We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Emma, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Emma lives in England, and submitted the following report about Uluru. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: English
Reasons to Visit Uluru
Some famous landmarks can leave you feeling a little bit underwhelmed: Uluru is certainly not in this category. Far from being just a big rock in the middle of the desert, nothing can prepare you for its sheer beauty.
As you fly into Uluru Airport, over red sands and wilderness, as the world heritage-listed monolith eventually comes into sight it will make you catch your breath!
Travelling in Australia can get pretty expensive really fast and Uluru is no exception. The Ayres Rock Resort is in nearby Yalara, outside the National Park, and boasts a wide range of accommodation from budget lodges to pricier affairs. But visiting Uluru for sunrise or sunset from an hour away (the park is vast) means spending a lot of time driving in the Outback after dark, which can be quite dangerous for lots of reasons, including wildlife that won’t hesitate to jump in front of your car.
As a solo traveler, the best way to really experience everything the Outback has to offer is to join a tour. There are a plethora of tour companies out there and I guarantee there is a trip to suit every taste and budget. I camped out under the stars in a swag bag with sixteen other people, and can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my travels.
If you’re a keen climber, think twice about scaling Uluru – the rock and the surrounds are deemed sacred by the Anangu (the local Aboriginal people). Besides, with just a tiny knee-height piece of rope to cling on to, it’s not particularly safe either. Instead, opt for a walking tour around the base of the rock to take in the stunning shift in color, size, and texture, and a visit to the Cultural Centre to learn about the history of area.
This is where a tour really comes into its own. The wealth of knowledge held by my tour guide was extensive and, in an area where camping might be a little unsafe (the howl of dingoes is not uncommon), I felt much better in the presence of someone with local knowledge.
It’s easy to get swept away in the almost pilgrimage-like status Uluru has amongst travelers in Australia. However, with a tour you have three to four days to fill in the outback. Before my trip, I’d never even heard of Kata-Tajuta, Uluru’s equally beautiful, 36-domed geological neighbor known as The Olgas, or realized that the magnificent King’s Canyon was where Priscilla Queen of the Desert was filmed. I had no clue that you could ride a camel just before sunset (which you should) or watch Uluru at sunset from different locations to see different colors each time.
My personal highlight was hiking through the Valley of the Winds (Kata-Tajuta) and watching a kangaroo effortlessly scale the nearby rocks.
So, if beautiful sunrises and sunsets, early morning starts, hiking amongst some of nature’s most beautiful structures and camping out under the Milky Way are your bag, you should definitely include a trip to The Red Centre on your Australian Itinerary.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)