Uluru and Kata Tjuta
The Red Centre’s spiritual heart Uluru (Ayers Rock) is one of the world’s most recognisable natural icons – a towering sentinel rising proudly from the red earth.
No matter how many photographs you’ve seen, nothing does this majestic rock justice.
See it on a motorcycle, from the back of a camel or from above on a scenic helicopter flight. Walk around the mysterious red domes of Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), sacred under Tjukurpa law, the foundation of Anangu culture.
Alice Springs is the gateway to the Red Centre – but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s close to Uluru, it’s a five-hour drive away so if you want to fly directly to Uluru, book your flights to Ayers Rock Airport in Yulara.
But that doesn’t mean Alice Springs isn’t worth a visit, it’s the outback’s most exciting town.
East & West MacDonnell Ranges
Another mistake many people make is assuming the Red Centre is flat and featureless.
The MacDonnell Ranges that stretch out to the east and west of Alice Springs are home to some of Central Australia’s most spectacular scenery, including some truly amazing waterholes and hidden gorges. A real highlight is swimming in the gorges of the West Macs – must-dip spots include Ellery Creek Big Hole and Ormiston Gorge. The East Macs are far less travelled but have equally appealing waterholes and even mining ghost towns.
Uluru is far from the only wondrous site in this region.
To the north-east, the mighty Kings Canyon cleaves deep into the earth, Australia’s very own Grand Canyon. Trek to the rim for views across the bluffs and gorges of Watarrka National Park.