Car Rental Ayers Rock Airport
As the morning sun strains to raise its rays above the impressive stature of an ancient colossus, vibrant hues of orange and red adorn the face of the world’s largest monolith. This phenomenon is widely considered to be one of the fundamental experiences on offer when visiting what is arguably Australia’s most sacred site - Uluru.
Not too late to isolate
Situated 335 kilometres south-west of its nearest sizeable town, Alice Springs, Uluru (or Ayers Rock as it was previously titled by European explorers) is an iconic sandstone formation located in the southern portion of Australia’s Northern Territory. The vast desert stretches for hundreds of kilometres in every direction, so a hire car would be a wise choice for uninterrupted exploration.
One of Australia’s most recognisable tourist destinations, Uluru is frequently on the bucket list of the more daring overseas tourist and Aussie alike. Given its incredibly remote locale, it may surprise some to learn that the site has been welcoming visitors since as far back as the 1930s, and continues to see up to 400,000 visitors per year.
If you’re flying in, a hire car allows you to traverse this wilderness at your own pace and in your own time - a must to truly appreciate the untapped beauty of the terrain.
Immerse yourself in the rich history of the region, including Uluru’s place in Aboriginal rites of passage, the scarcity of food and water and the challenges faced by the traditional custodians in retrieving autonomy over their native lands.
Home to only a thousand or more residents year-round, the population of both Uluru and its adjoining town Yulara are known to fluctuate with the seasons, meaning you’re not likely to hit any traffic in your rental car.
The best time to visit the red centre in terms of weather is between May to September, as the temperatures are generally cooler and more bearable for those not acclimated to desert conditions.
Visiting between October to March will land you in the hot period, with temperatures regularly exceeding 35°c, making the climate less than ideal for walking and sightseeing tours. The hot weather does provide some respite, however, as storms brew in the clashing pockets of warm and cool air which causes rain to pool on Uluru.
This rain eventually fills up many of the water holes atop Uluru’s surface, leading to cascading waterfalls that meander their way down the ancient sun-scorched face of the iconic rock. A spectacle that if you’re lucky enough to observe, can be seen from the comfort of your dry hire car. Events like this are considered by the few lucky spectators to be the holy grail of experiences, as rain here is such a rarity.
Another coveted experience to be had at the park doesn’t present itself until after sunset, when the ever-changing colours of Uluru’s surface have receded into the night. It is only when darkness has cast itself across the desert that some of the treasures of being remote are revealed. Hundreds of kilometres from the bustle of the nearest town, light pollution at Uluru Kata-Tjuta is non-existent.
Stargazing here will leave you speechless, as the moon rises above the sandy plains and the Milky Way is revealed in its unobstructed glory.
Take your hire car to participate in the Astro Tour and observe some of these sights in person. The resident astronomer will guide you through the many visible constellations, drawing attention to planets within our solar system and some stars that can only be seen from the southern hemisphere, most notably the famous Crux Constellation (Southern Cross). You’ll have even greater visibility thanks to the range of binoculars and telescopes provided by the tour. This really is one not to be missed and is known to be positively poignant to many, many people.
For a small town with few people, there really is an abundance of activities to take advantage of at Uluru. Perhaps nowhere else on the continent is there a more culturally significant place to gaze up at the stars, or feel connected to the past rich in colourful indigenous history.
Uluru’s significant charm seems to peel back the stress of urban life and promotes ideation of authentic connection to body, land and fellow man.