Our Journey to Australia Part III: The Australian Outback and Uluru

To get caught up on our entire journey, you can find all parts of our Australia adventure below!

Our Journey to Australia Part I: The Park Hyatt Sydney for Families

Our Journey to Australia Part II: Sydney with Kids!

Our Journey to Australia Part III: The Australian Outback and Uluru

Our Journey to Australia Part IV: Adventures in Cairns!

Our Journey to Australia Part V: Hamilton Island

 

After taking advantage of our last amazing breakfast at the Park Hyatt, we were off to the airport for our three(ish) hour ride to the Australian outback. We debated whether or not to include Uluru in our Australian adventure during the planning stages but decided to take the trip out for a couple of reasons. One was to view first hand one of the many different climates and topography of Australia. Another reason was to appreciate all that we’ve read and learned about Uluru and the aboriginals that view the “rock” as sacred. And lastly, in our research, Uluru was considered a highlight by many on the Adventures by Disney tour.

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Look Carefully… That’s the Rock in the Distance!

In retrospect, while I am thrilled that we went and saw such beauty, I’m not sure it was worth a two day visit. We stayed at Sails in the Desert which is the “5-Star” hotel within the Ayers Rock Resort compound. While we knew not to expect 5-Star like the Park Hyatt, I’m pretty sure I’d be hard pressed to even call it 3-Star. And we paid a pretty penny to stay there (the $241.60 per night we paid was actually quite discounted due to an Expedia deal), so one night would have probably been fine.

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Was Nice Enough… But Certainly Not 5-Star!

Upon arrival into AYQ, we collected our bags, picked up our rental car, and made our way to the hotel. It is just a short ride and the resort provides a free shuttle to and from the airport, but you have to pay to take the bus from the resort to Uluru and surrounding locales. And given that we were a party of 10, it made more sense to just rent a car instead of paying the bus fare.

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While we had big plans for our time in Ayers Rock, we ended up not doing as much as we thought we would. And there is one main reason for that. Flies. Lots of flies. At the resort, they weren’t terrible and we were able to spend time lounging or swimming without being affected, but they were pretty bad elsewhere, especially when we went to view Kata Tjuta at sunset. They were bad enough that we had to enjoy sunset from inside the car. Sunset at Uluru wasn’t too bad in the fly category, and it really was an amazing experience to see such a beautiful sunset. A few of us adults had planned to do a Sounds of Silence dinner (at a whopping $195AUD per person, gulp) but we ultimately decided that we didn’t want to take the chance that it would be ruined by flies.

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Kata Tjuta Sunset from Our Rental Car

So, our time in the outback consisted of lounging in the shade (in the sun it was around 100 degrees), the kids swam (some of the pool was shaded, but not much), and going to see Uluru for one sunset and Kata Tjuta for the other. One night we did lie under the stars and identified familiar and not so familiar constellations. But given the light pollution from the hotel, we didn’t see as much as we’re used to seeing on a beautiful Maine’s summer night.

Uluru (or Ayer’s Rock) has it’s place on many Australian itineraries for a reason. The rock itself is impressive and the surrounding desert is beautiful in it’s own right. But be prepared for the excessive cost to view such beauty without the accompanying service or luxury comforts.

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Uluru and Us at Sunset

If we ever do make it back to Australia in the future, we’ll likely not make another trip to Uluru. It was a wonderful once in a lifetime experience, but we’d likely spend more time in the Australia locales that we enjoyed more, including Cairns, where we headed next.

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