Ayers Rock Resort is 14 miles from Ayers Rock and was built to accommodate the ever increasing number of visitors. Hotels, restaurants, two lodges, apartments, shops, a bank, post office and campsites are available. Daily tours to Ayers Rock, the nearby Olga Rocks (the Aboriginal call them Kata Tjuta, meaning “many-headed”) and other attractions are available. See other countries in Oceania on programingplease.
Ayers Rock has its own airport. Flights to Alice Springs allow onward flights to Sydney and other cities. Vehicles can be rented. All major coach companies travel to Ayers Rock daily.
Other attractions in the Red Center are the Aboriginal settlements in Pitjantjatjara. Horses and log cabins give the atmosphere of the outback at the old farm Ross River Homestead.
Katherine Gorge/Nitmiluk National Park
The village of Katherine, about 310 km south-east of Darwin, is in the so-called “No Man’s Land”, the Never Never Land. This pioneering area was made famous by writer Aeneas Gunn ‘s book We of the Never Never. Here is the center of cattle breeding in the country. Old Elsey and Springvale mansionsremind of the first settlers and founders of the city. Katherine Gorge, 30 km northeast, is one of Australia’s greatest natural wonders. A breathtaking boat trip leads through the gorges, which are up to 100 m deep. Each of the 13 gorges has mesmerizing rock formations and sheer cliff faces over cool blue waters. Marked hiking trails lead through the most interesting parts of the park. Swimming, canoeing, boating and helicopter rides are all available. All kinds of accommodation, including campsites, are available in the village and in the national park.
Kakadu National Park
Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, this national park is east of Darwin and can be reached in 3 hours on the Arnhem Highway. The park also includes the flood plains between the Wildman and Alligator Rivers, which flow to Van Diemen Gulf to the north. On the Arnhem Land Escarpment at the edge of the park, one can admire the magnificent Jim Jim and Twin Falls cascading down sheer cliff faces into crystal clear rock pools. The rocky areas of Ubirr (Obiri Rock) and Nourlangie Rock contain Aboriginal rock art dating back over 20,000 years.
There are three hotels and a few campsites in the park area, which serve as starting points for excursions into this unique environment. Fishing is excellent in countless rivers and billabongs (“waterholes”), but fishing requires a permit. Barramundi is a very special delicacy. 260 different species of birds live in the alluvial plain. Thousands of birds and wildlife can be seen year round. Flights over this area as well as fishing trips are offered daily. Boat trips on the South Alligator River and the scenic Yellow Waters, an inland lagoon, are popular. Kakadu National Park is home to all of northern Australia’s wildlife and visitors to the Top End an exciting destination. Tours and safaris ranging from 1 to 30 days by air, coach or 4×4 are available in Darwin.
Alice Springs is in the geographic center of Australia. Surrounded by the red desert, the city is a popular vacation spot and a base for outback excursions. Sports such as golf, tennis, ballooning and skydiving for two are offered.
The Royal Flying Doctors Headquarters can be visited every day except Sundays and Public Holidays. The radio school (School of the Air), whose students take part in lessons at home via radio equipment, can be visited during school hours Mon-Fri 08.00-12.00. Museums and listed buildings provide a glimpse into the history of this remote town. Those are interesting tooDreamtime Gallery and Center for Aboriginal Artists and Craftsmen. The old telegraph station, 3 km north of the city, is a listed building. Original buildings, restored equipment and an exhibition of old photographs, newspapers and documents give an insight into the pioneering days.
Alice Springs is also accessible from Ayers Rock (450 km or 5 hours drive), the world’s largest monolith, which plays an important role in Aboriginal mythology. Ayers Rock is known as “Uluru” in the Aboriginal language and is said to have been built by their ancestors. Visitors are allowed to climb the giant rock and explore the caves at the bottom. Sunrises and sunsets at Uluru / Ayers Rock are unique. The sun’s rays change the color of the rock from orange to deep red to the deepest purple. Entering the Uluru/Ayers Rock Sanctuary is prohibited for tourists.
Australian Aboriginal Land Areas and Places of Worship:
There are several legally protected sites that are of particular importance to the Aborigines. Unauthorized entry and damage to the sanctuaries are subject to heavy fines. Written permission is required to enter certain Aboriginal land areas. This is not issued lightly and is not intended for tourists. Some sites of historical importance to Aboriginal people are open to the public – such as Ayers Rock and Corroboree Rock near Alice Springs, and Ubirr (Obiri) Rock in Kakadu National Park (see below). A viewing platform was built at Ayers Rock, from which up to 3000 visitors can enjoy the sunrise and a previously unknown view of the outback. Aboriginal guided tours are also available. Further information as well as maps and application forms for permits from the tourist office (see addresses ).
Surroundings of Alice Springs
In the mountain ranges of the MacDonnell Ranges, to the west and east of Alice Springs, you will find colorful rock walls, impressive gorges and cool pools in the valleys: Standley Chasm is 57 km west of Alice Springs, Glen Helen Gorge 140 km west, Ormiston Gorge 130 km west and N’Dhala Gorge (with ancient rock carvings) 96 km east of town. About 400 km north of Alice Springs are the Devil’s Marbles, granite rocks eroded into round blocks. The Aborigines believe these to be the eggs of a legendary rainbow snake. Palm Valley is an hour and a half drive to the southwest of Alice Springs and Rainbow Valley to the southeast at the foothills of the Simpson Desert. Anzac Hill, just outside Alice Springs, offers good views of the city and surrounding area. The new road link Mereenie Loop Road runs from Glen Helen to Kings Canyon. A vehicle with four-wheel drive is a must for this. A permit must be obtained to use the Loop Road. This is available in Alice Springs from the Central Australian Visitor Center (corner of Hartley Street and Gregory Terrace). Kings Canyon, the largest gorge in Australia, can be reached in just under 3 hours by car from Alice Springs. Three paths of different levels of difficulty lead up. Château Hornsby, the state’s only wine region, is about 15 km from the city centre. In the Alice Springs area, barbecues are popular, also known as “outback nights”. With a bit of luck you can see the Aboriginal Corroborees. Camel rides in the area are possible.