Every Australian needs to see Uluru at least once in their lifetime. It’s impossible not to be moved by the beauty of this natural wonder, which rises spectacularly from the desert’s red earth and appears to change colour with the sunlight.
Uluru is a sacred site for the Anangu people, the traditional owners of the land, and as such climbing the monolith will no longer be permitted from late 2019. But there’s so much to see and do at Uluru that doesn’t involve setting foot on the rock. Here’s six unbeatable ways to get up close with Australia’s favourite icon.
Hit the skies
At a staggering 3.6 kilometres long and 348 metres high, Uluru’s sheer enormity means that the best way to appreciate the size of the landmark is from above. Luckily, then, helicopter tours of the natural wonder are plentiful and offer the perfect bird’s-eye look at the beauty below. Your options range from a 15-minute loop of Uluru through to a full day tour of the surrounding areas like Kata Tjuta and Lake Amadeus. Time your flight to catch the sunrise for the most memorable views.
See it on two wheels
For an intimate look at Uluru, consider a self-guided bike tour around the base of the monolith, a roughly three-hour journey during which you can stop to observe the area’s historic rock art and beautiful waterholes. Cycling is an environmentally friendly way to see the site so you can feel good about your ride.
Experience the Field of Light in style
How do you make Uluru even more breathtaking? Spread 50,000 stems of light across an area equivalent to seven football fields in front of the rock. That’s what artist Bruce Munro did with his world-renowned installation Field of Light, a vision best enjoyed after dark on the daily ‘A Night at Field of Light’ three-course dinner and drinks experience. Arrive at the artwork in time for sunset – by camel, for an additional charge – and as darkness falls you can watch the bulbs glow in spectacular reds, pinks and purples from a raised viewing platform, all while sipping champagne and nibbling on canapés.
Enjoy a Tali Wiru dinner
Few restaurants boast views as impressive as Tali Wiru’s. The fine-dining experience is set under the stars on a remote sand dune looking out onto Uluru and the domes of Kata Tjuta. The menu is as impressive as the location, with native ingredients such as kangaroo, lemon myrtle, emu, quandong and wattleseed worked into the four-course meal, topped off with premium Australian wines. Each sitting is limited to 10 couples so there are no crowds spoiling the serenity.
Explore Kata Tjuta
Uluru isn’t the only rock in the Red Centre worth seeking out – in fact, it’s not even the tallest. Just 35 kilometres away is Kata Tjuta, a group of 36 towering boulders that includes one peak that’s almost 200 metres higher than Uluru. The incredible formations huddle close together, forming deep valleys that can be explored on the popular Valley of the Winds bushwalk. Or for a birds’ eye view, set off on a helicopter ride above it; you can even combine the flight to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta in one go.