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Uluru & Kata Tjuta: Free Camping and Tips for Backpackers

Uluru, despite located in the middle of the Australian outback, is a popular tourist destination - especially for backpackers traveling by car. We tell you everything we know about it.

The Uluru National Park should definitely be part of an Australian trip. It is probably one of the most impressive things you will see on the continent. We have visited the park on a road trip and would like to share everything we have learned.

Entrance Fee

It is very easy to smuggle people into the park when going there with a van, where you cannot see into the back. One or two people can hide in the back and they won’t be charged the entrance fee. We did it and worked like a charm.

At night you have to leave the park, even if you want to stay longer than a day. However, this procedure is easy to repeat: Just drive to the entrance, show the valid ticket and you’re all good to go. 3 days are more than enough for the park. With 2 full days, you can do it too – 1 is probably too little.

Uluru (Ayers Rock)

We had a long discussion on the way there whether to climb the Uluru or not. The government of Australia made this much easier, because since October 2019 it is no more allowed to climb the rock.

READ MORE: All our backpacking trips for Australia.

The ascent of the stone is against Aboriginal beliefs. For the natives, it is a sacred site. In honor of this, the official name of Ayers Rock has also been changed to Uluru, in the language of the Aborigines.

I can tell you that the view up there is not that spectacular, so you are not missing out.

Walk around Uluru

You can walk approximately 10km around the monolith. You can see the forms of the Ulurus from all sides – a truly unique experience. Highly recommended, even for inexperienced hikers (except for the extreme heat depending on the year and time of day)!

Sunset and sunrise at Uluru

What you definitely should not miss, are the sunsets and sunrises at Uluru. At this time, the Uluru turns in a reddish tone in the special light of the sun. An absolute must!

Kata Tjuta

In the same Uluru National Park is also Kata Tjuta – Mount Olgas. The Olgas are a rock formation that also are very unique. There you can climb through the rocks. For a proper hike, these rocks are certainly more recommendable than the Uluru itself, although not so impressive at first glance.

In the park, as anywhere in Australia, there are Pic-Nic tables everywhere where you can cook or have breakfast.

Free Camping in at Uluru

If you leave the Uluru or the Mount Olgas and want to go back to the Stuart Highway, the first gas station (left side) offers free camping. However, to camp therefore free you need to travel a long way back.

At this gas station, you can shower for a fee. Anyways, there are plenty of rest areas along Stuart Highway, you can choose whichever comes handy.

What you can also do to stay overnight for free: Just leave the car somewhere besides the road at night, because you should get up the day before dawn to see the sunrise. On the left about 10km after the entrance/exit of the national park, there is an unpaved road where you can leave the van.

There are probably more spots like that, we used that one – it is indicated on the map as well!

One last thing you need to remember: The water is not really drinkable on the Stuart Highway. Showers are usually not available. Drinking water when traveling to the outback must be taken along. It is highly recommended to take your water, because the “drinking water” at Uluru you can only drink with great effort, it tastes bad! And drinking is important in these areas!

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