Uluru is one of Australia’s most iconic destinations and a must see on any traveller’s bucket list. The enormity of this giant rock really has to be seen to be believed and the pilgrimage to visit in Central Australia is well worth the effort.
Thousands of kilometres from anywhere however, seeing Uluru isn’t necessarily a budget-friendly affair. Not, that is, unless you’ve got some handy money-saving advice to help you out! Here are 10 top tips to help you see Uluru on the cheap.
10. Fly Straight to Yulara
First up is how to get to Uluru. If you’re looking at flying in Central Australia to see this monolith, then take my advice and forget Alice Springs. From there you’ll only have to pay more to get to Uluru itself, some 450km away. Instead, I suggest flying straight to Yulara – only 8km from Uluru and right at the heart of the action.
9. Fly the Right Route
Flights to Yulara only go from Melbourne and Sydney, so get yourself to one of these cites via other means to bag the cheapest prices. It also helps if you’re flexible with dates and only have carry-on luggage – this way you could be getting the one-way 3 hour flight for as little as $100.
8. Road Trip with Others
Even cheaper than flying to Yulara is driving there – especially if you round up a few mates to share the fuel. Driving through the Outback is a wonderful experience and one you’re unlikely to forget. Teaming up with others you’ve met on the road or through ridesharing websites like coseats or gumtee is a great way to keep vehicle hire costs down.
7. Take Fuel With You
Talking of costs, fuel prices around Uluru can sky rocket, so try to limit filling up near there as much as possible. Do this by making sure you have a full tank whenever you leave more populated areas and by carrying jerry cans loaded with cheaper fuel that you can use to top up the tank instead.
6. Get Free Maps
If you are road tripping or exploring Australia’s Red Centre around Uluru, then you’re certainly going to need some form of navigation to help you find your way. Forget paying to hire a GPS system or even buying a paper map however – just simply pick up a ton of free ones from a Tourism Office instead. The Northern Territory and South Australian tourism offices in particular have a ton of free map resources, which are perfect for helping to drive your way to Uluru and naviagte once you get there.
5. Check out Free Camps
It’s also a good idea to stay at one of the many free camps if you’re looking to drive to Uluru on a budget. There tons of great free camps that dot the Stuart highway and most have excellent facilities. The nearest to Uluru is Curtin Springs, which even offers hot showers for $2. It’s a 100km away from the rock, but makes a great place to stay the night before you get there.
4. Stay at Ayres Rock Campground
Once you do get to Yulara – the tourist settlement only 8km from the entrance of Uluru National Park – then the cheapest accommodation on offer is at the Ayres Rock Campground. There isn’t any free accommodation available, but if you take a tent and buddy up with someone it’s by far the cheapest option. There’s also a great camp kitchen here, laundry facilities and wifi.
3. Enjoy out Free Activities
When it comes to exploring Uluru itself cheaply, there’s a ton of stuff you can there for free. From the excellent cultural centre, to free talks, free walks and sunrise watching – there’s more than enough to do here for those on a budget. The Base Walk around Uluru comes highly recommended, as does seeing the colours of the day light up the giant rock from one of the many viewing platforms.
2. Get Best Value from your Park Pass
A pass into the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park will cost anyone over the age of 16 $25. It lasts 3 days. However you can definitely get your money’s worth by basing yourself at Yulara and spending 3 days and 2 nights exploring this wonderful reserve of Uluru. There’s more than enough to do here and the included site of the Kata Tjuta rocks (formerly known as the Olgas) adds another level of activity and delight.
1. Visit During Shoulder Season
My final tip about seeing Uluru on the cheap is about when to visit this famous attraction. High season generally runs from May – September, but during this time prices can sky-rocket. On the other hand temperatures during the opposing months of November to March can be scarily high, making the whole experience a sweaty nightmare. As such, visiting Uluru during the shoulder months of April and October can give you the best of both worlds – lower prices and cooler temperatures.
So there you have it – 10 top tips for visiting Uluru on the cheap. Have you been to this amazing rock? What did you think?