How to spend 48 hours in Uluṟu

Australia's epic red centre should be on your bucket list, and there's no better time to go than winter!

Australia's Red Centre is a bucket list item and one that should be a top priority on your travel list and there's no better time to head to the Northern Territory than the Aussie winter. From the cultural hub of Alice Springs, to the magnificent beauty of Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa, learning more about Australia's rich history will be a holiday you won't forget.

If you're sick of rainy Eastern city winters, there's never been a better time to book a trip to the Northern Territory and have an unforgettable experience.

Uluru should be on your winter travel bucket list. Photo: Instagram.com/exploreuluru + Yahoo Lifestyle
Uluru should be on your winter travel bucket list. Photo: Instagram.com/exploreuluru + Yahoo Lifestyle

For our trip, we departed from Alice Springs to head out on the ultimate sister-bonding road trip, hiring a car from Thrifty and hitting the road. It's about 4-5 hours from Alice to Uluṟu, and I've never seen my sister happier than she was behind the wheel of our hired Prado as she hit 130km (legally) on the drive there.

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There are a couple of rest-stop destinations along the way, and you realise you're getting closer to Yulara and Uluṟu when you glimpse the incredible Artilla or Mt Conner, often known as 'Fooluru'. Artilla is an impressive mountain itself, and it stands amid an operational cattle station called Curtin Springs, located 100km east of Uluṟu Resort.

Sails In The Desert is a perfect place to stay during your Uluṟu visit. Photo: Instagram.com/exploreuluru
Sails In The Desert is a perfect place to stay during your Uluṟu visit. Photo: Instagram.com/exploreuluru

Once we arrived at our destination, we checked into the magnificent Sails In The Desert resort, but it wasn't time to rest yet — we dropped off our stuff, got straight back into the car, and headed off to go check out the absolute wondrous Kata Tjuṯa, also known as The Olgas.

We took a walk through the stunning rock domes before sunset, selecting the Walpa Gorge Walk, an easy, albeit slightly rocky stroll where you can catch rare plants and take in the magnificent view of the domes.

We then went back to a viewing point to watch the sunset, which was simply breathtaking: as the sun sets on Kata Tjuṯa, you can watch the rocks glow and change colour with the surrounding landscape, leaving you with a view and memory you won't forget any time soon.

DAY ONE: NIGHT

A road trip, some walking, and a breathtaking sunset will leave you feeling some kind of way — grateful, but yes, also hungry.

The Uluṟu resort has a number of places to dine, but we decided to hit up The Outback BBQ & Bar, where you have the options of ordering the usual pub grub from the bar/cafe area, or selecting your own meats and cooking up a storm. The Outback also serves alcohol, has live music every night, and outdoor heaters to keep you toasty warm on the cooler nights.

If you select the BBQ option, you have a variety of options for meat or fish to cook up a storm with, including steaks, kangaroo, emu sausages, and barramundi, which are served with side dishes including a salad bar and jacket potatoes. If you don't want to drive there and indulge in a couple of reds, there's also a shuttle that departs every 20 minutes which will drop you back to your accommodation.

DAY TWO: EARLY MORNING

While I'm more a sunset girlie myself, it's a bucket list moment to be able to watch the sunrise over the glorious Uluṟu, with the colours so crisp and the view so breathtaking it almost feels like something out of a movie.

We got picked up by the Sunrise Siet Tour team, where our friendly guide Ben filled us in on the history of Uluṟu, the local Aṉangu, and the special meaning Uluṟu, Kata Tjuṯa, and Artilla have to the native owners of the land.

The sun rising over Uluru. Photo: Instagram.com/exploreuluru
The sun rising over Uluru. Photo: Instagram.com/exploreuluru

As we watched the sun rise over Uluṟu, Sunrise Siet Tours provided coffee and a light breakfast (including some delicious banana bread!) before we hopped back on the bus to take in Uluṟu in all its glory on one of the walking tracks.

DAY TWO: AFTERNOON

If you're looking for a more relaxed afternoon after your sunrise viewing and treks, take a stroll around the Resort Town Square or head over to the Mulgara gallery which will give you a rare and unique window

DAY TWO: EVENING

The Wintjiri Wiṟu drone show is a must-see when visiting the red centre — to put it simply, it might be the most spectacular thing you've ever seen. Wintjiri Wiṟu means the 'beautiful view out to the horizon' in the native Pitjantjatjara language and the breathtaking show tells the ancestral story of the Mala through choreographed drones, lasers and projections that illuminate the night sky.

The Wintjiri Wiru is a show you'll never forget. Photo: Supplied
The Wintjiri Wiṟu is a show you'll never forget. Photo: Supplied

It's a way to appreciate and learn about a culture thousands of years old, with a picturesque background and show you won't forget any time soon. And hot tip, if you do the dinner and drinks package, your glass will never be empty and the food celebrates a whole lot of native delicacies and flavours: from mini crocodile pies, to cured emu and kangaroo meats.

There's honestly still so much to take in that 48 hours may not even be enough time — you can also do guided cycle tours around Uluṟu, visit the Field of Light, and Bush Food experiences to name a few!

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And if you're staying at Sails, they do a delicious buffet breakfast every morning for an extra cost — but with all the savoury and sweet goodies you could ever want, so I highly recommend it!

Yahoo Lifestyle was the guest of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia and the organisation's product partners.

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