Red cents: Uluru on a budget

There are loads of ways to experience Uluru’s magic without breaking the bank.

Group of people walking the Uluru Base Walk on a sunny, blue-sky day. Image credit: Tourism NT
  • Jetstar
  • September 2022

With a bit of planning and an adventurous spirit, a trip to the Red Centre can be surprisingly affordable. Set out on amazing walks, join free activities at the Cultural Centre, and set up camp at Ayers Rock Resort. These are our top tips for a budget-friendly trip to Uluru.

Make the most of your park pass (kids are free!)

Before you start your adventure, you’ll need to get a Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park pass. (It’s quickest and easiest to get it online.) A park pass is valid for 3 days and are completely free for anyone under 18. Bring the kids! As well as entry to the park, you’ll get access to a bunch of free activities, and entry to the award-wining Cultural Centre. The centre includes galleries, displays, community-owned shops, and the Tjukurpa Tunnel, which tells the story of Uluru from the Anangu perspective. There’s a great picnic area behind the centre with tables, barbecues and spectacular views.

Four people walking on a track with Uluru Cultural Centre sign in foreground. Image credit: Tourism NT
Don't miss the free galleries and displays at the Cultural Centre. Image credit: Tourism NT

Set out on spectacular walks

The best way to experience the grandeur of Uluru and Kata Tjuta is to hit the walking tracks alongside the undulating, ancient rock. Start with the 10-kilometre Uluru base walk. The wheelchair-accessible track is divided into various shorter walks, each with its own distinctive attractions. At Kata Tjuta, the Valley of the Winds walk is a three-to-four-hour circuit among the domes, leading to magnificent lookouts, with shorter segment options. Both walks are as free as they are grand.

Two people hiking at Kata Tjuta on a sunny, blue-sky day. Image credit: Tourism NT/Paddy Pallin
Explore the ancient domes at Kata Tjuta. Image credit: Tourism NT/Paddy Pallin

Take a free, guided Uluru tour

To learn more about Uluru, take the free Mala guided ranger walk. The early-morning walk starts off down a pram-friendly and wheelchair-accessible route of about 2 kilometres. Stopping at various points along the way, the ranger gives insights into Uluru’s natural features, rock art, sacred places, local history and cultural traditions.

Group of people and ranger at the base of Uluru on the ranger-guided Mala walk. Image credit: Tourism NT/Tourism Australia
Get local insights on the free Mala guided ranger walk. Image credit: Tourism NT/Tourism Australia

Join a bush yarns session

Anangu-owned Ayers Rock Resort hosts free morning bush yarns sessions at the Circle of Sand in the Town Square Lawn. You’ll hear local legends and lore, see hunting weapons and bush tucker tools and techniques, and learn about Anangu culture from experienced Indigenous guides. The yarns are a glimpse into the rich storytelling traditions of the Anangu and an opportunity to glean some insights into the local Pitjantjatjara language.

Artist pointing at sand drawing at Maruka Arts, Uluru. Image credit: Tourism NT/Archie Sartracom
Learn about the rich storytelling traditions of the Anangu. Image credit: Tourism NT/Archie Sartracom

Camp at Ayers Rock Campground

Take the five-billion-star accommodation option: sleep under the stars at Ayers Rock Campground. The campground has tent sites and cabins, barbecues and outdoor kitchen facilities, and importantly, a swimming pool. The resort offers loads of free activities, including garden walks and didgeridoo workshops, and has a supermarket for all your self-catering needs.

Hire a car

Uluru is about 15 minutes’ drive from the resort, and Kata Tjuta about half an hour away, so the cost of taking tours can quickly mount up, especially for families. Hiring a car also means you have the option of driving to Watarrka National Park and Kings Canyon, some 300 kilometres from Uluru. Entry to the national park is free.

Two people looking into a valley from atop the rim at Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park. Image credit: Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught
Worth the drive: Kings Canyon at Watarrka National Park. Image credit: Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught

Find out more about Uluru