If you're thinking of visiting Uluru, then you may be interested in my list of 5 Top Tips when travelling to the Red Centre.
1. Buy a fly net hat
Seriously - this is the best $10 that you'll ever spend. Travelling in the 3 or 4 months following summer will bring you up close and personal to a gazillion flies! They're invasive and persuasive. They crawl into your eyes and up your nose and drive you absolutely bonkers. I got used to wearing my net hat all day long and, after a while, I stopped wanting to take it off, even when driving because those pesky flies follow you into the car too. I'd say that the use of the fly net hats are pretty much mandatory in the months from March to May. Don't stress if you forget to pack a fly net - they're available to buy absolutely everywhere. If you're travelling in winter, you'll be pleased to know that they don't like the cooler weather and move on fairly quickly.
2. Go to the Tour and Visitor Information Centre before you do anything else This is something that we are so very grateful that we did as soon as we got off the plane. Before we left home we had already researched the activities that we'd like to do, so we headed straight to the booking desks at the Visitor Centre in the Town Square. I'd advise that you have a plan before you head to Uluru and don't delay from booking your tours when arriving - you could miss out otherwise. We were surprised to discover that nearly every helicopter flight was booked for the next 3 days and that we had pretty much secured the last 2 seats on the Camel Express. And it wasn't even peak season yet! Big phew! We were so glad we didn't miss out on our experiences!
3. Get to the sunset viewing area early Our visit to Uluru was late April - just prior to the peak tourist season. I could not believe the huge number of cars that packed into the car sunset viewing area each night. Cars were double parked all through the lot and even overflowed out onto the road, which is normally a strict "no-stopping" zone. There was no choice for so many. No one wants to miss watching a sunset at the Rock. It's an iconic must do! My tip is to get to your spot very early - for 2 reasons. The main reason was to actually get a park and the other was that the extra time gave us an opportunity to chat with others who were also waiting for the sun to go down. We arrived at least an hour before sunset. People came in droves with tables, chairs, wine and cameras and there were others who set up camp kitchens and cooked dinner for their whole family. The atmosphere was wonderfully friendly. Everyone talked to everyone and we had some lovely chats with people from all over the world who were all there for the same reason as us - to see the magic of an Uluru sunset.
4. Book your car hire through Ayers Rock Resort to get unlimited kms When looking for a car to hire for our trip, I was shocked to see that the car hire companies have a 100km per day limit with excesses to be paid for going over the allowance. But, thank goodness, I found that if you book your car through Ayers Rock Resort, you'll get unlimited kilometres! Hooray! The application process can take a few days (ie more like 2 weeks), but we got approved for a hire car and it did exactly what we needed it to. All of the roads around Uluru and Kata Tjuta are sealed. Off-road driving is strictly prohibited. Our Mitsubishi Lancer was perfectly fine for our trip - a 4WD is not necessary for a visit into the national park.
5. Sit on the left-hand side of the plane We flew in from Melbourne and happily paid the extra dollars to secure window seats on the left-hand side of the plane. And, yes - it was worth it! We flew over country Victoria, the Murray River, Port Augusta, the Southern Flinders Ranges, Lake Eyre and then had a spectacular view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta when landing. On our flight home, we once again paid for our window seats - but this time on the right hand side of the plane. The plane takes off in the opposite direction (wind dependent) but then swings right around and offers the most beautiful views. We chose seats that were either as close to the front or the back of the plane as possible. This made our view (and photos) better without the wing obstructing our view.