One of the best things you can do in Australia is a 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour. Believe me, there is nothing more magical within this beautiful country than the “Red Centre”. I went there after my Queensland coastline road trip with my girlfriend. Such an awesome experience, that I would not want to miss. I am very happy, that I did it, because most people miss out on it. For me, the 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour was one of the best things I did during my whole trip through Oceania.
Magical 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour
Guys you know already, that I only give you my advice on everything that I have done myself. I am very, very happy, that I can tell you a little bit about what to expect from the “Red Centre” of Australia, because not a lot of people have the chance to do it. It’s either to far away or to expensive. I have to admit, it is quite a distance to cover and it really is quite expensive, if you add up all the costs. But on the other hand, it’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
I ruffly stayed in the area around Alice Springs for 5 days including the 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour. The whole area has something very spiritual/ magical to it, which really fascinated me. You won’t find this anywhere else. Trust me…
3 day Ayers Rock camping tour: General information, costs, tours and how to get there
A 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour is a must do in Australia in my opinion. Does not matter how you do, just make sure you do it. You can either go on your own or book a tour (that’s what I did). Most people go on a tour for a couple different reasons. Normally I do not like those kind of tours very much. I prefer to go on my own and discover everything by myself. But in this case, it was a good decision to do a tour.
Mainly, because it seemed quite hard to figure out where all the highlights are in this desert. The climate is similar to the climate in the Sahara. If you are on your own and you get lost or your car breaks down, you will have a serious problem. That’s why you should take a lot of food and water with you!
I am not saying you can not/ should not do it on your own. I just want to mention, that in this particular case, it’s easier to book a 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour. Furthermore you will meet a lot of cool people. Guaranteed 😉
How to get there
Alice Springs is the starting point. All the highlights you want to visit – Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon – are located in the south of the Northern Territory. If you look at Google Maps, you will see that it is almost exactly in the middle of Australia. There are 3 main options to get there and back.
- Take your own car
- Go by Greyhound bus
- Fly by plane
I went for the third option, because I did not want to stay in the middle of Australia forever. Besides the main spots, there is not that much to do in the area, unless you work there. Of course it is more expensive, but you do not loose that much time. So for me it was a good option, because I wanted to go to Darwin straight after that.
I don’t recommend any other way of transportation (hitchhiking, motorbike, bicycle, etc.) in this case/ area, because it is not the smartest thing to do in my opinion. The risks of having a problem are to high.
In the question of which tour you can do and what each one costs, you have a lot of options. Most people go for a 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour. You will find many companies on the internet. But you can also go on a one or multiple day tour (4 days, 3 nights or 5 days, 4 nights, etc.). Most tours include the following:
- Food and drinks
- Campsites with kitchens, toilets & hot showers
- Tents for both nights
- Air conditioned bus
- Quality swags, if you choose to sleep under the stars
- Uluru park entrance fee (25 $)
- Pick up from Alice Springs accommodation, Ayers Rock Airport or Ayers Rock Resort (Outback Pioneer)
If you choose the 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour, you will pay about 350 – 400 $, depending on what kind of deal you get. Flight costs vary. Mine took off from Brisbane and I payed about 350 $. I know, adding these two is a lot of money already, but as I said, it is worth it.
If you go by car, you will pay about 200 – 250 $ on fuel – calculated from Darwin, which is the closest bigger city (1.500 km). With a Jeep/ 4 wheel drive the costs will probably be higher. So this is quite expensive as well and it will take you about 20 hours to get there. But on the other hand, if you go on your own, you will obviously save a lot of money by leaving out the guided tour.
So it is up to you what’s more important: Saving money or convenience…
In this case I prefered “convenience”, because I had a lot of people telling me, that it is a big effort to get there and back. The ride is very long and “boring”. Plus there are no other exciting spots on the way. So I am quite happy I have chosen the convenient way 🙂
3 day Ayers Rock camping tour: Part 1 – Ayers Rock
The first big attractions on your 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour is Ayers Rock itself. Aborigenies call this rock “Uluru“. Don’t mistake it with Mount Connor – the look alike. The whole Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park belongs to the aboriginal folk. It is their spiritual home. That’s why you have to pay an entrance fee (included in the package). You should also not climb “the Rock” to show your respect to their beliefs.
Facts and highlights
The summit of Uluru lies at 863 m. It is a massive rock with an extent of 9 km. It takes quite a while to walk around it. Ayers Rock arose about 550 million years ago and there are a lot of cool myths about it. The guide will also show you some really interesting aboriginal paintings.
The guide will tell you everything you need to know during the hike. Before it starts, you will go to the information centre to get some general information about “the Rock”. The hike itself takes a whole afternoon. Once you have finished the walk on the beautiful red sandy paths, you will watch the sunset. An absolutely amazing experience!
“The Rock” turns red and maybe even orange, if you are lucky. Our guide said an orange colour is very rare. Ours was only red 😉 You will sleep on a campground nearby. You can either choose to stay in a tent or sleep under the stars.
My tip: Sleep under the stars! You will have rarely seen a night sky like that before 😉
The next morning you will wake up very early in order to see the sunrise from a special view point. Honestly, maybe the best one I have seen in my life!
3 day Ayers Rock camping tour: Part 2 – Kata Tjuta
After you have seen the magic sunrise at Uluru, the 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour goes on to Kata Tjuta. You can actually already see this place from the Ayers Rock sunrise view point as well. Also very, very pretty to look at. Once you are there, it takes about half a day to do the walk. You will be guided between the mountain ranges. Some of the views you get are just absolutely phenominal. Especially when you look towards the valleys.
I was very impressed by the whole scenery. It looks like an old western movie with native Americans and cowboy, etc. Really cool 🙂
Facts and highlights
Kata Tjuta itself is a mountain range. You’ll find 36 different mountains. The biggest one has a hight of 1.069 m. This mountain range has been found by an english explorer named Ernest Giles in 1872. He called these mountains “The Olgas”. Kata Tjuta arose 550 million years ago, just like Ayers Rock. Nowerdays the area is only used for touristic and geological purposes.
After the hike, the guide will probably take you to some other spots close to the last destination. You will have to pick up some dry wood for the campfire. Maybe you will even see a brown snake somewhere, if you are lucky. Just be really careful. They are very poisonous. Their venom can kill humans within a couple minutes. We actually got lucky and saw a baby snake from the bus 🙂
If you want to, you can also help the guide with preparing the food for everyone. So, this tour does not only mean “time to hang out and relax”, which I found to be quite nice 😉
In my opinion Kata Tjuta was the second best of the 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour. The best was still about to come…
3 day Ayers Rock camping tour: Part 3 – Kings Canyon
On your last day you will have to wake up early again. The afternoon before, you can decide whether you want to sleep outside again or in a tent. Same advice… sleep outside!
During the way to the third highlight of the 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour, we have been very lucky. We have seen some wild horses in the middle of the desert. They have been far away, but what I could see through my camera lens was something truely special for me. I mean, how often do you see wild horses? The chances are very low, which made it even more unique to me.
But anyway, the third part is Kings Canyon, which is the best part of the 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour. On an average about 80% of the people say they like Kings Canyon the most. And I do too.
You can choose from 3 different tracks at Kings Canyon:
- Kings Creek walk (shortest one)
- Kings Canyon Rim walk (3-4 hours)
- Giles Track (22 km walk)
Facts and highlights
Kings Canyon was also found by Ernest Giles. Back in the days it was a very important spot for the Aboriginies. Kings Canyon provided water and a place to hide from the unbearable heat. Today it is only used as a touristic highlight, just like the other ones. More than 300.000 people visit Kings Canyon every year.
You will walk half a day through this wonderful piece of art (Kings Canyon Rim walk). The lower part of the Kings Canyon is called “Garden of Eden”. You feel like this is the only place in the whole desert, where you can find palms, trees, bushes and fresh water. You will even find some eucalyptus trees here. So it does make sense to give it this name.
Almost at the end of the track you can have a look at the “Garden of Eden” from above. You will see the massive cliffs on the left side, which are absolutely stunning. Taking a picture at the bottom is also not problem. The fresh water is as clear as a mirror. So beautiful… You will get a good picture 😉
Addiotionally you can have a look at the “Domes”, which looks very impressive as well. All of these places have developed over millions of years and the guide will even show you some spots, where you can see how some lakes and floating water shaped the ancient sandstone.
After you got back to the parking area, the whole 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour is finished.
My honest advice
I can honestly tell you guys: This trip is absolutely awesome and so worth its money/ effort to get there. I promise you, you will not see a scenery like this very often in your life. That’s for sure!
As I said in the beginning, the 3 day Ayers Rock camping tour was easily one of the best tours I did in Australia, maybe even from all of my travels so far. You can see some parts of it in a video on my Youtube channel. Just make sure to go there, if you have the opportunity. You will not forget this adventure for a long, long time…
Want to know more about the Litchfield National Park? Read here