Ayers Rock Campground – Why Trip Advisor is WRONG!

Uluru-sunset

Trip Advisor says it sucks…We disagree. Here’s Why.

Sure. You’ve read the reviews: “…Ayers Rock campground is filthy, crowded, a rip off, the showers are awful… blah blah blah.”

So we went and stayed there to find out if it was REALLY as bad as people said it was.

We were not only pleasantly surprised – we were actually impressed.

Here’s what we learned when we stayed.

What You Need to Know:

The bad news is that there is really only one campground near Uluru is at the Ayers Rock campground in Yulara, approximately 18 km (11mi) from the the Rock.

The next closest place is Dune camping area (about 40km east on the Lasseter Hwy) which you can read more about in this post or Curtin Springs Roadhouse 70 km back out on the Lasseter Highway.

Having stayed there last in April of 2014 with some friends, I found it really well set up and within walking distance of all other facilities in Yulara.

To help you decide whether camping here is for you, Gary has written a complete review of the campground with information about camping fees, campsites, facilities and nearby places to eat if you don’t feel like cooking.

Camping Fees and Campsites

Camping at the Uluru campground isn’t cheap compared with other campgrounds in outback Australia.

However, if you compare camping at Ayers Rock with other accommodation at Ayers Rock, then it’s a bargain.

Having said that, the campground is very, very nice.

It’s set in a bushland setting among the sand dunes, has lots of shade and lots of grassed sites.

There’s basically a choice of 198 powered or 220 non-powered sites. Camping fees are as follows.

Powered Sites

  • 1 or 2 people $41
  • Additional Person $17
  • Child (6 – 15 years inclusive) $9.50
  • Child (0 – 5 years inclusive) Free of charge
  • Family Rate (2 adults and 2 or more children) $50

Non-Powered Sites

  • 1 or 2 people $36
  • Additional Person $15.50
  • Family Rate (2 adults and 2 or more children) $45

We stayed at the unpowered sites and were able to camp adjacent to one of the self catering shelters provided at the campground.

My mates stayed in tents whilst I did the Territory thing and slept in my swag under a mozzie dome.

I reckon it probably gets quite busy around the peak times between June to July. Amanda would not like this at all. I’d also be worried about the noise from people partying if it’s very busy. I’ve heard this can be a BIG problem.

So this campground, wouldn’t be my cup of tea when it’s  busy, but for some it offers security and I guess your visit will probably only last a few days anyway, so you might be able to put up with noise better than we spoiled Territorians can!

Facilities at Ayers Rock Campground

One thing I will say about the Ayers Rock campground: I was really surprised at how good the facilities were.

There’s a few self-catering shelters scattered throughout the campground.

This shelter had BBQS, a microwave, toaster and some hotplates to boil the kettle on.

It also has a share fridge which we found handy to store items needing refrigeration and for all those that just can’t go without it, a TV.

I thought this shelter was fantastic as it meant we didn’t need chairs or most of the other appliances you carry around with you when you camp.

…Well some of them anyway, as this was real luxury compared to some of the places we go camping!

The shelter also enabled us to interact with other visitors which I always reckon is one of the positives of staying in campgrounds.

If you’re worried about hot showers when camping at Ayers Rock, then I can tell you that showers were great.

The toilet/shower blocks were cleaned regularly and really we didn’t have anything to complain about.

There is also a small shop for anything you have forgotten or run out of which is great when it happens.

 

What About Campers and Caravans (RVs)?

If camping at in a tent or swag isn’t your thing, then you can bring your campervan or caravan here, too.

There is plenty of space for camping and caravans alike and to one end of the campground is a tour operator section solely for their use.

Caravan powered and unpowered sites cost the same as camping in a tent, but for my money I prefer camping!

If you don’t feel like cooking for yourself you can walk to the Outback Pioneer bar and grill where you can get a good feed at the open air bar.

This is probably the best value meal at Ayers Rock Resort, as you can choose your own meat and there is a self-serve salad bar with lots to choose from.

Alternatively, you can talk a 10 min walk into the shopping precinct ,where you can find eating houses of various style and cost.

These are all the pros about camping at Uluru, but now for some of the cons.

Really, I found there was only one bad thing about camping at Ayers Rock.

The campground doesn’t allow open fires.

To me, having a fire when camping is part of the quintessential camping experience.

Another negative is that the campground is a long way (18 km) from Uluru itself.

In the end when you haven’t got much of a choice. There is nowhere else to camp at Ayers Rock unless you camp illegally.

Overall, I found the camping ground to be quite good.

Let’s face it when you have one of the world’s greatest natural wonders just over the dunes and within viewing distance, you can’t really complain too much.

Have you camped at Ayers Rock Campground? If so, let everyone know what your experience was like.

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

8 Comments

  • Tony says:

    Despite the terrible reviews on Trip Advisor, the Ayers Rock Camping Ground is not that bad. I expected an absolute brothel but it was clean (ie: showers, toilets etc) and the camp kitchen/BBQ facilities were good.

    There is oddles of room, it was a lot bigger than I expected. My only gripe is the high cost to stay there, it is pretty steep. We stayed at Curtin Springs (Free camping there) overnight and then made our way to the Ayers Rock area at the crack of dawn to begin our visit. We only spent one night at the Ayers Rock Camp Ground: Their exorbitant prices determined that, if it had been a realistic price we probably would have considered staying an extra night.

    If you are on a budget, by using the following formula you can easily get to see and do everything within the national park in two days and make it back to Curtin Springs:

    *Curtin Springs overnight.
    *An early start to do things at Ayers Rock NP.
    *Overnight at the Ulara camp ground
    *An early start the following day for the sunrise and spent doing things in the area.

    We managed to see the early sunrise, do the Mala walk, complete the 7 km hike around The Olga’s, stop at the Olga’s viewing area, visit the cultural centre (twice), climb the rock itself, view the sunset, see another sunrise the following day, do the base walk and still got back to Curtin Springs in the afternoon. Good planning will save you a lot in camping fees.

  • Lisa Cook says:

    Hello. I was just wondering what are the childrens ages. I have 16 and 17 year old boys. Also 1 is disabled. Can I use his carers card. Thankyou

  • Tao Wei says:

    Hi, I wangt to know whether we have to bring camping appliances there like tent, or will the campground provide some.

  • Jesse says:

    Are dogs allowed at the camp grounds ?

  • Lee says:

    Thanks for the great info. I’ve read in various places online about so called “Village Tents” or permanent tents, meaning we wouldn’t have to bring our own kit. I couldn’t see any mention of these of the resort website however. Do you know if these permanent tents are still an option?

  • Mel says:

    I would have liked to show you a picture of how they set us caravaners up…
    Obviously this is the only place out here, so there’s not much choice. Felt like a sardine having not even enough space to pull the awning out a bit while it was raining heavily. Just red dirt which turned into terrible mud. There was about 0.5m between the caravan next to us on each side. Behind us the lovely sound of the generator going all night. The amenities aren’t big enough for the amount of people, hence they were dirty all the time and never had any hot water. Staff is far too busy to care. Not coming back!

    • Amanda says:

      Oh, Mel! I SOOOOO agree with you. Last time I camped at Uluru Campground (September 2015) it was APPALLINGLY crowded, noisy, too bright and yes, people were packed in like sardines. I will NEVER EVER camp there again. Gary doesn’t mind it, but camping with other people -noisy, inconsiderate party animals- but no more for me!

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