Uluru is home to the Anangu, the traditional owners of the land, and is one of Australia’s most precious destinations. It is impossible not to feel the beauty and spiritual significance of this special place.
Tying to work out what to pack can feel just as unique, but this time not in a good way. What are you supposed to wear when a high-end dinner involves tramping through the red dust at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park? Or just in a desert at night, generally?
Read on to discover what to pack (and what you should definitely leave at home).
#1 Something to take photos
Obviously. However, there’s no need to invest in fancy gear. You’ll see plenty of high-end cameras at Uluru but, unless you’re seriously into photography, it’s more rewarding to snap a few photos on your phone then soak up every minute of that glorious view.
#2 Clothes you can layer
Feeling too hot or too cold can spoil your day (or night). If you’re not sure what to wear, dress for the warmest part of the day and bring extra layers you can put on and peel off.
#3 A jacket, even in summer
Speaking of which, bring a sweater for sunset and sunrise tours, even when the days are hot. A warm jacket, beanie, gloves and scarf are a must if you’re visiting during the cooler months — it’s not unusual for temperatures to dip below zero in winter. Old track pants are fine for early morning tours, there’s no judgement (as long as you keep the pics away from Instagram).
#4 Warm socks
Whenever you’re planning to visit, bring warm socks to wear in the early morning and when the sun goes down. Temperatures drop significantly at these times and the ground is where the air is the coldest. Your feet can get uncomfortably chilly in thin socks, even in summer.
#5 Pale colours (but nothing white)
Pale coloured shirts will help keep you cool, but leave any white clothes and shoes at home. The red dirt gets into everything and sunscreen makes white t-shirt necklines turn yellow. Both the dirt and the sunscreen are virtually impossible to remove when you get home — trust me, I tried.
#6 Smart casual equals fancy
Don’t dress to match the hefty price tag for high-end Uluru dining experiences like Sounds of Silence or Tali Wiru. You’ll be eating in the great outdoors so a pair of jeans or trousers and a smart blouse or shirt is all you need to look and feel fabulous at these events.
#7 Wide-brimmed hat
Shade wins over glamour every time. Even if you usually wear caps, it’s worth investing in a wide brimmed hat so your neck and ears don’t get sunburnt. A fabric one that can be crammed into a backpack is best as you don’t need to carry it when the sun goes down.
#8 A Backpack
Switch your handbag or satchel for a backpack while you’re at Uluru. It’s more comfortable for walking and has plenty of room to hold your stuff, including all the water you’ll need.
#9 Refillable water bottle
Carry water at all times as it’s easy to dehydrate, even if you’re just walking around the Yulara township where the hotels and shops are located. Water fountains are available at most car parks in and around the National Park so fill your bottle before any walks.
#10 A Park pass
Unless you’re visiting Uluru before 31 March 2021 when entry is free, you’ll need to purchase a park pass before you can enter Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This includes any tours you’re booked on — no pass, no tour.
Avoid the queues at Uluru and purchase your pass online (here) before you leave home. It’s $38 for a three-day pass. Print it out or save it to your phone for scanning at the park.
Packing a pair of swimmers might seem strange when you’re heading to the desert but you’ll be glad you did. Each hotel has access to a swimming pool and you’ll probably want to take advantage of it during the day, even in winter.
#12 Closed toe shoes
Bring shoes that cover your feet, or your toes could get cut by spinifex, nibbled by ants or barbecued in the sun. All on the same day. Sturdy joggers or hiking boots are perfect for walking around the National Park. Ballet flats or fashionable sneakers you don’t mind getting dirty work well for upmarket evening tours and dinners.
#13 Toiletries and other essentials
Don’t forget essentials like your toothbrush, toothpaste, band aids, and the like. This might seem obvious, but while you can buy most things at Uluru, everything is very expensive compared to home.
#14 Pack your own snacks
Along the same vein, you can save a lot of money by packing your own snacks. Personally, I feel like chocolate counts as an essential, but make your own choice.
Don’t forget sunscreen as it’s the most essential thing of all. Whether you usually wear it or not, lip balm with an SPF is a good idea and will stop your lips getting chapped.
#16 Something to keep you entertained
If you’re not out touring or dining at one of the restaurants in the evening, there’s little in the way of entertainment. Pack your iPad or tablet and load it up with movies, books or something else to pass the time when the sun goes down, as there’s not a lot of wi-fi outside Ayers Rock Resort.
(Lead Image: Tourism NT / Lola Hubner)