We’ve laid out everything you need to know about camping near Uluru: from the best time to go to choosing the right campsite for you.
When planning a trip out to Uluru, it won’t take long for the costs to add up. So why not try and save some money, and get in some quality Mother Nature time, with a camping trip out in the outback?
Uluru camping grounds
Ayers Rock Resort Campground
This is the closest campground to the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park where you can set up your tent or caravan at its powered and unpowered sites. While prices for this might seem more than your average campsite for the level of facilities (from around $43 for an unpowered site), it is a pretty good deal when you consider the other options nearby.
Ayers Rock Campground is the closest to Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. (Image: Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia)
Facilities include a swimming pool, communal barbecue facilities for a morning fry-up, a self-service laundry and an outdoor kitchen. While you’re not staying at one of the more plush options of Ayers Rock Resort, you still have access to their suite of free programs.
Are fears of wildlife driving you from packing a tent? Book a berth in one of their mixed four-bed dormitories, or level up with one of the family cabins. This may also be a good option when camping in winter, where temperatures can drop below zero degrees celsius at night, or in summer when they rise significantly. Dogs are welcome at the campsite.
Glamping at Uluru
Picture yourself sinking into a private plunge pool, a glass of bubbly in hand as you take in your private views of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta. That is just 15 seconds of the days of luxury you could be having at one of Australia’s best glamping spots, Longitude 131º. With past guests that have included the Prince and Princess of Wales, the resort is made up of 16 pavilion tents, including the uber-luxurious Dune Pavillion.
Take a dip in your private plunge pool at Longitude 131. (Image: Tourism NT/Julian Kingma)
Wonderful touches include your own rain shower, speaker system, access to the Spa Kinara and a suite of exclusive experiences. But the star of the show? The glowing Uluru, which you can watch from the daybed of your private deck, as the campfire crackles away.
See the glow of Uluru from your luxury pavilion tent at Longitude 131. (Image: Tourism NT/George Apostolidis)
But how much does it cost to live in the lap of luxury, even just for a few days? This Luxury Lodges of Australia-affiliated property is from approximately $1500 a night for a twin share, although this includes all food, Champagne, wine and spirits, as well as signature experiences and airport transfers.
Food and alcohol are included in the cost. (Image: Tourism NT/George Apostolidis)
Free camping near Uluru
Curtin Springs Wayside Inn
The closest thing to free camping can be found around 100 kilometres away from the monolith, at the Curtin Springs Wayside Inn. This roadside inn-meets-working cattle farm-meets-paper mill-meets-campsite is an experience in local outback hospitality. It has facilities such as its homestyle restaurant, coin laundry, walking tours across the nearby salt lake, and tours of the local paper mill, Curtin Springs Paper.
Curtin Springs Wayside Inn offers free unpowered sites, but you’ll be a fair distance from Uluru.(Image: Tourism Australia/Global Headquarters)
But the real highlight for budget-weary travellers is that it offers free unpowered campsites and relatively cheap powered sites. Powered sites can — and should — be booked in advance as they are swiped up quickly, but booking in advance for unpowered sites is not available. Barbecues are available. And the water situation? A $4 per person per shower charge applies and it costs $10 to fill up your tank. Black water cannot be dumped, and an onsite store sells petrol and food.
The serenity is momentarily interrupted by the birdlife. (Image: Tourism Australia/Global Headquarters)
Camping tips for Uluru
Can I camp on the roadside on the way to Uluru?
While some hikers may do it, it is illegal to camp on the side of highways on your way to or out of Uluru. You can only camp in structured, specially set up campsites.
It may be tempting to camp on the roadside but it is actually illegal to do so.
When is the best time to camp at Uluru?
If you are taking the DIY route, and aren’t glamping, autumn and spring are generally considered the better times to camp in the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. The days don’t reach the scorching highs of the summer — making the tent all that much more bearable — and you won’t have to load up on thermals that you will probably need in winter.
Can I bring my dog?
Pets are not allowed in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park itself. Do not leave the dog on its own when you go out exploring for the day, but ask around to find out what dog-sitting options there are available.
Can I light a campfire at Ayers Rock Campground?
You can only light a fire at the Ayers Rock Resort campground if it is winter and in the absence of a fire ban. Plan ahead and bring firewood (you must not gather wood in the park nearby, or, heaven forbid, chop down trees), and a firepit that raises it off the ground.
Are there snakes in Uluru?
Yes, there are snakes in Uluru. But don’t panic just yet! While there are 13 species in total, five are either non-venomous or blind. Of the remaining venomous eight, only three are considered dangerous: the Western Brown, the Desert Death Adder and the liru or King Brown or Mulga snake.
While this last one is the most venomous, like when staying on the right side of many of Australia’s snakes it’s all about keeping an eye out and keeping clear if you spot one.