Visiting Uluru and surrounding area

Jun 28th, 2008, 04:06 PM
  #1  
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Visiting Uluru and surrounding area

Can anyone recommend a reputable tour operator for the area of Uluru, the Olgas, King's Canyon? I will be there at the beginning of August and have three full days plus the day I arrive and the day I fly out (i.e. 4 nights). Has anyone camped in August? Is it freezing at night?
nyctraveler212 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 05:15 PM
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You really don't need a tour operator to visit Uluru, Kata Tjuta and King's Canyon. I'd suggest flying into Uluru and renting a car to get to Uluru and Kata Tjuta for walks, sunrise, sunset, etc. (2 nights) Then drive to King's Canyon for an overnight stay there to do some hiking. From there you can drive to Alice Springs, stay overnight and perhaps do a bit of sightseeing there and get your flight out of the area. You'll have a lot more flexiblity by doing it on your own and it will probably be more cost efficient, especially if there is at least one other person traveling with you.
As for camping in August--I wouldn't do it. Our first trip to Uluru was in the month of July and it was freezing-literally--at night. We were definitely wearing jackets after sunset.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Thank you for your suggestions. The problem is that I will be traveling alone and I would be a bit concerned about driving on the "wrong" side of the road. I haven't done this before. I also don't know anything about cars in case there is a breakdown. Also, how is it to hike on your own in these places? I'm in good shape and have some experience, but I'm not a hardcore outdoor person.
Thanks.
nyctraveler212 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 01:14 PM
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I'd say you'd be fine driving yourself, especially in an area with very little traffic. As for breaking down - this would be unlikely renting from reputable firm. Plus they would provide breakdown coverage I presume.

No need to be a hardcore hiker for the walks in these places - all are well trodden and well marked. The hike around Uluru is very level. There are two main walks at the Olgas: Olga Gorge (not demanding at all) and the Valley of the Winds (up and down but nothing very steep or scary). Of all the hikes, VotW tops the list, in my opinion - dont miss it! The hike around Kings Canyon is also very good. It starts off steep, but does not stay that way for long. It's mostly level as you walk around the rim, with some ups and downs, as I recall.

Best to do these walks (especially VotW) in the AM before the tour bus groups arrive.

Ralph R in CT (off to Australia on July 1!)
RalphR is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 01:29 PM
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Meant to say I've been to Central Australia a couple of times, both in August. We had a camper on our second trip. The days were lovely and warm, and the nights were cold, near freezing. Provided you have a decent sleeping bag, I wouldn't rule out camping. At least you can be almost certain there will not be rain and snow is out of the question.
RalphR is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 01:35 PM
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I can understand your concerns, but unfortunately I can't recommend any tours as we have done both of our trips to the Red Center on our own.
You should have no problem with hikes in the area. At Uluru, you can hike around the base (about 9km) and it's an easy-moderate hike. At Kata Tjuta, there are a number of hikes, but I'd recommend the Valley of the Winds which is about 7.5 km and is of moderate difficulty. At King's Canyon, you'll want to do the Rim Walk which is about 6 km. The beginning of this hike is a steep ascent, but then I'd say it's an easy-moderate hike. We did all of these hikes with our kids, aged 10 and 13 at the time, so I'm sure you'll have no problem.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 04:40 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I assume that there are other people on the trails so that if one were injured there would be some chance of getting help? Would one be able to get cell reception in case of emergency?
As I said, I'm not really a hardcore outdoors person.
Thanks.
nyctraveler212 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 06:07 PM
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Hi nyctraveller212,

Usually I'm the last to recommend an organized tour; but in your case, I wonder whether you might enjoy it more with a small group. That way, you'd be able to soak up the experience without worrying about driving and hiking around on your own. I've done the Kings Canyon & Olgas walks and had we not had an experienced guide, would have missed a lot of the special aspects of both.

There's an Aboriginal group who do tours from Uluru. If you go to the Cultural Centre when you arrive, they will be able to advise you. Allow a good hour for the C.Centre as it's absolutely fascinating and will add immensely to your enjoyment and understanding of the area.

This link might be useful as they had some specials on tours. http://www.ntstandby.com.au

There may or may not be other people doing the Kings Canyon/Olgas walks when you're there and I wouldn't do either on my own. Not because it's particularly dangerous, which neither is - just because anyone can slip & twist an ankle and your mobile almost certainly won't work there. (But it will around the Resort).

It will be very cold at night and in the early morning, and can be quite windy around Uluru early in the day. It will warm up later on, but make sure you have a coat until then.

Here are a couple of links which might be useful for accommodation:
I haven't used any of these places.

www.needtoescape.com/uluru/
www.ayersrockresort.com.au

You might be able to get a cabin, which ought be cheaper than a motel.
The resort is very expensive and not good value for money - but they just about have a monopoly, so that's the old Supply/Demand issue isn't it?

Bokhara2 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 11:48 AM
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I wouldn't worry about driving on the left. Make sure you get the transmission you want. Automatic??
I have done a couple of tours in Australia and no issue driving on the left. I'm a Canuck!
ThePass is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 04:05 PM
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try these folks, sahara outback tours. i did a 4 day tour with them in 2001. we flew into uluru and met up with them there. it was january when we went so it was very hot, but the sleeping bags they had seemed to be pretty heavy.

http://www.ozhorizons.com.au/nt/alice/sahara/st.htm
quimbymoy is offline  
Aug 21st, 2008, 06:10 PM
  #11  
 
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Hi Uluru is a great place to visit, as I posted in another thread the below link will give you info on the tour that we did, it was a great tour and we couldn't have asked for anything more. http://www.godo.com.au/activity/AATK116
jasonhill is offline  

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