Uluru, the magnificent and majestic monolith, draws many people to the top end of Australia every year. More often than not, visitors to Australia will ensure that a trip to Uluru is included on their itinerary, along with other activities such as a Great Ocean Road tour, time in at least one of Australia’s cities and opportunities to relax on Australia’s spectacular beaches.
Here we take a look at 10 places located close to Uluru that should not be missed:
1: Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
Kata Tjuta is the indigenous name for The Olgas and means ‘many heads’. This is a fitting name, as The Olgas is a stunning group of 36 enormous red rock outcrops that are divided by narrow valleys. They cover some 35 square kilometres and are located approximately 50 kilometres from Uluru. For many people, The Olgas are just as spectacular as Uluru.
Mount Olga is the highest of the rock outcrops, rising 546 metres above the floor of the desert. When visiting this location, undertake a walk (varying in duration from one hour to five hours) that takes you through gorges and around the outcrops. Many of these walks enable you to learn about the significance of The Olgas for Aboriginal people.
2: Kings Canyon
One of the most beautiful locations of the Northern Territory, Kings Canyon is approximately 230 kilometres southwest of Alice Springs. Kings Canyon is located in Watarrka National Park and is an amazing chasm with sandstone walls that plunge more than 300 feet into the ground.
Kings Canyon is spectacular in its own right and is particularly enjoyed by people who take their walking and fitness seriously. Many fit people negotiate the steep rise up the canyon to the domes of rock at its top, which provide awe-inspiring views.
3: Alice Springs
Alice Springs, the bush town located in the centre of Australia, is well worth a visit. With the beautiful MacDonnell Ranges behind it, Alice Springs has a rich history and is considered a ‘melting pot’ of traditions and cultures.
Today, ‘The Alice’, as it is affectionately known, has become a modern town that is the proud home of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air. Alice Springs has a unique character and atmosphere.
4: Tennant Creek
Originally a temporary telegraph repeater station in 1872, Tennant Creek is located 1000 kilometres south of Darwin and 500 kilometres north of Alice Springs. In the 1930s, the exciting discovery of gold was made in Tennant Creek, which gave rise to the final great Gold Rush in Australia.
Tennant Creek features many interesting attractions that are relevant to its rich gold mining and broader history.
5: West MacDonell Ranges
The West MacDonnell Ranges provide amazing, immense panoramic landscapes that feature rich colours, including oranges, maroons and purples. The West MacDonnells’ greatest drawcards are its rugged gorges, gaps and chasms — there are few other places in the world that offer such unspoiled serenity.
6: East MacDonnell Ranges
The East MacDonnell Ranges are deserving of the title of one of Central Australia’s unrealised treasures. The local indigenous people, the Arrernte people, believe this area is the Dreamtime birthplace of the East MacDonnell mountain range.
7: Simpson Desert
Four-wheel drive enthusiasts absolutely love the Simpson Desert, with its incredible horizons, sand dunes and challenging tracks.
Most attractions of the Simpson Desert can be reached within a day’s travel of Alice Springs and the unique and spectacular beauty of the area captivates visitors to the area.
8: Mala Walk
In order to acquire a greater understanding of the significance of Uluru to its traditional owners, a ranger-led Mala Walk is highly recommended. On this walk, visitors see Aboriginal tools demonstrated, together with interesting explanations and information about the area.
9: Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre
This cultural centre has been created to assist visitors in learning more about the history and legend of the national park through the exploration of Aboriginal culture.
10: Cave Hill Safari
Although it takes you some distance from Uluru, the Cave Hill Safari day tour offers the opportunity to truly experience the harshness and remoteness of the landscape and marvel at its flora and fauna.
There is much to see near Uluru. Just as booking a Melbourne tour provides a great way to see Melbourne’s highlights, many wonderful tours showcase the highlights of Australia’s top end.