A Complete Guide to Ayers Rock/Uluru Tours
WHO THIS PAGE IS FOR:
- People who only have 2 or 3 weeks (or even less) in Australia
- Aussies who don’t want to self-drive to the Rock
- Anyone who is flying in to Ayers Rock or Alice Springs and doesn’t want to hire a car
- People who’d like to see a little more than the average tourist and have a ‘real’ outback experience
- Anyone looking for a quick and easy way to see Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
If you fit into any of those categories, then you’ll find the information on this page helpful.
|One Day Tours||Two Day Tours||3 Day Camping Tours||3 Day Tours (non-camping)|
|5 Days and More||Tours starting at Uluru||Activities at Uluru||Uluru Accommodation|
You can book Uluru tours DIRECTLY from this page, using our local tips and tricks so you’ll see the best of the Northern Territory, whilst saving your time and money
One Day Tours
If you want a tour that’s really quick, you don’t have a lot of time, or you simply refuse to pay the high rates that some of the hotels at Ayers Rock charge, then these options are for you.
Note: these are NOT package tours from Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns or anywhere else to Uluru. These are ways to see Ayers Rock quickly from various Australian destinations.
Option 1: (if you’re REALLY in a hurry)
This is the absolute, quickest and dirtiest way to do a tour of Uluru that we know:
- Fly in and fly out of Ayers Rock from Alice Springs, Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns or Perth on the same day.
If seeing Ayers Rock and taking a few photographs is all that matters to you, then this option might suit you best.
Yes, it’s going to be rushed, and you won’t really get to look around, but you will see the Rock.
If you’re convinced that you want to take this option, here’s a link to find the best flight deals for Ayers Rock on the web.
Option 2: Start and Finish in Alice Springs
Emu Run Tours (tel: (08) 8953 7057) has one day tours ex-Alice Springs for around $200.
This tour lasts for 18 hours, and will pick you up from your accommodation in Alice Springs at 6am, and will drop you back there at around midnight!
All meals and entry fees are included in the price, and as a bonus, it includes a sunset BBQ with champagne at Ayers Rock.
Family members did this tour in 2007 and told us: it was fantastic, but exhausting. It was a great choice because you see everything and you don’t have to hire a car or spend money on hotels at Ayers Rock.
What’s more, Emu Run is Alice Springs-owned and operated.
If you support them, then you’re really supporting the local economy.
Option 3: Tours and Activities at Ayers Rock/Uluru
Ok. This isn’t really a ‘tour to Uluru’ – it’s about tours AT Ayers Rock/Uluru.
We get asked a lot about tours and activities that you can actually take when you’re at Uluru, and why we don’t have them on this page.
The answer to that is simple: there are so many things to see and do at Uluru, Ayers Rock Resort and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), we’ve had to create a whole page about them.
Click here to visit our Ayers Rock tours and attractions page.
Two Day Tours
What about tours that take in the outback’s biggest attractions in only 2 days?
Yes, the good news is that you can take a 2 day trip. There are several companies who do two day tours that leave Alice Springs at 6am (you get picked up by the tour guide from your hotel) and head off to the Rock.
You need to be warned here: the days are packed full of sightseeing and driving. You will be tired! Also note that you are returned to your hotel at around midnight on the second day.
Depending on which tour you take, you can stay at budget motel accommodation at either Ayers Rock Resort or at Erldunda (280km away from Uluru) on the corner of the Lasseter and Stuart Highways.
The price of these tours is around $350-$400 AUD, and includes all meals, accommodation, and entry fees.
If you’re interested in the tour that stays overnight at Ayers Rock Resort:
For the tour which stays at Erldunda overnight:
Emu Run Tours(tel: (08) 8953 7057) also has two day tours ex-Alice Springs that travel to Ayers Rock via Kings Canyon for around $490.
Three Day Camping Safari Tours
A 3 day Ayers Rock tour is great for people who would like to see all the main tourist attractions such as Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon, but still only have limited time to do so.
IMPORTANT: you will need 4 days for any of these tours.
You need to be in Alice Springs the day before because you are picked up by you tour company around 6 am the following morning.
(Ayers Rock is 470 km from Alice Springs – this takes about half a day to drive!)
On most three day Uluru tours, you spend one night at Ayers Rock Resort, see the Uluru sunset or sunrise, visit Kata Tjuta, and then spend your next night at Kings Canyon.
You have the option to hike the spectacular Kings Canyon Rim walk (many people say this is better than climbing Uluru!), before heading back to Alice Springs in the afternoon. Some of these tours are designed to link up with flights out of Alice Springs.
Check out this clip. It shows you what a typical 3 day Uluru camping safari tour is like:
There are lots of tour companies who operate 3 Day Red Centre Highlights tours from Alice Springs. So the choice really is up to you.
Emu Run Tours(tel: (08) 8953 7057) try a three day camping tour with hot showers and toilets. Tours run ex-Alice Springs that travel to Ayers Rock via Kings Canyon for around $350.
Mulga’s Tours (tel: (08) 8952 1545 or 1800 359 089), has recently changed ownership and has a few extra things to offer, particularly if you’re on a tight budget – you get to stay at exclusive bush camps, which now have showers and toilets.
This is a real, authentic outback camping tour. If you’d REALLY like to camp in the outback, exactly as we locals do, we say: give Mulga’s a go!
Kakadu ‘n’ Ayers Rock Tours (tel: (08) 8945 3338) is another local NT tour operator who we’d like to recommend.
They have a huge selection of camping tours from a number of companies to choose from and because they’re locals, they know their stuff! Prices start at $410.
Wayoutback (tel: (08) 8952 4324 or 1300 551 510) is the tour that seems to be the one we hear the best reports about. If you’re after a chance to visit an Aboriginal community, then Wayoutback is the company to choose.
Way Outback’s tours are more expensive, but the groups are smaller, you’re guaranteed to meet Aboriginal people. As well, you travel in 4WD vehicles which means you get to go on outback dirt roads in safety. Way Outback’s three-day tour costs $565 ($535 YHA/VIP/students).
The Rock Tour (tel: 1800 246 345) gets good reviews from backpackers and is also great value.
It visits Kings Canyon and has accommodation at campsites with showers, including Ayers Rock Resort. It costs $320 ($295 plus $25 park entry fee).
The Wildway (tel: 1300 720 777) tour promises you “highly trained Aussie hotties who live and breathe the desert.”
We have no idea whether you’ll actually meet an Aussie hottie, but the tour is great value for money. It costs $375 ($295, and $80 for food and plus the $25 park entry fee).
Wayward Bus: (tel (08) 8132 8230 or 1300 653 510). These guys have been around forever and employ lots of Alice Springs locals, so we’d recommend them.
The tours includes accommodation in permanent tents. It costs $410 ($375 plus $25 park entry fee and $10 fuel levy).
Our personal recommendation is to CAMP OUT especially if you are city slicker when visiting Uluru.
Camping in the outback allows you to sleep under the stars, sit around the campfire, and to hear and feel the bush as it really is.
However, not everyone likes to camp out, so the recommendations below are for those don’t want to camp, but still want an adventure in the Red Centre in a short amount of time.
Some of these package tours have 4 Wheel-drive buses and go off road, others are small coaster buses and stay on the sealed roads.
Like the camping-style tours above, you start and finish in Alice Springs, travelling to Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon.
The disadvantage is that you miss the ultimate outback exprience of sleeping under the stars and these tours are more expensive.
Kakadu n Ayers Rock Tours have 2 and 3 day accommodated Ayers Rock Tours. The three day tour not only includes Kings Canyon, but Palm Valley as well. Both tours are very economical and we highly recommend them.
Viator Tours offer a 3 day tour which allows you to choose the kind of accommodation you’d like to stay in.
5 Days and More
It’s hard to keep up with all of the ‘Ayers Rock mystical outback experience’ tours which we see advertised or hear about.
So what we thought we would do here is select the very BEST local run tours for you that offer you something very, very special.
We don’t pretend to know about every single 5 day outback highlights tour here – we just want to share with you the very best!
Wayoutback Tours have 5 day camping safari a tour called the ‘Red Centre Kangaroo Dreaming Tour‘.
However, this tour will introduce you to the Aboriginal people of Oak Valley (the Le Rossignol/Orr/Kenny families), who will share with you the culture of the Imartne Arrernte people.
You’ll see things that the general public just don’t get to see, like Aboriginal rock art and quarry sites, fossil deposits and visit a living, working and very successful Aboriginal-run community.
The tour also takes in one of the outback’s best kept secret national parks: the magnificent Owen Springs Reserve.
This tour ISN’T cheap, starting at $995 per person. However, we assure you that this is a tour you will never forget.
More information about this tour here.
TravelWild’s 5 Day Ayers Rock tour is essentially a carbon copy of the one Wayoutback does (see above).
I’m going to say that the main difference is that TravelWild seem to market the tour towards and international visitors and you miss out on Owen Springs.
However, you still visit Oak Valley and the Rainbow Valley art sites that ARE NOT open to the public.
Learn more about this tour here.
Tours Starting at Uluru
Another common question we are asked is this:
I’m flying to Ayers Rock and flying out of Alice Springs. What Uluru tours can I join that will allow me to start in Ayers Rock, but finish in Alice Springs?
The answer is this: many of the tours that we’ve described above have the option of starting or finishing at Uluru.
To help you out, here are the direct links to those tours which start at Ayers Rock and finish in Alice Springs.
Three Day Tours:
Save Time and Money
The best thing about these tours is you can see Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon with all meals and accommodation included. It’s much cheaper than hiring a car and paying to stay at Ayers Rock Resort.
You’ll see Alice Springs, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon and you’ll be able to say that you’ve been to Australia’s Northern Territory!
We’d love to know your thoughts on the Uluru tours we’ve written about on this page
Your experiences will help other people, so please leave an honest review in the comments section below. Whether it’s good or bad news, let us know.
- Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park – Opening times, entry fees, walks, cultural tours and more
- Aboriginal Culture – Information about Aboriginal culture at Ayers Rock
- Driving from Alice Springs to Uluru – A complete itinerary for driving from Alice Springs to Uluru
- Alice Springs – Everything you’ll need to know about Alice Springs
- Kings Canyon – If you’re visiting Ayers Rock, you must visit Kings Canyon