The Magic Rocks: Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon
Yup! Not going to lie to you. Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon are all big ROCKS. However there is definitely something magical about all of these rocks. Whether it is derived from the aboriginal Dreamline story or the fact that this is the biggest rock in the world they each have something that’s just a little bit special about them. I found these days to be some of my favourite whilst in the red centre
If you are strapped for time, liked we were, I highly recommend having a jam packed 3 days in order to see such beautiful formations. The itinerary we did is below:
Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon 3 Day Overview + Itinerary
In order to get to Uluru and Kata Tjuta you will need to gain access to the Ulurur-Kata Tjuta National Park (original name hey?!) which will cost $25 AUD for 3 days and allows you to explore every corner of it. If you travel by 4×4 then you are going to be able to get to see some pretty spectacular sites.
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is located approximately 450km away from Alice Springs and will take you approximately 6 hours to drive too depending on how many pit stops you make along the way.
We had a very full on 3 day tour which started earlier and earlier every morning. Despite these early mornings the sunrises that we saw were some of the best ever!
Uluru: Sandstone Formation | 9.6km Circumference | 348m Tall |
Kata Tjuta: also called Mount Olga or The Olgas | Formation of 36 Rocks | Mount Olga (tallest dome) 1,066m | in 1995 the site has been used again for Religious Ceremonies
Kings Canyon: 3 Walking Tracks | Be careful of Heart Attack Hill | 600 Species of Plants and Animals
NOTE: It is a legal requirement by the National Park that each individual has at least 3L of water on them at all times. It is easier to carry around 2 x 1.5L bottles in your backpack with the ability to refill along the way.
Depart Alice Springs at 5.30am and drive to Uluru to see the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, walk one of the walks along side of Uluru and learn about its history whilst seeing some of the traditional cave paintings. Unfortunately there was no climbing of the mountain. We then got to enjoy our dinner whilst watching the sun set behind this beauty of a rock. Probably in the top 3 places I’ve ever had dinner.
Kicks off nice and early so we can enjoy a nice cup of coffee while watching the sunrise at Uluru. Once we had our caffeine fix for the morning it was time to head over to Kata Tjuta and enjoy a morning hike (approx. 7km). After that it’s time to drive to a camp out about 20km away from Kings Canyon and enjoy a good nights sleep.
Kicks off even earlier than the previous day in order to get too Kings Canyon before anyone else in order to be the first to start trekking it as well as being able to see the sun rise from over the hills. The trek is about 3 hours long and you are able too visit many Amphitheatres, North & South Walls as well as the spectacular Garden of Eden. Once that’s done its time to head back to Alice Springs.
What to pack:
As mentioned above it is a legal requirement of the park to carry at least 3L of water on your persons at all time. It gets very hot, very quickly here in the middle of desert and dehydration is a real danger. It also won’t hurt to have an electrolyte drink with you as well.
Oh good god! This is probably almost as important as the water! There are a lot of flies and they get annoying really quickly. For $5-7 AUD you can easily pick one of these up at one of the pit stops along the way or in Alice Springs. I almost didn’t bother getting them……you’ll thank me later!
A Hat + Sunnies
Your brain will boil without it and you’ll look pretty stylish with a pair of Ray Bans on.
You’re going on an adventure. You’ll need snacks!
Things to do: Best Bits
Uluru Sunset & Sunrise
There are a number of different sunset spots that are located both in and out of the park. The most popular of them being SUluru sunset lookout. We dined here and what shocked me was the rows upon rows of linen laid tables with champagne and caviar being handed to guests on silver trays! I was as surprises as I was envious!
This lookout spot will let you see Uluru in all its finest. As the sun sets make sure to watch how the rock changes colour. It is quite spectacular! Make sure you get back to a location in order to experience sunrise with a coffee.
There are a number of different walks that you can do that all vary in length. One of the most popular ones is the base walk. It is a 10.6km walk and will take around 3.5hours to complete or longer depending on how long you take to grab a quick selfie.
Other walks are:
Mala walk to Kantju Gorge – 2km return | 1 hour
Lungkata walk – 4km return | 2 hours
Kuniya walk to Mutitjulu Waterhole – 1km return | 30-45 minutes
Liru walk – 4km return | 2 hours
If you have more than one day here I suggest completing as many as possible in order to see some of the little nooks and crannies that surround Uluru
The Aboriginal Culture Centre at Uluru
I found this place fascinating. By visiting the centre you get to learn about the history and culture of the Anangu people who are the traditional owners of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. You can learn about the Dreamtime story by film or by reading the boards along the way as you tour your way around the centre. You cannot take pictures inside but if you spend the time to read the walks and watch the video that they have you will learn a heck of a lot! I am glad I spent the time reading.
Kata Tjuta Look Out
This was one of the most surreal sights I had ever seen. It did not look real. It seemed as if someone had just casually paint this rock formation in the distance. I thought Uluru was big (which it is as a standalone rock) but Kata Tjuta is just on a complete and utter other level. I even had a chance to pose for a bit of GoPro golf!
Kata Tjuta Valley of the Winds Walk
This is the longest trail you can do and is around 7kms. It does get a little steep in places but it isn’t anything that most people couldn’t quite easily accomplish. You will walk through the domes and creeks to finally arrive at the Karu and Karingana lookouts. Sometimes I find views hard to explain so with this one I will just let the pictures to the talking.
Walk early because this walk get closed when the temperature reaches 36C as the domes will quite literally cook you as they are very good at insulating heat.
With it being 5am, I was not prepare for what we were about to experience. Heart Attack Hill. It is a near vertical staircase that at 5am in the morning when you are sleep walking could quite literally kill you. Do not fear though. There is a defibrillator at the top…..just case….you know. Heart Attack hill will lead you to the rim of the canyon from which you can begin your walk. The Rim Walk is approximately 6kms in distance and will take a good 3-4 hours and you will be welcomed to magnificent 360 views of the surrounding area.
Along your route you will come across the Garden of Eden which is a waterhole surrounded by blossoming plant life. From there you will explore some very strange weathered rocks known as the Lost City. If you do not want a long walk but still want to experience the canyon then there is a 45 minute walk called the Kings Creek Walk. You will still get some spectacular views of the canyon as well as some lush vegetation. If you are a little more adventurous then there is the 22km Giles Track that runs from Kings Canyon to Kathleen Springs.
And there we have it explorers! 3 solid action packed days at with some of the most beautiful rocks in the world!
Have you visited? What were you experiences with them?