Written by: Dian
Leaving for Uluru (Ayers Rock)
After two nights, our stay at Kings Canyon Resort was coming to an end! We had a 4+ hour drive ahead of us so we had to pack up and hit the roads by late morning. We were going to miss having such a spacious room to ourselves, we figured we would probably have roomies at Uluru.
Settling our Accommodation
Remember the tent problem from Day 3? After thanking our lucky stars that we got a complimentary upgrade, we had to use a phone booth to book rooms at our remaining two stops, Yulara (the service village for Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park) and Stuarts Well Roadhouse (a roadhouse along the highway which would take us back to Alice Springs). Had to make sure we had proper shelter for the remaining nights!
We had to pay 150 AUD more than we originally intended for accommodation, but we didn’t really have a choice. Still not really happy about how the rental company handled our faulty tent. It felt like they were trying to taichi responsibility by saying they couldn’t do anything since the camping stuff was complimentary… which I don’t buy, given that people would naturally plan their trips around the gear they get with their car.
But, well, at least we saved 100 AUD thanks to the kind people at Kings Canyon Resort. Going to leave them a good review for sure.
So at Yulara, we would be staying in a dorm room as well. Given how touristy Yulara is, there was a high chance we’d have to share a room with other people.
But first… we had to make sure we had a full tank. Fuel prices at Kings Canyon are a rip off – they are the MOST expensive in the Red Centre. You can expect to pay ~1.20 AUD per litre at Alice Springs, but here, it’s easily close to ~2 AUD per litre.
99 AUD to make it a full tank (From slightly under half a tank). Oh well.
And with that, we dropped off our room keys, passed a little token to the lady at reception and went on our way!
We eventually reached our first pit stop, Mount Conner. Locals like to call it Fooluru because many tourists mistaken it for Uluru.
It’s flatter on the top and sides though, surely you would be able to tell the difference..?
Next up on the road to Yulara was Curtin Springs!
It’s a quaint little roadhouse. We decided to have a look around.
They had their own aviary, so we went around looking at the birds and cockatoos.
I grew up with a cockatoo at my grandparents’ place so I am quite fond of them. Such intelligent creatures!
Fancy some souveneirs? Maybe outback sand, salt or even shit? e_e
Arriving at Yulara
After another hour of driving (we really didn’t walk around much that day, felt like a sloth), Uluru aka Ayers Rock came into view in the distance! It really is magnificent, and the fact that we could even see it that far away was a testament to its sheer size.
Eventually, we arrived at Yulara and checked in to our dorm room at Outback Pioneer Lodge!
We noticed that there were definitely more tourists in Yulara – a far cry from the emptier places we’d been to so far.
There was a couple already checked in. It was a very basic dorm, but they can afford to charge more for it because it’s Yulara. We paid ~50 AUD each per night.
It was too early for dinner, so we took a shuttle bus down to the nearby town centre and supermarket. It dawned upon us just how touristy it was when we a bunch of middle-aged Japanese ladies boarded the shuttle. But eh, we’re tourists too, so there’s that.
Not much in the area aside from souvenir shops and a cafe, so we got our extra groceries from the supermarket and headed off!
One good thing about the Outback Pioneer Lodge was the shared pantry. It was big, clean, and had lots of kitchenware we could use.
For dinner, it was hobo dining again but with an upgrade – mess tin cooking! Cocktail sausages, canned beef stew, instant noodles, and mac & cheese (my choice, hehe). Cheap and good.
A Cloudy Uluru Sunset
After dinner, we headed off to a sunset lookout where you could see Uluru. It was a short 3 minute drive away. Sadly, it was cloudy, so there wasn’t much of a sunset to see 😦
So when the sunset was over, we started walking back to the carpark. To our surprise, a couple of people chatted us up, asking us “How was it?”. We thought it was really nice that they would randomly chat with tourists like us that way. Pleasantly surprised that Australians can be such a friendly bunch 🙂
We didn’t get the sunset we wanted, but no matter – we would get an even closer look at Kata Tjuta and Uluru when hiking on Day 6 !