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Ayers Rock/Uluru Airport, Northern Territory, Australia

How to get to Uluru from anywhere in Australia

Uluru is not a really a location that you would stop at on your way between one place and another – it’s a destination of itself.

Located in what can only be described as the middle of nowhere and surrounded by desert on all sides, this outback attraction is far from easy to access. But that’s what makes it a little bit special – the remoteness of this UNESCO world heritage site means that everyone who is visiting went out of their way just to lay eyes on it.

My husband, who visited Uluru as a child, said that at the time he considered Uluru to be ‘just a big rock in the desert’. Despite living in Australia for 34 years, I had never made the trip inwards to the Red Centre of my country. It was finally time, I decided, to pack a weekend bag and take a trip to see whether this desert rock was all it was hyped up to be.

I booked a flight directly to Uluru, which turned out to be a great way to visit this outback spot on a quick trip, but there are a number of ways that you can access this Aussie icon including flights, driving, bus transfers, or by tour. For a longer trip, it might be better to choose one of the other travel options.

If you’d like to see this monolithic stone protruding from the desert landscape, here’s how to get to Uluru from anywhere in Australia!


Ayers Rock/Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia

Where is Uluru?

Uluru (otherwise known as Ayers Rock) is known as the heart of Australia, due to its location smack-bang in the middle of the country. It sits at the southern end of the Northern Territory, in an area sometimes referred to as the Red Centre. The vibrant colours of the dirt and rocks at Uluru are a distinguishing feature.

Driving to Uluru, map of Australia

Driving to Uluru:

The closest city to Uluru is Alice Springs, which is about 4-5 hours drive from Uluru. Many tourists will choose to drive from Alice Springs to Uluru over a few days, as you can do a loop and see Kings Canyon and the West MacDonell Ranges along the way.

Driving to Uluru is also possible from Adelaide and Darwin, which are the two closest state capitals. The driving time from Adelaide is about 16-17 hours, and Darwin is about 19-20 hours, so these are both long drives that should be broken up into a few days. One popular driving option is to start from the north or south end (so you could start at the south in Adelaide) then drive all the way to the other end (Darwin), stopping in Uluru along the way.

It is possible to drive to Uluru from other capital cities, but the driving time stretches out even longer, so unless you’re doing a multi-month caravan or camping trip, it’s probably better to fly somewhere closer to Uluru.

Car rental in Uluru:

If you will be flying into Uluru Airport, you’ll need to consider how to get from the airport to the rock and to your accommodation in the area. I considered renting a car from Uluru Airport for my 2 days in the Red Centre, but ultimately decided that it was too expensive and booked the Hop On Hop Off Bus instead. If you’re dead set on renting a vehicle, Avis or Thrifty both have a small depot at Cornnellan Airport.

Bus transfers to Uluru:

If you’ll be travelling to Uluru from Alice Springs, you can grab a coach transfer from Alice Springs to Uluru. This is a great option if you want someone else manage the long drive while you have a nap and watch the desert go by through the window.

Ayers Rock/Uluru Airport, Northern Territory, Australia

Flights to Uluru:

Flying into Uluru is a viable option for those of you who just want to see the monument in a quick trip (like I did) and don’t want to mess around with driving long distances.

Uluru has it’s own airport, so you can either fly directly to Uluru, or fly to Alice Springs and then drive to Uluru.

Uluru flights, map of Australia

Uluru Airport (AYQ) flights:

Uluru’s airport (Cornnellan Airport) is located just outside the town of Yulara. Passenger flights to Uluru come in from Australia’s major airlines from a handful of domestic destinations. Please note that many of these flights area seasonal – some will only operate during the peak season for visiting Uluru during the Australian winter. I flew direct from Sydney to Uluru with Qantas in April (which is outside of peak season), with the flight taking about 3 hours each way.

  • From Sydney (SYD): Qantas
  • From Cairns (CNS): Qantas (seasonal)
  • From Melbourne (MEL): Virgin or Jetstar (seasonal)
  • From Brisbane (BNE): Virgin (seasonal)
Alice Springs flights, map of Australia

Alice Springs flights:

If you want to see a little more of the Red Centre, many people will choose to fly into Alice Springs instead of Uluru and spend a few days travelling around the region. The airport at Alice Springs receives direct flights from six destinations around Australia.

  • From Darwin (DRW): Qantas
  • From Adelaide (ADL): Qantas or Virgin
  • From Melbourne (MEL): Qantas or Virgin
  • From Sydney (SYD): Qantas or Virgin
  • From Brisbane (BNE): Qantas or Virgin
  • From Cairns (CNS): Virgin
Sunset over Ayers Rock/Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia

Tours to Uluru:

Uluru day tours from Yulara:

If you don’t wish to rent a car at Uluru, it is entirely possible to see the sights via guided tour. If you’re staying at any of the Ayers Rock Resort hotels, tours will usually depart from the accommodation to visit the local landmarks in a half day or full day.

Uluru extended tours from Alice Springs:

A few travel companies offer tours that depart from Alice Springs for an extended trip (usually 3-6 days) to Uluru.

Group tours around Australia including Uluru:

If you’re planning to do a big trip around Australia and are thinking of booking a group tour, then you should find it fairly easy to find a tour operator with an itinerary that includes a visit to Uluru.

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