Planning a trip to Uluru? There’s a wide range of accommodation at Ayers Rock Resort, from secluded luxury glamping at Longitude 131º to family friendly camping and self-catering stays, so where should you stay in Uluru and how should you decide which option is best? Here’s a straightforward guide to where you can stay and what you can expect so you can book the right accommodation and plan the perfect Red Centre holiday.
To visit Uluru, you’ll need to book one of the accommodation options at nearby Ayers Rock Resort or Longitude 131º – located around 20 minutes’ drive from the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre, where most tours and activities start. The next closest accommodation offerings outside of the resort are at Erldunda Roadhouse (two and a half hours’ drive) and Kings Creek Station (less than three hours drive if you have a 4WD vehicle) so an early start is possible but to get the most out of a visit to the Red Centre, basing part of your stay at Ayers Rock Resort is key.
The resort is located within the township of Yulara and boasts seven different types of accommodation, the Gallery of Central Australia (GoCA), 11 restaurants and bars, a tour and information centre, four swimming pools and the Red Ochre Day Spa.
Longitude 131º’s luxury glamping tents and two-bedroom pavilion are positioned in a more private setting amidst the red dunes and scrub. This self-sufficient bush camp is separate to the resort and has its own pool, day spa, bar, restaurant and communal lounge and an outdoor dining area.
Ayers Rock Resort
While there’s something to suit every budget and traveller, the free resort shuttle bus loops around the circular road at the centre of the resort every 20 minutes from 10:30am through to midnight. Guests can easily get around from wherever they are staying to dine at any of the eateries, shop at the local IGA and visit the Town Square to take advantage of free activities and book onsite and National Park experiences in person, such as the ever popular Field of Light.
Complimentary parking and Ayers Rock airport transfers are available and there’s free Wi-fi in hotspots throughout the resort available to all guests.
There are lookouts with views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the distance within walking distance of all of the five hotels and campground, as well as at the Town Square. Each has a platform from which to watch the sunset or sunrise; arrive early to nab a prime viewing spot.
Ayers Rock Campground
Best for: Families with younger children and adventurers undertaking an outback road trip.
Budget: From $43 per night for an unpowered site.
We love: The well-maintained gas barbecues for self-catering campers and the strong hot-water pressure in the showers.
Closest lookout: Naninga Lookout lies to the south of the powered sites.
Pitch a tent and car camp, bring along your campervan or camper trailer or book a simple air-conditioned cabin with fridge, microwave and linen included at Ayers Rock Campground. Guests who choose to book the campground or the powered sites, located in the north-east section of the resort furthest away from the entrance, have access to a range of amenities within easy walking distance of all sites including a swimming pool and playground for the kids, a covered outdoor cooking area, general store stocked with drinks and confectionery, communal barbecues positioned throughout the campground and paid laundry facilities (although washing seems to dry fairly quickly hanging outdoors without the need for the dryers). All bathroom amenities are shared and amenity blocks are modern, clean and easy to access.
Outback Pioneer Hotel
Closed from 1 November 2022 to 1 April 2023
Best for: Groups of family or friends looking for a budget stay.
Budget: From $300 per night for Standard Rooms (minimum two night stay).
We love: There are three different dining options adjacent to the hotel – the fun, casual and lively atmosphere at the Outback Pioneer Kitchen attracts guests from all over the resort.
Closest lookout: Pioneer Lookout is a short distance south east of the property. You can also walk a little further to Uluru Lookout to the south west.
Basic and comfortable, the air-conditioned rooms at the Outback Pioneer Hotel have plenty of natural light, ensuite bathrooms, televisions, mini-fridges and tea and coffee making facilities. Handy for travelling with friends or family, the 30m² rooms sleep up to three (children aged 15 and under can stay for free) and it's possible to reserve accessible rooms and also request cots and interconnecting rooms.
Adjacent to the hotel is the Pioneer BBQ and Bar for casual DIY barbecues paired with salads, sides and dessert, the open-air Pioneer Kitchen for live music and a pub-inspired menu of burgers, fries and pizza or Bough House restaurant for a sit-down buffet breakfasts and a-la-carte dinners – go for the roast of the day.
The Lost Camel Hotel
Best for: Younger couples looking for an affordable stay.
Budget: From $330 per night for Standard Rooms (minimum two night stay).
We love: The handy location within walking distance of the resort’s main amenities.
Closest lookout: Imalung Lookout, located at the centre of the resort.
The fun and colourful design of the rooms in this contemporary three-and-a-half star hotel are positioned around a large pool surrounded by sun loungers. Each compact 22m² room sleeps a maximum of two and is furnished with a mini-fridge, sofa/seating, in-room safe and HD television. Rooms are bright and well lit and the ensuite bathrooms open up to natural light. Accessible and interconnecting rooms are available on request.
The hotel is located in a convenient spot adjacent to the Town Square, which is the central hub of the resort. Guests can take the shuttle or walk to any of the resort’s restaurants or bars but the three closest places for a meal are Geckos Cafe (a casual dine-in eatery that also offers takeaway dishes), Ayers Wok (a takeaway Asian noodle bar) and the Kulata Academy Cafe (serving healthy breakfasts, lunch and smoothies as well as cakes and pastries), which is staffed by competent trainees of the National Indigenous Training Academy.
SEE ALSO: Everything to Know about Uluru
Emu Walk Apartments
Best for: Couples or larger groups of family or friends wanting a self-catering option and more space.
Budget: From $420 a night for a 1 Bedroom Apartment (minimum two nights stay).
We love: The contemporary and welcoming design of the apartments – and that there are additional televisions in each of the bedrooms.
Closest lookout: Imalung Lookout, at the centre of the resort, or Uluru Lookout, positioned to the south of the resort complex, just outside the ring road.
These newly furnished one-bedroom and split-level two-bedroom apartments are well-sized and sleep between four and six people in a combination of queen- and king-size beds as well as sofa beds and Murphy beds (kids 15 years or under get to stay for free).
Each air-conditioned room has a balcony or verandah, is decorated with eye-catching Indigenous artworks and is kitted out with a full kitchen, separate dining/living areas, and laundry facilities. Stays include servicing once every five days.
Positioned to the west of the resort, the apartments are within walking distance to the three casual eateries in the Town Square as well as Arnguli Grill and the Mangata Bistro & Bar; two restaurants with menus inspired by Indigenous ingredients that are part of the Desert Gardens Hotel.
Desert Gardens Hotel
Best for: Couples or young families who are after comfortable, quiet and easily accessible accommodations.
Budget: From $400 a night for a Garden View Room (minimum two nights stay)
We love: The magical outlook of the Deluxe Rock View Rooms, which are the only rooms in the Resort with views of Uluru, and let you see it in different light throughout the day.
Closest lookout: Uluru Lookout lies on the other side of the main ring road. It’s a slightly longer walk to get to a lookout than from other accommodation, but the path is scenic and the lookout is one of the most open with sweeping panoramas.
All of the three modern, air-conditioned room types at the Desert Gardens Hotel have patios or balconies with views of either the hotel’s native garden or surrounding landscape. There are a few extra mod-cons here compared to The Lost Camel Hotel, namely bathrobes and an iron and ironing board. Rooms sleep up to four if you choose the twin double bed set-up or couples can book a room with a Queen- or King-size bed. Young children can also be accommodated in cots or cribs and interconnecting rooms can also be booked.
If you’re lucky enough to secure a Deluxe Rock View Room, wake up early to take in a peaceful and private Uluru sunrise from your own balcony.
There are two adjacent restaurants by the hotel’s outdoor pool, close to the hotel lobby. Recently refurbished, Arnguli Grill is only open for dinner and has an intimate and romantic atmosphere and a menu that highlights native flavours and dishes from the signature grill. Mangata Bistro & Bar is a slightly more relaxed affair, where guests can indulge in a full buffet breakfast or a-la-carte options from a bush-tucker inspired menu in the restaurant’s smart interiors or outdoor terrace. There’s also a bar and lounge area that’s open for coffee and cocktails. Both venues cater for children with a separate menu.
Sails in the Desert
Best for: Couples and families after a five-star hotel experience.
Budget: $475 per night for a Superior Room (minimum two night stay)
We love: The central poolside bar surrounded by ghost gums and the 24-hour room service.
Closest lookout: Imalung Lookout, situated less than five minutes’ walk at the centre of the resort, right in front of the hotel.
At the top end of the accommodation options at Ayers Rock Resort, Sails in the Desert has a range of stylishly furnished rooms and suites available with access to a patio or balcony and all of the expected amenities from a five-star property including plush robes and hairdryers. Terrace Rooms have spacious, furnished balconies and can sleep up to four in rooms with two Queen beds, while Deluxe Suites feature spa baths, a separate living and dining area and balconies with lounging and alfresco dining zones. Rates for Terrace Rooms and Suites also include an indulgent international buffet breakfast including eggs cooked to order and a pancake station onsite at Ilkari Restaurant. Suites receive an exclusive turndown service. Ilkaṛi Restaurant, the resort’s most exclusive dining venue, also serves a full buffet dinner (bookings are essential) featuring everything from seafood to roasts and a chocolate fountain as part of the dessert offerings.
Walpa Lobby Bar and Pira Pool Bar round out the food and drink options; both serve light, casual meals, cakes and cocktails throughout the day and kid-friendly meals. The lobby bar is open until late, serving an inspired tapas menu, while the pool bar is perfect for sunny days and relaxing evenings and closes at 8:30pm.
This Baillie’s Lodges property is separate to Ayers Rock Resort, though positioned less than 10 minutes’ drive away, and consists of 16 opulent glamping tents complete with ensuites and views of either Uluru or Kata Tjuta and expansive outback scenery (the single two-bedroom suite looks out to both).
Onsite, guests can escape the heat in the outdoor pool, enjoy the communal lounge or watch the sunset from the height of the Dune Top platform.