NT Driving and Yulara

Northern Territory

We decided to take the scenic drive from Alice Springs to Uluru, instead of flying.

Outback driving is different than anything else I’ve experienced.  It’s very flat, very straight, very fast, very empty, and very red.

Something else new to me were the road trains.  They’re trucks with multiple containers behind them; the most common number is three containers.  When driving the kilometres and kilometres across the Outback it’s not worth it to have three separate trucks when their could be just one.  They’re a well-known road hazard on Outback roads as it is not easy (or quick) to for them to stop.

Another common Outback driving sight are roadhouses.  They’re only every 100-200 kilometres, so when there is one, you’ve gotta stop.

One of my absolute favourite parts was the red sand–so quintessentially Australian!  And the contrast between the gorgeous blue sky and the red sand is absolutely incredible.

Nearing Yulara, a huge rock comes into view, but it’s not the famed Uluru.  It’s Mt. Connor and it’s commonly mistaken for Uluru by impatient tourists.

Directly across the street (I say street and mean highway) is a tall red sand dune; at the top is a gorgeous view of some of the Lake Amadeus salt flats.

When visiting Uluru, there is really only one place to stay.  The resort about 15 km from the rock–Yulara.  Supposedly, it has beds for 5000 heads and camp grounds for even more.  It is not only a resort, but a town within itself.  With only the permanent residents/employees, it is the 4th largest city in the Northern Territory.

The wildlife in Yulara was fun to see.  Galahs, bilbies, baby emus, and flowers galore!

Being only 15 km from Uluru, the resort has great views of both the rock and Kata Tjuta.  Especially at sunset, the lookouts are the place to be.

Since the resort is so isolated, it has all the amenities like a post office, grocery store, police station, fire station, and many other shops.  It also has museums and cultural exhibits, as well as a local football team, whose mascot is the flies (nothing could be more appropriate!).

The Uluru airport is even more isolated (if that’s possible).  There are only five flights a day out of it: 2 to Sydney, 1 to Melbourne, 1 to Cairns, and 1 to Alice Springs.  Right when the plane takes off, you can see Yulara and Uluru–beautiful from the air.

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