What to pack for a trip from Uluru (Yulara) to Alice Springs
Before you can get to the fun stuff of exploring the Northern Territory's extraordinary scenery, figuring out what you need to pack for your trip should be high on your priority list. The desert landscape can sometimes be a harsh one so if you're not sure where to start or what to pack, we've put together a list of the essentials and the things it'd be good to pack (if you have room) so you can make your Uluru (Yulara) to Alice Springs trip a stress-free one.
1. Appropriate hiking/walking shoes
Considering Australia's Red Centre is full of landscapes waiting to take your breath away from the jaw-dropping Kings Canyon to the spiritual heart of the Northern Territory, Uluru, chances are you'll be doing a lot of exploring on foot. This means you need to pack super comfortable walking shoes, and no, we're not talking about new walking shoes. Make sure whatever shoes you pack are sufficiently worn in because no one likes getting a blister half an hour into a 4-hour trek.
2. Long pants for hiking/trekking
While packing long clothing might seem ridiculous given the high temperatures the southern part of the Northern Territory experiences, it's a good idea to pack clothes that cover up as much of your body as possible. Not only is the sun's UV rays extremely potent in the Red Centre, but exploring natural attractions and trekking through largely undisturbed landscapes comes with its own challenges and you can often find yourself scratching past bushes or stumbling over rocks. To protect your skin from scratches and other marks, pack a pair of lightweight, long pants.
3. Lightweight cardigans and jackets
It's true that both Uluru and Alice Springs can reach temperatures of up to 40°C+ but these temperatures can fall dramatically when the sun goes down (especially in winter). To ensure you're not feeling the cold when adventuring at nighttime, it's a good idea to pack a lightweight cardigan or jacket.
There are plenty of natural swimming holes to play around in from Ormiston Gorge in West Macdonnell National Park to various secluded spots in Kings Canyon so packing your swimsuit is a must. While the peak season for the southern part of the Northern Territory is during winter, temperatures are still warm enough to make the most of Mother Nature's impressive work (think 20°C - 30°C), and when you've just trekked hours through the desert to arrive at these water-filled oasis', trust us when we say you're going to want to cool off.
5. Backpack/day bag
Because our Uluru (Yulara) to Alice Springs trips are fairly active ones, you're going to be spending a lot of time outside, and at times, won't make it back to the night's accommodation for several hours. To ensure you have everything you need with you on a daily basis, it's a great idea to pack a backpack or a day bag so you can carry around all your essentials. These are things like sunscreen, snacks, a reusable drink bottle, visitors guides/park notes, and other bits and pieces that you may need to have handy when you're out and about.
6. Sun protection e.g. sunscreen, hats, sunglasses
Embarking on a trip from Uluru (Yulara) to Alice Springs requires you to spend a lot of time outside so making sure you're properly protected against the sun is a high priority. Packing essential items such as sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, and protective sunglasses (and actually wearing them) will go a long way to keep your body free from sunburn and other sun-related health conditions. Not only is it a good idea to put sunscreen on every morning before you go outside, but you should also carry a bottle or two with you to reapply throughout the day, especially if you know you're going to be outside for an extended period of time.
7. Reusable drink bottle
We've already briefly touched on this item but we think it deserves its own dot point. By now you know that temperatures in this part of the Northern Territory can reach crazy highs so staying hydrated is one of the best ways to cool yourself down. In case you need water quickly or are super thirsty after trekking through the desert, packing a reusable drink bottle and carrying it around with you is a very sensible thing to do.
Whether you plan on using the camera on your phone or you've bought a professional one ready to go, packing a camera is a must. While there's nothing like being in the moment and appreciating the beautiful sunset or spectacular rock formations right in front of you, one of the best things about travelling is getting to relive your experiences over and over again long after you get home. The best way to do that is by taking as many photos as you can.
9. A very good playlist
While we encourage you to fully immerse yourself within the environment you're travelling through, and for a trek through Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park that means listening to the sounds of the wilderness around you, we can also understand that not everyone likes to listen to the sounds of their own breathing (or other peoples for that matter). To avoid this, put together a bangin' playlist with songs from your favourite musical genres. There's nothing like listening to a bit of John Farnham or Kylie Monogue as you battle through the challenging Valley of the Winds walk.
Another item that would be nice to have (but not essential) on your trip is a pair of binoculars. There are hundreds of different animal species and plant life that calls the Red Centre their own and while they might be hard to spot with the naked eye, having a pair of binoculars handy ensures you'll be able to see them more easily. From small reptiles sunbaking on rocks to native trees in the distance, getting an up-close look at the flora and fauna of this region only adds to your overall experience.