Hike the Uluru Base Trail (Ayers Rock)
Australia › Uluru Summit Walk
Added by Michael Gabbert
Experience a hike around an iconic site of Australia. A sacred, spiritual place combined with the vastness of the space around you and the grandness of the rock next to you creates a unique, surreal hiking adventure.
In the middle of nowhere within the Northern Territory Red Centre desert sits an amazing and iconic site of Australia - Uluru. Also known as Ayers Rock, this sandstone rock is said to be the largest monolith in the world standing at 1142 ft high.
To get to here you’ll fly directly into Uluru airport (AYQ). The hotels and all other structures here were built strictly for the tourism around Ayers Rock. Despite everything that’s been built there remains an emptiness of the area which adds to its intrigue. There are two main ways you can get to the base of Uluru. The first is to take a shuttle service (Uluru Express) from your lodging to the rock. This round trip ticket can cost $60 USD per adult. The second option is to drive there. This involves renting a car when you arrive at the airport. There is ample parking no matter where you stay. Renting your own car gives you the benefit and option of timing and length of stay (both at Uluru and any other excursion you plan to take). While I ended up doing the shuttle service when I was there, I would strongly recommend renting a car - both for the flexibility and cost.
Once at the rock, there’s a Cultural Centre (open from 7am - 6pm) which has some fascinating information regarding Uluru’s history and cultural significance.. Beyond that, you can head directly to the trailhead. There is an option at certain times of the year to climb onto Uluru and hike to the top. There’s a number of reasons not to do this - most notably the sacred significance of the rock to the local Anangu people - but unfortunately there’s nothing physically stopping people from doing it. Choose wisely.
The total hike around Uluru is 5.8 miles. It’s a completely flat trail, but due to the scorching temperatures it can still be rather exhausting. A majority of the hike twists and turns next to the rock itself with a small stretch a ¼ of the way steering a bit further away due to a restricted sacred area. Bring at least two liters of water per person and possibly more if you have space to handle it. There is a water fountain ½ way around Uluru but the water you’ll get here is hot and far from refreshing. The vastness of the space around you and the grandness of the rock next to you creates a mystique and almost spiritual feeling as you hike. It’s an area and hike unlike any other. To get avoid the crowds, the heat, and to witness the rock in its array of colors, hiking at dawn or sunset are your best bets.
- WATER (2 liters per person at the very least)
- Quick Dry Towel
- Hiking Shoes
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I'm so glad you emphasize the sacredness of this rock to the aboriginal people there. I completely agree, there is something so surreal and moving about being here and hiking the base. Thank you for highlighting the importance of maintaining cultural sensitivity toward the Anangu, and being conservation-minded for those choosing to visit and explore here.
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