Heading to Ayres Rock, what else to see an do

Hey Guys,

Later this year i am heading upto Ayres Rock with the family for a quick trip before they close it off and stop people climbing it.

I am leaving from Melbourne and will be a quick 3 week round trip, going to stay at the Rock for maybe 3-4 days, to give me so time to climb it in case it is closed for some random reason.

Anyways, i'm looking for some suggestions and info on other places to go during my time up that way, looking at doing the Mareenie Loop if there is time, obvioulsy the Olgas.

So hit me up with some suggestions.

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Friday, May 11, 2018 at 10:52

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 10:52
Yes got friends doing same thing before the rock is closed and because of the unreliability of access they, like you will hang out for a few days to ensure the trip is not wasted.

As a result the plan is to go straight to Ayers rock , do the climb, and then decide on rest of trip considering the remaining time.

We did Boggy hole track and then the back way up to Alice which starts 1/2 way along the main Ayers rock road. Plenty of camping and a lovely , not to hard track. Takes about a day.

Not a lot in Alice - but its fun to drive the unlimited speed section north of Alice if you have time left.

If you still have spare time then head out to Ruby Gap N.E. of Alice for a really good day or overnight trip

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: rumpig - Friday, May 11, 2018 at 11:52

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 11:52
I am doing similar later this year also, 2 week trip from Brisbane to the rock and back. Plan to get to the rock in 4 days (5 days tops if I start feeling like it’s to much for me) allow 3 days there hoping it’s open to climb and then work out schedule for route home after that. Really hoping the rock is open to climb on the first day there, then we’ll leave the next day, hit Lambert’s Centre of Australia on the run home, through Finke towards Oodnadatta, stop in at the Painted Desert, then punch out the klms down Oodnadatta Track towards home as quickly as safely possibly, but stopping to visit a few other things along the way just to break up the driving....time line is limited, so it’ll be a few very big klm days involved along the way, beats sitting at home watching rubbish reality tv I reckon. Worst case scenario I get there and back via The Plenty, hoping to avoid retracing my same route there on the run home though, but will see what happens at the time.
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Follow Up By: KevinE - Friday, May 11, 2018 at 20:37

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 20:37
Around AS:

* Telegraph station.
*Alice wildlife park.
* Dawn hot air balloon ride with champagne brekky.
* Flynn's Grave.
* Day trip out through the gorges & Stanley Chasm to Glen Helen in the Western Mac's. Ormiston gorge is a highlight IMO.
* Day out to the gorges & corroboree rock to Ross River in the eastern Mac's.Trephina gorge would be my highlight on that trip. An extra couple of day's in the area going out to N'Dala gorge, Arltunga & the mines. Great camping at Ross River Homestead. You can even travel the Binns track up to Gemtree from Arltunga, great camping at Gemtree, which is a very short, easy drive back to AS, stopping at the tropic of Capricorn on the way.
* Hermannsberg & Palm Valley are easily accessed on bitumen via AS, or you can come the other way by extending the trip to Glen Helen, out through Serpentine & Redbank gorges & Gosses Bluff.

Have a great trip! :)
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 12:07

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 12:07
And around town, chuck in:

RFDS Visitor Facility

School of the Air Visitor Centre

Old Ghan Heritage Railway Museum

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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 21:15

Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 21:15
Robin, the Sturt Hwy no longer has an unlimited speed section courtesy of our caring Govt that changed hands a while ago. Not that the supposed concern for accidents has been reflected in the accident rates since then. But you can't let facts get in the way of appeasing the likes of weird Harold Scruby.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 09:33

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 09:33
Thanks for update Phil - So Sad , glad I did it , while it was there !

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 18:53

Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 18:53
If you are into buying souvenirs they are a fraction of the price at the Alice weekend market compared to out at the Rock for mostly the same things.
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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Friday, May 11, 2018 at 12:04

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 12:04
Beware of midges. Was up there 2 weeks ago and got stealth attacked.
And make sure you drive on the left hand side of the road :) you'll know what I mean when you get up there.
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Follow Up By: Greg J1 - Friday, May 11, 2018 at 20:55

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 20:55
Haha cruiser. Know what you mean !!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 21:34

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 21:34
And if you’re doing it in June, July or August, TAKE LOTS OF WARM CLOTHES!! It gets really cold after about 4pm and before 9am
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Friday, May 11, 2018 at 12:04

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 12:04
You can't miss the West McDonnell Ranges so head in that way from Alice to the Uluru. If you have a few days after, I would suggest popping out to see Rainbow Valley and Chambers Pillar - the pillar makes a beautiful sunset and sunrise location for unique photographs and has a unique remote feel yet so close to reach (with a 4WD). Grab our app and you'lll find it easy to plan on the go - as icons with all the trip planning info, photos, and reviews for what's nearby your current position is easily accessible from the map - works online and offline on any tablet or phone, or Windows 10 with GPS.
Michelle Martin
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Friday, May 11, 2018 at 12:50

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 12:50
Look at the blogs of "Motherhen" under blogs in the Menu. Her blog helped me out several years ago when we did a similar trip and I asked the same question
Some people find Kings Canyon is more inspiring thena Uluru. As Michelle said, the West Mac ranges are pretty special, but depends if you are into walking. After our trip I went back a couple of years later and over a couple of trips walked the 230km of the West Macs.
Good suggestions regading Lamberts Centre, Dalhousie Springs, Oodnadatta, Painted Desert as above

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Reply By: Member - peter_mcc - Friday, May 11, 2018 at 14:04

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 14:04
We were there for 3 days last June and it was closed every day. Either too windy or "it might rain" (it didn't). You may be lucky, you may be unlucky - if you really want to climb it you might need to have a "plan B" in case it's close for the 3-4 days you are there.

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Reply By: Darian - Friday, May 11, 2018 at 15:39

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 15:39
As seen within comments above, there are lots of outstanding places of natural environmental beauty to see in that central Oz region. Those that would feature topmost on our list include:

The Olgas...blew me away...much more impressive than Ayers Rock for mine (and, more rock for your $...bigger and higher ! :-)...the Valley of The Winds walk is not long, but quite outstanding. Its worth reading up on the geological origins of this area...an example... [ http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/national-parks/uluru-kata-tjuta-national-park/natural-environment/geology ]. Oh...and...as I recall, the Olgas seem 'just over there', but its a 100km round trip drive from Yulara !

Kings Canyon...again, impressive. The 6km rim walk is a feature...well worth the time.

Ormiston Gorge...head and shoulders above the other gorges along the Namatjira Drive ....this is an impressive gorge on a grand scale.

Palm Valley...a curiosity, re the palms but worth dropping in, if passing that area. You have to drive along the sandy bed of the Finke* for quite some km's...check conditions prior**.
*you can't drive along the world's oldest river anywhere else !
**not an issue generally...quite firm...we took our van in, years back.

Gosse Bluff...one doesn't get to see an asteroid crater every day ! Well worth the visit (you can drive into it). A look at web sites such as the following is worth the time [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gosses_Bluff_crater ] ...especially the bit about how big the crater was at formation...(we now just have the relatively minor remnant :-)

Have great time...can't go wrong up there !
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Reply By: Member - silkwood - Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 16:24

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 16:24
Not in the same vein as other replies, but if you are spending a day or so in Alice, do try the Tinh & Lan Vietnamese garden restaurant out near the airport. Definitely worth the trip.


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Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 19:24

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 19:24
Check out MyBlogs (2008) of what we saw and did in Central Australia.

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Reply By: NeddySmtih - Monday, May 14, 2018 at 15:17

Monday, May 14, 2018 at 15:17
Awesome, thats heaps guys for all the input and suggestions, really looking forward to this trip as a precursor for doing 3-4mths away maybe in 2020, where we head to Darwin turn left and head down to Perth along the coast and then back to Melb.

With so much to see up that way this quick trip will at least give us an extra couple of weeks in 2020 to see some more thing we got too see and do this time.
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Reply By: rumpig - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 11:12

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 11:12
Seems like it’s going to be a pretty popular destination this year with many...friends just tried booking into the campground at Yulara for several nights in the second week of July (school holidays for Qld & possibly other states also i’d guess), they only had single night sites available in both the powered and unpowered area, they would need to move sites each day if they wanted to be there more then one night. Apparently there is an overflow dirt ground area available that is abit of a walk to the amenities, but they don’t take bookings for it our friend was informed. Hopefully the crowds will have eased some when we are there later in the year.
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Follow Up By: NeddySmtih - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 13:30

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 13:30
Yeah thanks for the heads up, my missus has been on the case already and booking some places already up around there for rough dates when we going to be where etc, for this very reason.

Some places as you have mentioned we had to pay the extra and get powered sites just to make sure we were able to book as many places dont book the unpowered camp sites.
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