that’s a pretty spot-on description of this fantastical exhibit. With 50,000 solar-powered lights coming to life at sunset, the Field of Light illuminates the desert and transports its visitors to a colourful and stunning wonderland. Honestly, this is one of the most special experiences you will find in Australia, and it truly deserves to be on your list of things to do in Uluru.
4. Take on the King’s Canyon Walk
Another walk through the striking red-dirt trails of the outback is the King’s Canyon Hike, and it’s one of the best things to do in the Northern Territory. The lunar-like landscape is known for its unique ecosystem with more than 600 species of native plants and animals, large sandstone domes and the famously lush ‘Garden of Eden’. The King’s Canyon Rim Walk takes about six hours to complete and will show off the best of this unique region.
5. Take a dot-painting class
Immerse yourself in local culture with a Maruku dot painting class led by Anangu artists. You’ll learn about the traditional tools and methods and discover the meaning behind popular symbols in Aboriginal artworks. Under the guidance of your local expert, you’ll create your very own painting to bring home as a special souvenir from your time on this sacred land.
6. Skydive over Uluru
One of the biggest pinch-me moments you’ll find in the NT: skydiving over Uluru. This one’s a must for thrill-seekers! You’ll skydive from an impressive height of 12,000 feet, checking out views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta as you make your way back down to earth. Offering a unique view of the red-dirt outback, if you can handle the height, it’s one experience you definitely don’t want to miss.
7. Toast the sunset at Uluru
There’s nothing quite like the vibrant pink and gold sunset at Uluru – except perhaps toasting to it with a glass of bubbles! With Contiki, you’ll be treated to an evening of nibbles and drinks as you watch one of the finest shows on earth from your very own viewing party.
Image source:Paul Walker / Unsplash
8. Visit the Uluru Cultural Centre
For greater insight to the culture and history of the Traditional Owners, head to the Uluru Cultural Centre. The Tjukurpa Tunnel will transport you to the beginning of time, sharing stories of creation from the Tjukurpa and offering insight to the traditions of the Anangu people. There are also two galleries at the centre, showcasing Aboriginal arts and crafts – with profits going back into the local community.
9. Check out the colourful Lake Amadeus
The largest salt lake in the NT, Lake Amadeus is a striking combination of red sand, white salt and river water formed in unique shapes. You can hike around the massive lake, which is about a 50km drive from the base camp of Uluru, or if you’re feeling fancy, take to the skies with a scenic flight for unbeatable views of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Lake Amadeus.
10. Ride a camel at sunrise
Think the sunsets are unbeatable? Well, you absolutely have to see Uluru at sunrise! And tbh, you can’t get much better than witnessing fiery skies rise from the rich red desert dunes, as you bump along on the back of an iconic outback camel. The morning air is fresh. Calm. Something that will probably not be calm is the experience of actually hopping on the camel… With names like “The Rock” and “Ghan” you know that these guys are BIG (with even bigger personalities).
11. Witness natures nightly show
It’s likely you will have never seen the stars so clearly. Without the interference from city lights, the night sky is free to absolutely ✨ turn on ✨ in the Australian outback. Whether you enjoy the simplicity of an evening walk, take an Astro tour and stargaze through telescopes and binoculars, or try your hand at astrophotography.
How many days do you need in Uluru?
Spend at least three days exploring Uluru and the unique surrounds of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. The best things to do in Uluru include absolutely unforgettable experiences; ride a camel at sunrise, wander the mesmerising Field of Lights installation, cheers to breath-taking sunsets, and attend cultural workshops with the traditional owners, the Anangu people. Strap on your walking shoes for a trek around the base of Uluru, a hike at Kings Canyon, or discover the many trails at Kata Tjuta.