Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a must-see for anyone visiting Australia‘s Northern Territory. Self-guided tours are a great way to see the area at your own pace. Or you may choose to join one of the many tour groups that head to this area as I did. Whilst living in Sydney I participated in the STA Travel’s Overnight Dingo Dreaming Safari Tour. Limited funds meant I could only do one night of the tour, but you definitely need more time in the area. Here are my top things to do whilst in Uluru Kata- Tjuta National Park. But trust me, there’s a whole heap more to add to this list too!
Camping in Uluru Kata- Tjuta National Park
There is no camping in Uluru Kata- Tjuta National Park. As I joined a group tour, accommodation was sorted for me. But if you choose to do a self-guided tour of the area and wish to camp, do check the Parks Australia website for camping options. Sleeping under the stars in the middle of the outback was an unreal experience and something I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. Falling asleep, with a roaring campfire burning to my left and the star-filled night sky above me, felt absolutely amazing. Yes, when I woke up at 3 am colder than I ever have been before, but the view sure as hell made up for it.
Sunrise or Sunset at Uluru
For me, sunrise and sunset at Uluru were the highlights of my trip. Depending on what time of day you head to the lookout, you’ll be treated by a spectacular array of colours. Watching the skies transition from black to a blues and yellow and the rock go from dark brown to burnt orange was magical. It was surprising how fast it all happened, but it was incredible to watch. A must-do for anyone visiting Uluru Kata- Tjuta National Park.
Uluru Base Walk
Discover more about Uluru and the Anangu (the traditional landowners of Uluru Kata- Tjuta National Park) by completing the Uluru Base Walk. Along the way, you’ll learn more about the cultural significance of the site. Whilst surrounding yourself with native Australian animals and plants, acacia woodlands and the vast outback. Along the 10km track, you’ll pass Pulari and Tjukatjapi Warayuki, two sensitive sites where photography is not permitted. As well as Kantju Gorge, the Mutitjuli Waterhole and Kuniya Piti.
Stop at the Mutitjuli Waterhole
It may be surprising to learn that Uluru is home to a number of watering holes. But none more significant than the Mutitjuli Waterhole along the Kuniya Walk (a smaller section of the Uluru Base Walk). This walk is home to the dramatic creation story of Kuniya and Lira. The former said to still be resting in the waterhole. The nearby Kulpi Mutitjulu (the Mutitjulu Cave) is also important as it housed Anangu families. Generations would gather tell stories in the caves and paint these stories on the rock, some of which still survive today.
View Rock Art
I mentioned earlier the cultural significance of Uluru. And whilst walking along the base of Uluru keep your eyes peeled for rock art, an important part of Anangu culture. The Tjukurpa stories and knowledge of the Anangu people have been passed from generation to generation, and this rock art is one of the ways in which this happened. Although it’s extremely difficult to date the artwork, people are believed to have lived in this region for at least 30,000 years. Considering its age the artwork is so vivid and is still so clear in places. You can make out whole pictures, symbols and figures painted on the rock.
Exploring Kata Tjuta
On my second and last day of the tour we were taken to Kata- Tjuta, to spend the day learning about the geology of this site. Only a half-hour drive away from Uluru, Kata Tjuta is an impressive rock formation made up of 36 domes. The tallest of which is named Mount Olga. We were given the opportunity to walk among the Olgas, surrounding ourselves with Rattle Flowers, Bush Mint, Lemongrass and the Mistletoe Tree. For nature and wildlife lovers, Kata- Tjuta would be the perfect place for you to explore whilst in the National Park.
Walk in the Valley of the Winds
As we hiked among Kata Tjuta we passed two lookouts on our way. The first was the Karu lookout, about a forty-minute journey from our beginning point. The second required us to walk for another forty or so minutes, uphill on some very rocky terrain. But once we reached the top of an extremely steep incline, we were treated to some breath-taking views, similar to that in the picture above. Just sitting in the peace and quiet surrounded on all sides by looming rock was a strangely calming experience. Uluru may take a lot of the limelight but Kata Tjuta deserves it just as much.
The whole trip was so worthwhile and I would recommend every last part of my trip to anyone thinking of making the leap and visiting Uluru. If you have any highlights you’d like to share from your time in Uluru Kata- Tjuta National Park please leave a comment, I’d love to hear about it.
Until next time.