Walks at Uluru – Everything you need to know

Today we share everything we learned about the many walks at Uluru so you can work out which of these you should try to fit into your time here. In short, as many as you can!

Uluru is home to the Anangu (pronounced arn-ung-oo), Aboriginal people. They are said to have been on this land for more than 20,000 years, and the best way to experience this spiritual place is to walk its paths, slowly taking it all in.

Please note: there are spots along the walk where photography is banned. These are clearly marked so please respect these sacred spaces.

Six Walks You Can Take In Uluru National Park

As we mention on our Uluru itinerary, we think it’s ideal if you visit the Cultural Centre the day you arrive, before you experience your first Uluru sunset.

Stop in at the information desk for maps and guides to all the walks we mention below and if you can make the times work to join one of the free guided walks to learn more about the culture and history of Uluru.

A walk around this iconic site is eye-opening. While it’s likely you have seen countless images of the monolith it’s not until you get up close that you realise the surface is not flat but rather honeycomb-like with lots of nooks and crannies each with their own Dreamtime stories.

Before you begin walking

There are a few things we recommend

  1. Wear a flynet or at the very least take insect repellant with you
  2. Do not wear white shoes or pants; don’t even pack them. The red dust will stain.
  3. Carry at least two litres of water per person for the base walk.
  4. Use the facilities when you see them, the only bathroom is near the Mala car park.
  5. Sunscreen and a hat is highly recommended.
  6. If you walk in winter and start early in the day, it can be freezing so dress appropriately
  7. Do not plan to be walking between 1.30pm and 6pm especially in summer

Keep reading for our tips on the best way to see Uluru from one of its many tracks and which will suit your schedule and ability.

There are six walks to choose from at Uluru, graded 1-3, something for every fitness level here. A few of the trails are wheelchair and pram accessible in dry weather.

Uluru was added to the UNESCO list in 1987 for its natural features and 1994 for its cultural importance.

Uluru Base Walk – Highly Recommended

This is the walk we choose for our first full day at Uluru. By walking right around the rock, you can appreciate the size and beauty. The trail is 10.6km, but there are a few detours to caves and waterholes that add a few extra kilometres. It took us about 3.5 hours.

Uluru Base Walk

Ideally, you begin this walk nice and early – we intended to but did not set off until just before 9.45am. Rangers at the information desk in the cultural centre suggested that at this time of day that it is best to start from Kuniya car park and walk anti-clockwise around the base.

If you want to see Uluru’s waterfalls schedule your visit in the wet season (January to March)

Tip: Take a lot of water, much more than you think you need. There are two taps along the way, but the water was not very tasty!

Water stains on uluru
These dark lines show where waterfalls run in the wet season

If unlike us you manage to walk just after sunrise it is recommended to start from the Mala car park.

Difficulty: Grade 3 – I am not sure why this is a grade 3 – it’s flat and easy if you avoid the heat, it must be based on distance because it is not challenging.
Distance: 10.6km
Time to complete: 3.5hrs
Best for: Everyone who has the time, seriously this is a brilliant walk.

Mala Walk

The Mala walk leads from Mala car park where the Uluru summit walk used to start to Kantju Gorge. While climbing is now banned the scars of years of foot traffic on the rock is still very visible. On this track, you see the North-West side of Uluru.  

Holy signs in Uluru

A free ranger-led walk leaves from here every morning at 8.00am (October-April), and 10.00am (May-Sept). If you can get along to this, it will add to your appreciation. The ranger gives an excellent insight into the meaning behind the art and the cultural traditions of the people who lived here.

Along with the rock art, Kulpi Nyiinkaku teaching cave is another highlight along the Mala walk.

One of the caves on the Mala walk

The Mala Walk is an easy flat walk with plenty of rewards, including less of a crowd. This walk is the best for viewing Aboriginal rock art.

This is an excellent place to watch the sunset, particularly in winter, keep an eye out for Kantju Gorge for some great rock and sky contrasts.

Difficulty: Grade 1
Distance: 2km
Time to complete: 90 minutes – the ranger guided walk takes 2hrs
Tip: There are toilets across the road about 300m away. There are no more until you return.

The Kuniya Walk to Mutitjulu Waterhole

If you find you have slept in and woken to a stinking hot day then this walk in an excellent choice. There is plenty of shade and the stunning Mutitjula waterhole is a lovely finish. The walk explores the south side of Uluru.

10am in October and it was warming up. Start walking early!

Mutitjulu Waterhole is one of a few permanent waterholes at Uluru. It is considered one of the most sacred areas here. If you are lucky to visit after rain, you may see water falling over the rock if not, the dark stains you can see are where the waterfalls usually appear.

Mutitjulu Waterhole
Mutitjulu Waterhole is said to always have some water in it.

This is an awesome walk for photographers as the diversity in this section of the rock is fantastic. Wildlife from bird to the occasional wallaby also tend to congregate here due to the relative lushness of the vegetation.

Difficulty: Grade 1
Distance: 1km
Time to complete: 35 minutes
Tip: To miss the crowds head straight after sunrise before any tour groups arrive.

Lungkata Walk

The Lungkata walk connects the Mala and Kuniya car parks. If you do this walk along with the Mala and Kuniya, you have covered the most exciting parts of the trail. There are lots of honeycomb looking sections along this part of the trail, and the path passes very close, so you are right up next to it.

Difficulty: Grade 2
Distance: 4km
Time to complete: 90 minutes
Tip: This is a good spot to watch the sunset

Minymaku Walk & Watiku Walk

We had not intended to take these walks, but we were lucky enough to be at Uluru for the closing celebration of the Uluru summit climb. We arrived at the party which was held right by these walks a couple of hours before the concert started so we had a good wander here.

These two walks are the Minymaku Walk (Women’s Walk), and the Watiku Walk (Men’s Walk) both are less than 1km long and gentle strolls that allow you to learn more about the daily lives of the Anangu.

The closing celebration was the highlight of our time in the centre and something we will never forget.

Getting around Uluru

By far the best way to explore Uluru is with your own car, particularly for couples or groups. The other options are double the price. However, there are solutions if you choose not to rent a car for whatever reason.

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Uluru Hop on Hop Off bus

We shared a car with friends on our visit but a couple of others in our group used the shuttle service to Uluru. This is not to be confused with the free service that operates around the resort.

The Uluru HOHO offers either a return trip to the rock ($49) i.e. drop off and pick up from any of the stops or a one day pass that unlimited trips to Uluru ($120), so say going out for sunrise, coming back for breakfast and heading back for a walk and then later sunset at Uluru – it also includes one visit to Kuta Tjut. If you can drive

Kuniya Piti,The Uluru HoHo bus stops here.

Guided tours of Uluru

There are lots of different ways to explore these trails.

You can:

  • Cycle around the rockrent a bike from near the culture tour or join a cycling tour
  • Segway around the rock – take a guided segway tour around the rock
  • Ride a camel – Morning or afternoon camel rides with Uluru views and a chance to meet the roos and emus
  • Fly over the rock – Take a helicopter ride, we travelled with an injured friend, and they chose this option.
  • Trike Tour – Take a trike or Harley tour, sunrise or sunset.

Camels were imported to Australia in the 1840s over 10,000 arrived from India to help with exploration of the interior of the country.

If you prefer not to walk Uluru alone you could join one of these highly rated tours

Frequently asked questions about walks at Uluru

Which walks at best for kids? Older kids could easily complete the base walk, although they might get a little bored when you reach the longest stretch where the path is quite far from the base. This section also has little shade. I would recommend combining the Mala and Kuniya walks for children. Alternatively, try cycling the route.

Which walks are best for wheelchair users? The Mala and Kuniya walks are accessible for wheelchairs. You might find it a bit difficult after rain.

What is Uluru made from? Uluru is made from a type of sedimentary rock known as arkose sandstone.

Why is Uluru red? The iron minerals in the rock react to water turning the surface red. Parts of the stone not touched by rain are grey.

Will I see waterfalls on Uluru? Only if you are fortunate, it rains on average, five days per month.

How many hours does it take to walk around Uluru? It takes three and a half hours to walk around Uluru.

Can you climb Uluru? The Uluru Summit climb was closed permanently on October 26 2019

Not sure how you start planning your trip to Uluru – Check out our guide

Every single angle is stunning!

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