Where do you stop between Ayers Rock and Alice Springs?

Where do you stop between Ayers Rock and Alice Springs?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 10/18/2022

Reading time: 4 mins

The Red Centre of Australia is a breathtaking example of rugged, remote, and untouched nature. Rich red sand, incredible national parks and of course the giant monolith of Uluru – a trip from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock is a magical experience through inhospitable land.

You can drive directly between the two locations in less than 6 hours, but that’s not to say you should! To make the most of your time in the heart of Australia, you can make several stops along the way. These stops will take you off the main road and into stretches of national parks, gorges and waterholes.

  • Alice Springs

    Your road trip Aussie adventure begins in Alice Springs. A small town surrounded by desert and home to colourful characters, Alice Springs carries a particular outback charm. Ride a camel through the desert, experience a peaceful hot air balloon ride at sunrise, or cuddle a joey at the Kangaroo Sanctuary.

  • Owen Springs Reserve

    A little off the radar for many, Owen Springs Reserve has great birdwatching and free bush camping. Drive along the 50km track – in a 4WD – and stop to look at the Aboriginal rock art.

  • The West MacDonnell Ranges

    161km west of Alice Springs and home to incredible rock formations and dramatic landscapes. You can cool off in a permanent water hole or walk one of the many marked tracks.

  • Finke Gorge National Park

    Palm Valley is the standout of this beautiful national park. Be surrounded by the native Red Cabbage Palm and take in the unexpected greenery around you. Depending on the time of year, you can see Finke River flowing – believed to be one of the oldest rivers in the world.

  • Tnorala / Gosse Bluff

    Hugely significant to the indigenous communities, this is the site where a comet collided with earth over 140 million years ago. Erosion has changed the site, but you can still see a remainder of the impact the comet left on the earth.

  • Kings Canyon

    Located in the impressive Watarrka National Park, Kings Canyon is well worth the slight detour on the way to Uluru. You can walk around the rim of the canyon on a 6km circuit and take in the vast canyon. This is particularly beautiful at dawn or dusk.

  • Erldunda Roadhouse

    An excellent pitstop with phone service, a caravan park, café, and service station. There are rescued kangaroo’s emu’s roaming about to make things a little more interesting as you refuel before continuing to Uluru.

  • Mt Connor Lookout

    Mt Connor has a reputation for fooling travellers into thinking they are seeing Uluru in the distance. This is another sacred site for the indigenous community, and sitting almost 900m above ground, it’s no wonder it gets mistaken for Uluru. You can access the lookout on the Lasseter Highway, but there is no public access to Mt Connor.

  • Uluru

    The star of the show and the beating sacred heart of Australia. Majestic Uluru is one of a kind and takes your breath away. Be amazed by the changing of colours from dusk, through the day and as the sun sets. You can’t walk on the rock, but you can do a base walk and hear dreamtime stories. A magnificent monument to see.

  • Kata Tjuta

    Only 30 minutes from Uluru you will find the incredible scattered rock formations of Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olga’s. These formations are hundreds of millions of years old, and you can take part in the Valley of the Winds Walk to appreciate their beauty and size.

If you do choose to extend your drive from 5 hours to maybe a day or 2 to get to all the sites, the drive through this loved part of Australia will be remote but beautiful. Follow the speed limit and keep an eye out for wildlife. Camels, cattle, and kangaroos are often wondering onto the roads, and driving at night is not recommended as this is when wildlife is most active.

For those who don’t want to drive or would rather gaze out the window at the jaw-dropping scenery – book a tour to get you from Alice Springs to Uluru with a friendly driver and guide!

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.