Ayers Rock / Uluru - not open for Aussies??

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juddles

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This thread is part seeking advice, part just a complaint.
I work overseas, and have a midyear trip back in the homeland. We are going mainly to ¨home¨ in the Sunshine Coast, Qld área, but wanted to do a short sidetrip to somewhere new.
I have a family consisting of wife and a pair of young daughters (10 and 14) and as they have not revisited the motherland for almost two years, I want to get them more exposed to the Australia I know. It is a common problema for people working overseas that kids lose all connection with the country they were born in.
It dawned on me that a trip to Ayers Rock would be perfect – you dont get a more drastic contrast to Colombia´s jungle mountains than the desert in central Australia.
And it also fulfils a wish on my part. As a kid I lived in Alice Springs. And I lived in Tennant Creek. I used to do the drive Alice – Adelaide back when the road was just a dirt strip defined by a grader. But I never went to Ayers Rock (Uluru)!! That would have been a tourist thing that locals didnt have time for.
Anyway, seems like a great idea, I figured on arriving in Alice, doing the drive to the Rock as a nice day´s desert drive, then flying out from there. But certain truths have taken away the joy of planning.
I know that it is a remote place, but the cost of things is ridiculous. I dont mind paying for quality things, but I hate being ripped off. Average cost of rooms is $300+ per night. No problema if it was quality, but from the reviews I see, this is for essentially motel-quality accomodation. Rental cars from Alice are $200 a day for basic cars!! According toTripadvisor, a meal for two in a restaurant in Ayers can cost $300.
I know that it is a highly sort destination. I know it is¨remote¨. And I understand that in a capitalist supply-demand world ¨they¨ get away with this.
But as an Australian, deep down to the core, I hate that for me to visit a truly iconic place, a must on any Aussies bucket list, I have to get robbed and forced to accept mediocre everything.
Apparently you cannot even climb the Rock anymore?
 

harvyk

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Apparently you cannot even climb the Rock anymore?

You can still climb the rock, but it's strongly discouraged. They will close the climb under certain weather conditions (eg too wet or too hot).
 

casanovawa

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If i went all that distance I would be climbing the friggin rock!! :)

But yes, for a hot, dusty experience that sounds like a lot of money, is there camping or something there, or a day trip tour out of Alice Springs??
 

Pushka

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You are a captive audience at Uluru and yes, it was expensive when we went there 10 years ago. As Harvey mentioned, climbing the rock is strongly discouraged but if open, you can do it. We were able to, but we decided instead to walk around it the whole way which was really interesting and we could see all the different rockpools and structures along the way.
 

juddles

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If i went all that distance I would be climbing the friggin rock!! :)

...

Yep :) I truly hope as per harvyk, that you can still do that. Might even decide on the day NOT to climb. I just want the freedom to do that.

It aggrieves me that something is popular as a tourist destination for foreign tourists, and because of that it is priced out of reach of most Australians. For the same cash cost flying ex-BNE, I can either go to Alice Springs in economy, or to NZ in business on a majestic Emirates A380! And in NZ I can get twice the accomodation for half the cost.

Sorry, I realize I am still whinging :(
 

Pushka

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Yep :) I truly hope as per harvyk, that you can still do that. Might even decide on the day NOT to climb. I just want the freedom to do that.

It aggrieves me that something is popular as a tourist destination for foreign tourists, and because of that it is priced out of reach of most Australians. For the same cash cost flying ex-BNE, I can either go to Alice Springs in economy, or to NZ in business on a majestic Emirates A380! And in NZ I can get twice the accomodation for half the cost.

Sorry, I realize I am still whinging :(

It is disappointing I know, but see it as a once in a lifetime experience. It's not at though you have any choice - well you do - you don't have to go I guess. I just hope the money doesnt get guzzled up by bureaucracy or some international chain. But I suspect that's a forlorn hope.
 

harvyk

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Yep :) I truly hope as per harvyk, that you can still do that. Might even decide on the day NOT to climb. I just want the freedom to do that.

It aggrieves me that something is popular as a tourist destination for foreign tourists, and because of that it is priced out of reach of most Australians. For the same cash cost flying ex-BNE, I can either go to Alice Springs in economy, or to NZ in business on a majestic Emirates A380! And in NZ I can get twice the accomodation for half the cost.

Sorry, I realize I am still whinging :(

Welcome to the rip off that is domestic travel. To put it bluntly the cost of heading down the road for a couple of weeks is often comparable to jetting off half way around the world.

Unfortunately domestic tourism operators are not really to blame (well some are), they are stuck with high wages compared to their competition, they are stuck with relatively small international presence (us aussies don't mind long haul, unfortunately it doesn't go the other way) as such we're seen as a once in a life time destination for most of the world.
 

PaulST

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I'm disappointed to hear that. I was thinking of going there in March. Maybe I'll go to Tassie or NZ instead?
 

casanovawa

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Using a camper van site it looks like you could hire a camper van from Alice Springs to Alice Springs for around $450-650 for 3 days, still not desperately cheap, but there is your car hire, your accommodation and cooking facilities all in one for at least a few people, I'm sure there's ones that probably hold several adults for a group... $895 for something that holds 6 adults by the looks... Brings the price per person down a bit... Not sure how close you can park to the Rock etc and what the facilities are like out there???
 

Denali

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We were there 2yrs ago, there are a number of options for meals from a café (Sydney prices) to very expensive restaurant and our hotel was one of the top tier ones - cant remember the name but we have a Rock view.

Its really in the middle of sweet FA so you are a captive audience. There was some more budget accommodation with meals more bbq style.

But it is what it is, so do it for a few days and then move on to the next location, don't forget to visit the Olgas.

Wait till you have to fill up your car before return - better take an extra credit card for that :)
 

Moody

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Uluru is expensive - particularly if you book at the last minute during school holidays as I did in 2014! And it is in the middle of nowhere so of course prices are going to be high for starters.

But .... it is definitely one for the bucket-list and by avoiding peak times and booking early the cost is not too bad. And once you decide to go then I recommend the Sounds of Silence dinner (we did a special variation of this with Mark "The Black" Olive) and the camel sunset tours. Also car hire from Thrifty was OK and gives you a lot of flexibility to visit Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
 

Pushka

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Yes. Sounds of Silence dinner is a must. We did it on MrP's 50th birthday so all the star sign info was very interesting.

We also tried doing a camel trek. Myself and two sons were first on the camels then a fierce thunderstorm struck as only it can in the outback. The camels got totally spooked and it was cancelled. Getting us off was rather scary.
 

cmon0005

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Yes. Sounds of Silence dinner is a must.

We did this earlier this year, was the highlight of our trip, nothing better then watching the amazing sunset followed by sitting on chairs on the red sand.

Try looking out for offers on sites like webjet, eg. spend 300 get 50 off.etc. I spent 2 nights here and 1 night at Desert Gardens was $300 so got it for $250, as well as using my 'flybuys' points to part pay for the booking.
 

juddles

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Could someone elaborate on the ¨Sounds of Silence¨thing? Where can i read about it? What is it?
 
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Pushka

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Could someone elaborate on the ¨Sounds of Silence¨thing? Where can i read about it? What is it?

Are you feeling better about it now? :D

I think it is a place where every Aussie needs to go. It's quite spiritual even for those of us with a non indigenous background.
 

eastwest101

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For something just as good but half the price ( and easier to get to ) I highly recommend looking at the Flinders Ranges in South Australia as a viable alternative, scenery even more spectacular but without the rip_off prices and the list of "don'ts" and "can'ts" that Uluru and Kakadu are famous for.
 

Pushka

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Flinders Ranges is good and we've been there a few times living in SA. But it doesn't create the memories that a visit to Uluru does. But it is waaaay cheaper. And in flood now so green in summer is unusual.
 

harvyk

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For something just as good but half the price ( and easier to get to ) I highly recommend looking at the Flinders Ranges in South Australia as a viable alternative, scenery even more spectacular but without the rip_off prices and the list of "don'ts" and "can'ts" that Uluru and Kakadu are famous for.

Slightly OT, but what "don'ts" and "can'ts" are there in Kakadu? When I was there pretty much all the don'ts where around not getting eaten by a crocodile, and at Uluru, the don'ts where simply requests by the locals, not a hard and fast rule.

For the record, I climbed it 17 years ago (can't believe it was that long ago), when I was a teenager and when the don't as simply a comment made by our tour bus driver. Back them most people climbed it (out of our group, there was only 4 or 5 whom didn't, and of those who didn't I think only one was due to the request, the others it was simply a fitness thing).

That said I'm not sure I'd climb it today. I guess in some ways my (and societies in general) respect for indigenous culture has increased.
 
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