With longer days, cool evenings and less tourists, the warmer months are perfect for a summer holiday in Uluru/ the Red Centre.
When you first see the red desert sands and ancient landscapes of the Red Centre, you’ll most likely want to take a deep breath (and a photo). The vastness of the sky, the rugged nature of the land and the richness of the local Anangu culture create an experience that is unique to this part of Australia. While most tourists already know that Ayers Rock Resort is the place to be, and flock here during the cooler months, insiders know that it’s actually Uluru in summer that shines the brightest.
Not only are there fewer crowds and shorter queues, but the days are also longer, so you can fit in much more exploring.
Marvel at Uluru sunsets. (Image: Bronte Stephens)
Ayers Rock Resort at Uluru, run by Voyages Indigenous Tourism, not only offers an incredible range of accommodation, resort facilities and tours, but they also focus on recruiting, training, and employing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders throughout their business. So, your holiday will actually support and give back to local communities. It’s a win-win situation.
1. You might see waterfalls on Uluru
While the desert is generally quite dry, Australia’s Red Centre does experience occasional rain and rain clouds over the summer months. When this happens, water rushes down the sides of Uluru, creating temporary waterways, falls and ponds at its base. By visiting in these warmer months, you could be one of the very few people to see Uluru in the wet, with the mysterious waterfalls gracing its vertical crevasses. Bring a raincoat and your camera to capture the beauty of this natural phenomenon.
The best tour to experience this on is the popular Desert Awakenings, which begins pre-dawn under the stars, where you can watch as the sky lightens and the rock changes colour. Then you can explore part of Uluru’s base on the famous Mala Walk.
Explore part of Uluru’s base on the Mala Walk. (Image: Tourism Australia)
2. Red Centre sunsets are even more beautiful
Sunsets over Uluru are some of the best in the world. Not only does the red desert create a brilliantly hued backdrop as the sun retires, but the shadows and ridges of Uluru dance gently in the evening light. The summer months bring the added attraction of clouds and misty skies.
As the evening begins, the clouds reflect vibrant colours from the setting sun, creating a vision of Uluru that is rarely seen. Watch this colour explosion on the spectacular Wintijiri Wiru tour, where you’ll enjoy a glass of Australian wine, cheese and sweets as twilight sets in and fills the sky. Then enjoy an impressive sound and light show explaining part of the ancestral Mala story with choreographed drones, lasers, and projections. It’s otherworldly and immersive.
Stare in awe at the Wintijiri Wiru light show in Uluru.
3. Relax in the Ayers Rock Resort pool
The extensive Ayers Rock Resort offers up to six kinds of accommodation to suit literally everyone, from the five-star Sails in the Desert and family-friendly Emu Walk Apartments to the fully equipped Ayers Rock Campground, depending on your budget and needs.
Each accommodation option offers access to the resort shops, supermarket, shops, tour information and most importantly in these summer months, access to a swimming pool. Time your sightseeing for early mornings and evenings, and during the day relax in comfort by the water, taking a quick dip whenever you feel hot. When you’re hungry, try one of the resort’s restaurants, bars, and cafes – there are over 10.
4. Get artistic with Maruku Arts
There is nothing like fields of desert wildflowers, ancient landscapes and expansive skies to get your creative juices flowing. To explore your creativity, sign up for the family-focused paint-your-own Australian Animal workshop, which is held four times a week at Sails in the Desert Hotel.
Then visit the newly opened Gallery of Central Australia (GOCA), which offers curated exhibitions of emerging and established local artists in a modern, air-conditioned space. Authentic art pieces are available for purchase, supporting local communities and artists. To see the work of more local artists and purchase directly from the community, visit the cultural centre at Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, where you’ll find Walkatijara Art Gallery and Maruku Arts, both not-for-profit art corporations owned by the Anangu community. Try your hand at painting in the local style with Dot-painting Experience run by a local Anangu artist, and create a piece to take home.
Join Ayers Rock Resort to get artistic with Maruku Arts. (Image: Archie Sartracom)
5. Uluru night activities come alive
With such long days and higher temperatures, it’s not surprising that the evenings in summer are where the action is. As the desert cools off, the sunset closes out and the stars appear, Uluru has a range of incredible experiences to fill your nights.
To fully understand the night sky, join the one-hour Astro Tour, which is free for children under 15. This short but impactful tour starts with a guide explaining the universe, including how stars are formed and the Big Bang Theory, and finishes with viewings through powerful telescopes.
Join the Astro Tour to understand the night sky. (Image: Shaana McNaught)
Stop by the iconic Field of Light to see the desert landscape become a silhouette then pulse gently with colour from this artwork by artist Bruce Munro which covers the space of over seven football fields.
For something a little longer, the legendary Sounds of Silence, which has been entered into the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame, is a magical, four-hour experience starting with canapes and champagne on a dune overlooking Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park. Then a bush tucker-inspired menu is served up as you dine under the stars.
Stop by the iconic Field of Light. (Image: Tourism Australia)
During dinner, learn how to decode the southern night sky, including the Milky Way, planets, and signs of the zodiac. Eat your dessert as the cool evening air chills the desert around you, leaving you refreshed for another day of sightseeing tomorrow.
Book into the legendary Sounds of Silence. (Image: Helen Orr)
Book your summer getaway to the Red Centre at ayersrockresort.com.au.