How to get to Uluru
Uluru is one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Northern Territory so it's little wonder why travellers flock to see its staggering size and learn about its cultural significance. Due to its remote location in the Red Centre, it can be a bit hard to get to but if you didn't want to embark on a guided tour like our Red Centre Explorer (where all the transportation is taken care of for you) there are still several travel options that are relatively time-efficient and budget-friendly. These options include flying, self-driving, and catching public transport.
Flying to Uluru
Flying to Uluru is by far the quickest option if you're coming from a different Australian city such as Melbourne or Hobart, and with two airports to choose from, travelling to the iconic destination by air is easier than ever. The most popular airport to fly into is Alice Springs Airport (ASP) as it offers a wider range of flight routes that are more frequent. Even though Alice Springs is just under a 5 hour's drive to Uluru, it's extremely easy to rent a car from one of several companies including Avis, Europcar, Thrifty, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. See below the flight time and approximate ticket cost from neighbouring cities to Alice Springs:
- The flight time between Melbourne and Alice Springs is 3 hours and will set you back upwards of AUD$300.
- The flight time between Sydney and Alice Springs is 3 hours and 15 minutes and will set you back upwards of AUD$320.
- The flight time between Hobart and Alice Springs is around 6 hours and will set you back upwards of AUD$500.
- The flight time between Perth and Alice Springs is 3 hours and will set you back upwards of AUD$400.
- The flight time between Adelaide and Alice Springs is 2 hours and 10 minutes and will set you back upwards of AUD$200.
- The flight time between Brisbane and Alice Springs is around 3 hours and will set you back upwards of AUD$350.
- The flight time between Darwin and Alice Springs is 2 hours and will set you back upwards of AUD$180.
All above prices are subject to change depending on availability and the season you're travelling in so aim to have your flights booked months in advance to avoid disappointment or increased prices.
The second option if you're keen on flying is to fly into Ayers Rock/Connellan Airport (AYQ) which is located a short 10-minute drive from Yulara (Uluru). While it might be closer to the iconic rock itself, there aren't a lot of flight routes available that connect to other major Australian cities, however, there are a number of car rental companies to choose from so you to easily complete the rest of your journey via self-driving. If you choose to fly into this airport, you'll also be treated to exceptional views of Uluru as you come into land.
Driving to Uluru
While flying to Uluru might be the quickest option, one of the best ways to see as much of this country's incredible scenery as you possibly can is to embark on an epic days-long road trip. Not only can you be more flexible with your route, but you also have the chance to stop at small towns and attractions along the way so you can get the full Aussie experience. And if you think you need to have a 4WD then think again. From a Holden Barina to a Jeep Wrangler (and everything in between), the outback roads are more than manageable for all car types and sizes.
All major highways leading from heavily populated cities to Uluru are fairly well maintained and feature frequent signage with bold lettering so navigation is relatively easy. There are some routes that don't require driving on unsealed roads (like the Stuart HWY if you're travelling from Melbourne, Sydney, or Adelaide) but be wary of low visibility and driving speed if you're opting for the more rugged/gravel routes. You should also be mindful of driving at night or in largely uninhabited areas as various animals like kangaroos and wombats are known to cross roads and can cause damage to your vehicle.
Catching public transport to Uluru
Catching public transport is only possible as a means of travel for part of your journey. There are no buses that run direct from major Australian cities to Uluru, however, there are two bus companies, AAT Kings and Austour, that offer services from Alice Springs to Uluru so you could always fly into Alice Springs and then catch public transport if you don't like the idea of renting a car.
Prices for these fares are also subject to change but you can expect to pay around AUD$180 for a return journey. One of the downsides of taking public transportation is that you're very restricted in how much time you can spend at Uluru and unless you book a specific early morning or early evening service, you'll miss watching the sunrise or sunset over the natural formation.