48 Hours at Ayers Rock
Last year Conor’s family came to visit and we all headed to Ayers Rock, as well as a few other places. We decided to stay for two nights, which was the perfect amount of time in my opinion. Our main priorities were the two sunrises and two sunsets, which you definitely don’t want to miss. Here is our itinerary, with some extra suggestions to customise it to your preferences.
Day 1 – Afternoon
We arrived in Uluru in the early afternoon, and were met with a complimentary shuttle bus to take us to the resort. We dropped our bags and headed to Kulata Academy Cafe in Town Square for a coffee and some lunch. Town Square is the hub of the resort with shops, cafes and a tourist information centre. So get to know the square and book any tours that you haven’t booked in advance.
Next it was time for an affordable activity, which is difficult to find here. We took the free shuttle to the farm and enjoyed a short camel ride around it, before checking out the other animals. Longer camel tours to the rock are also available for those who fancy it, but this is a worthwhile option if you’re short on time or funds.
When you get back to the resort, cool down from the afternoon heat in the impressive pool at Sails in the desert. The large, round, cushioned sun loungers scream resort and luxury as you sip on a glass of champagne from the poolside bar.
Day 1 – Evening
On our first evening at Uluru we visited the Field of Light – an inspiring light-based installation in the desert by artist Bruce Munro, which is on display until December 2020. We chose the star pass, which includes canapes and sparkling wine as we watched the sunset from a viewing platform, before heading down to the exhibition. This made for a truly magical experience, although other options are available, for example the installation without the drinks and canapes, sunrise field of light visits, and a field of light and dinner package.
Day 2 – Morning
Now unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the company that we booked our first sunrise experience through, however there are a few different ones on offer. We woke up bright and early for our 4.45am start. By the way, it’s freezing cold and Ayers Rock at that time in the morning. We were picked up and taken to a viewing platform to watch the sun rise over the desert. This was incredible to watch this area come to life as the sun came up and the desert awakens. However, the viewing platform was extremely crowded with tourists battling to stand in the best spot to the perfect photo. For reasons which I’ll explain shortly, I preferred the sunrise tour that we enjoyed on our final morning. After watching the sun rise we were taken to a different spot for breakfast and coffee. Food included cereal and banana bread. After this we were taken on a walk around the base of the rock , which was enjoyable, as it finally began to warm up.
Just as an aside, at present it is still legal to climb Ayers Rock, however this is extremely disrespectful to the native people as this is a sacred place for them. I decided not to and strongly discourage others from doing so.
Day 2 – Afternoon
I was pretty lazy after the early start. At this point I was working in a bar part time, where I would often finish work at 4am, so getting up at that time was difficult for me, although it was certainly worth it. I chose to spend another afternoon relaxing by the pool on a sun lounger, tanning and sipping on sparkling wine. However, for those who want more culture, the Wintjiri Arts and Museum is a fantastic option with a free tour available. Ayers Rock resort also provide free daily indigenous activities, such as a bushtucker food experience and garden walk. For those who want ultimate relaxation, book into the Red Ochre Spa for a pampering session. Other activities such as motorbike or camel tours of the rock, or skydives are also available.
Day 2 – Evening
Our second evening was the highlight of Uluru for me, as we enjoyed the Sounds of Silence dinner. I have to admit, I was sceptical when Conor’s mum first suggested it as it does not come cheap ($210 per adult), and I didn’t have particularly high hoped for buffet food in the desert. However, this was a truly magical, unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience. Plus all alcohol was included, so I made sure to get my moneys worth! We were picked up from our hotel and taken to a viewing area to watch the sunset, similar to the night before. Again, we were given canapes and sparkling wine. By the way, I was 24 at the time and I was asked for ID, so for those of you who are fairly young, make sure that you remember to take yours! Luckily I had mine – I would have been pretty upset if I couldn’t drink at this $210 all-inclusive dinner.
After the sun had set, we were taken down to the dining area, which was simply breathtaking. With crisp white tablecloths and attentive, smartly-dressed servers, it really recreated the feel of a fine dining restaurant, however you’re surrounded by the expansive, beautiful desert. The food far exceeded my expectations, with a range of delicious dishes to delight diners. I only wished I could manage seconds! There were plenty of staff members available to pour wine and tend to our needs throughout the evening, and they really did an excellent job. After dinner, we enjoyed a talk by an astrologist, who invited everyone to use the telescope, which was a lovely end to the evening. Guys, I know it’s expensive, but if you’re going to Ayers Rock this is an unmissable experience.
Day 3 – Morning
Our final morning began with another sunrise tour – this time with Seit. Our tour guide, Jessie, took us to a different viewing spot, where we were the only people. I much preferred this to the crowded platform the morning before. We ate breakfast and drank coffee whilst watching the sunrise this time, which was ideal, since I was a) tired and b) cold. She took us on a walk around the rock after breakfast, and was extremely informative and friendly, telling us insightful stored about the native people as we went. I thoroughly enjoyed this walk and felt that I learned much more about the culture.
When we returned to the resort, we spent our last couple of hours in Town Square, shopping for souvenirs, before heading back to the airport to continue our adventure.