3D2N visit to the world's largest rock: Uluru/Ayers Rock

3 June 2019

Hello kawans! My one week semester break is coming to an end and I told myself that I would update my blog with another one of my long-forgotten-major-throwback-travel-posts so here it is! Now, to stop me from getting sidetracked, here's part-I-lost-count of my Australia trip from N years ago(ok, 2years lol)! Rather than splitting this post accordingly to the number of days like my usual 'DayX at Australia/DayXX at Australia' style, this post is a compilation of what I did for 3Days and 2 Nights in Uluru/Ayers Rock, Northern Territory Australia.

If you have been somewhat 'following' my Australia travel posts and you're pretty much lost now(thanks to me and my super slow updates, I'm sorry!), here's a quick recap! I visited 2 places in Australia back in winter 2017 - Melbourne & Uluru/Ayers Rock and my trip went like this: Melbourne>Uluru/Ayers Rock>Melbourne. This post is gonna be all about how I got to Ayers Rock from Melbourne + where I stayed/ate/did in Uluru/Ayers Rock etc so I hope you guys enjoy reading!

By the way, as this post is outdated and I'm only writing this so I could look back and reminisce my trip in the future, any prices mentioned in this post is most likely outdated. If you're planning a visit, please do your own research because my post can only be served as a rough guide haha.

To read my latest 'Australia travelogue' post before this, here's a quick link to it. For the rest of the posts in proper order, just scroll all the way down! :D

In order to get to Ayers Rock, we took a domestic flight from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport to Ayers Rock Airport. Our flight was at 9.30a.m. via Jet Star so we had to make sure we reach the airport early as we had to estimate time to return our rental car before our flight. If you're wondering how early, it wasn't too bad. We checked out of Bella Hotel Apartments(Melbourne) at 5:30a.m. and when we got to the airport, we grabbed a sandwich.

and that's our plane!

The flight duration was approximately 2 and a half hours. Oh and you can actually spot the famous Ayers Rock/Uluru from the plane! If you want a good shot, remember to book your window seat! *photo credits to my aunt because I was having such a bad headache I can't be bothered by the view anymore LOL*

After touch down, we collected our baggage and went towards the Hertz counter to pick up our rental car.

Since we arrived a little too early before hotel check-in hours, we decided to drive straight to the main attraction of our trip - Ayers Rock/Uluru situated within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Prior to entering the park, you will be required to purchase a park access pass. These were the prices during our visit, if you're planning a visit, you may want to check out THIS LINK or THIS for the latest prices/info. We'll be visiting the park for 2 days straight so we got ourselves the 1-3 Day Pass. If I did not recall wrongly, we bought our passes right at the park entrance gate but you can also opt to purchase it online here. After getting our passes, we drove around to locate their sunset viewing spot.

Shortly after, we drove to the Ayers Rock Resort Town Square for lunch. There's an outdoor parking lot available so don't worry bout parking. After browsing through a few menus from a handful of restaurants we ended up dining at Gecko's Cafe. The four of us shared a plate of Seafood Linguine, fish and chips, and beef burger.

My visit was 2 years ago(hahaha) so I highly doubt any of these are still on the menu but from our visit I guess I could say the food tasted okay...so-so?? Portion sizes were fairly large and pricing wise was as expected from a touristy location with not many restaurant options available. You can also find their menu here. The crowd during lunch hours was still alright but you may want to show up a little earlier for dinner as the place could get pretty packed during the night.

After lunch it was finally time to check into our stay! During our trip we chose to stay at one of the Ayers Rock Resorts- Sails In The Desert for 2 nights. The hotel is about 8 minutes drive away from the airport and about 7 minutes drive to the Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park entrance. Food is also easily accessible via this hotel as the Ayers Rock Town Square(restaurants and mini supermarket) is only 3 minutes walk away. If the weather is too hot during the day, you can always drive there since it's only a minute drive away from Sails. We're not fond of the hot sun so we drove there during lunch but during dinner time when the sun is down, we had a nice stroll.

The check-in process did take awhile but that was understandable because we were there during their peak travel period(end of August).

Here's just a few photos of the surroundings! Despite being a desert, we were there during winter so the cooling weather + surroundings are actually pretty nice for a morning stroll when the sun isn't hitting hard haha.

I can't remember exactly but I think our room was on the top floor...?

Viola here's how our room looks like. There were 4 of us so we booked their Superior Room. It's a pretty cozy room and thank goodness their air condition was pretty good(when the sun is out, the weather can get pretty hot out here in the desert even during winter). I can't recall if there's anything good to watch on TV but the beds were pretty comfortable to sleep on. The room was also pretty spacious and can definitely fit 4 people. Oh and surprisingly, my Travel Recommends pocket wifi worked splendidly out here in the desert but was absolutely horrible in Melbourne city itself, what even??

Now to answer the million dollar question - "How much was it?" During our 2 nights stay at Sails in the Desert, we paid about $1.1k AUD(approx $550/night) for their Superior Room and because there's 4 of us, on top of the $1.1k, we added an extra bed for additional +-$35AUD/night?

I can't remember exact figures but that was the rough amount we paid for our stay 2 years ago haha. For their latest rates you can check online via the Ayers Rock Resort website/Agoda. Just a heads up, if you're thinking of booking this resort, remember to book early because their rooms do run out fast especially during peak travel season! We booked ours via Agoda and we also got free cancellation up until a little over a week before our visit so if you're unsure about your trip, you might want to look into this option!

 Here's a brighter view of the room.

The bathroom had two sinks, a shower and a bath right below it. I never really know how to capture bathroom photos but you get how it looks.

Some bathroom amenities

Some extra photos

Oh and here's the view from our balcony.

It is said that Uluru/Ayers Rock 'changes colour' throughout the day. While it appears to be orange throughout most parts of the day, you'll be able to see the colour of the rock change to purple/blue-ish/dark red/bright orange-red during sunset/sunrise. I believe it's all about how the sun is lighting Uluru so at 4PM, we drove back to the park in hopes that we'll still be able to fetch a good spot at the Uluru Car Sunset Viewing Area(it's an actual area in the park, so look out for it on the street signs).

By the time we got there, a number of good spots have already been taken up by photographers with their tripod and camera all set up filming a good sunset timelapse but I still managed to take a few photos of and with Uluru so all's good! The sight of this massive rock during sunset was quite a sight to take in and I think no photos will be able to do this experience any justice! If you plan on filming your own sunset timelapse, show up ealy to secure yourself a good spot.

I've done it guys. I've seen and walked around the world's largest rock monolith!



On the side note, I'm missing my bright pink-purple hair! Why is it so troublesome, damaging and expensive to maintain beautiful colourful hair?

Last photo featuring the sunset viewing area!

Post-sunset activity? Dinner! For dinner we decided to try 'Ayers Wok Noodles Bar' at the Ayers Rock Resort Town Square(same location as Gecko's Cafe). Prices above might be outdated but you can look up their menu here.

This place only offers takeaway(not sure about now) and there was a pretty long queue when we got there. In fact, everywhere else was queuing but we settled to queue for Ayers Wok because we were craving for some asian flavours and dining in the comfort of our own hotel room haha(plus, this was also 'sort of' the more economical choice compared to the other restaurants in the area).

Here's Day 1's dinner. We had 4 boxes of fried noodles from Ayers Wok. We tried their BBQ and Soy fried noodles.

Apart from Ayers Wok, we also discovered that there's a small supermarket located somewhere within the Ayers Rock Resort Town Square and I highly recommend checking it out!! The supermarket has all the necessities you need and they also sell some salads for an affordable price(I hope they still sell em now)! The potato salad you see in this picture was really yummy(plus it had the 'late evening discount tag' on it) and I'd gladly pick that over the other restaurants we had during our stay haha!

I think the fried noodles tasted so-so? It's also probably because we're from a country where fried noodles are so common that our expectations were set a little too up there? I don't know but on a plus point, their portions were HUGE and I honestly think 2 can share a box.

Still think that under $10 potato salad was super good though!

To end the day here's the best 'starry night' photo I managed to capture. We were out in the desert and this is probably the only time I've been so far away from a city so the night sky I saw here was probably one of my favourite highlights from this trip, second to seeing Uluru up-close of course. My photo clearly did not do this beautiful night sky any justice so you'll have to see it for yourself!

Day 2 in Uluru/Ayers Rock.
Our day 2 at Uluru/Ayers Rock begun super early! We woke up at 4:30a.m. and had a bit of cup noodles for our breakfast(bought em at the mini supermarket). As soon as we were done eating, we drove straight to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in hopes that we'd make it in time to catch the sunrise! 

Y'know, funfact! We originally rented a sedan but when we went to pick up our rental car at the airport, Hertz didn't have the car we booked available so we pretty much got a free upgrade to a Mitsubishi Outlander instead.

My sunrise photos turned out more like silhouettes but they still look pretty neat right? Was waking up at 4:30 in the morning worth it? Yup. Definitely! I mean, you obviously want to make your trip worth it right?

Side track abit. We found this korean 'onion rings chips' at the supermarket the night before and it was addictive lol.

Did Candace drive an Outlander around the desert??? Obviously no hahahahaha.

So after our sunrise viewing session we actually went back to our hotel room to take a nap LOL. When we woke up it was about 1pm-ish and this was when we decided that we'd take a walk around Uluru but before that we stopped by Gecko's Cafe again for lunch first. Honestly, the only reason we ate here again was because the supermarket didn't have my potato salad in stock :c

While many would venture to Uluru attempting to climb it, there are also a few Uluru walking tracks for those whom would love to appreciate the rock without the whole extreme climbing factor. I can't remember which one we chose but if I did not recall wrongly, we went for the Mala Walk which features a 2km return distance that would take up approximately 1.5hrs to complete. Each walking track also has it's own 'difficulty level' but the Mala Walk we chose was one of the easiest Grade 1 walks suitable for everyone HAHA.

By the way, from 26th October onwards, visitors are no longer permitted to climb Uluru/Ayers Rock. I only found out about this while I was googling up all the necessary links while drafting this blog post. I believe I read that the climbing ban will come into effect officially starting 26th October 2019. If climbing Uluru is on your bucket list, and you're physically fit/healthy enough to do so, you might wanna start planning your trip there asap. Though reading the news report from ABC, it seems that the various factors leading to the ban includes safety as well as the cultural significance of Uluru/Ayers Rock to the Anangu people(rightful owners of Uluru).

But hey, with all that said, even if you can't climb Uluru, I still think Uluru is a place worth visiting. If you're there with a tour group, chances are you tour guide would take you guys for the Mala Walk. If you're there on your own like us, you can either do the Mala Walk on your own free and easy style or simply join the free ranger guided Mala Walk. 

The free ranger guided excursion will be following the Mala walk along the base of Uluru. To take part in the free ranger guided excursion, you will have to gather at the Mala Walk carpark. Depending on when you're visiting Uluru, the departure time varies. From October-April, the walk is at 8AM. If you're there during May-Sep, the walk begins slightly later at 10AM. 

Here's a funny story. We knew there was a free ranger guided tour but we what we didn't know was the time it was available. When we showed up there was this group of people with a tour guide so we automatically assumed that was the free ranger tour haha. So we kinda just followed along and it was only at the end of the walk when everyone was heading back to their tour bus only we found out we were following a private tour the whole time LOL. No one said anything or looked at us weirdly so I guess it's okay hahaha!

Some random shots captured during the Mala Walk!

After walking around the area to capture a few more photos, we went back to our hotel for a short while. Along the way back we stopped by the petrol station to pump some gas and buy some ice cream. This was the beautiful sunset sky we came back to.

So this was Day 2's dinner. Trust me, we checked for my potato salad again, no luck so we made do with some fried stuff from the petrol station and some Nissin instant noodles. Despite how it looks, these fried stuff really ain't that bad plus you get to save some money too.

Day 3 at Uluru/Ayers Rock - half day plan.
We will be checking out of our hotel on this day then catching a 12:30p.m. flight back to Melbourne. Before that, we needed something to eat. So happen it was a week before me and my sister's birthday and that was when my family decided 'ok, let's have some fancy hotel breakfast' as an early birthday celebration. So for breakfast we ate at Ilkari Restaurant which so happen to be located in our hotel itself, perfect. We were there for their breakfast buffet and this was what they had to offer(like 2 years ago hahaha).

Okay I think the food options have probably changed over the years but the eggs section probably wouldn't change that much...? If you're dining there and they still offer their 'Outback omelette', you have to try it! I love omelettes and the number 1 thing I look for in a hotel breakfast is the eggs counter LOL. Their outback omelette is basically an omelette but instead of the typical bell pepper/ham/tomato etc, their outback omelette is cooked with their local seasonal ingredients and I loved it! I think I had like 2 or 3!! 

So...a quick review on my experience here(not sure bout their standards now, you might wanna check out tripadvisor for newer reviews)! During my visit, the service there was alright...? I think their pricing might seem a little steep to some considering they offer a slightlyyy smaller variety of food choices compared to other 5 star hotel breakfast buffets charging the same rates. Though personally if you ask me, I think their variety is more than sufficient and considering the fact that Ilkari is located in a hotel out in the desert, I think it's a very fair price(especially when the food from other restaurants don't taste good but are still charging around $18-$25 per plate excluding drinks) so if you were to ask me, I do recommend giving Ilkari's buffet a go if your budget allows it. If not, the supermarket is a good option to check out too if the other Ayers Rock Resort town square restaurants aren't to your liking.

After breakfast, we checked out, got our luggage, made our way to Uluru/Ayers Rock Airport, returned our rental car, and waited for our flight! The End.

And that is a wrap for my Uluru/Ayers Rock longggg awaited travelogue!! It's probably because I haven't wrote travel posts in so long, I lowkey feel so accomplished finishing this haha. As I finish writing this, my 3rd semester has officially begun and I can't wait to learn more in this term! Wish me luck and see you in my next post! 💖 As always, I'm more than happy to answer any questions you guys have so feel free to throw em at me!

Oh and last but not least, visit Uluru/Ayers Rock!

Thank you for reading! Ciao ciao!
- candy -

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