I write this post as my white jeans sit in a cold basin of NapiSan for the third day straight. That is the power of the Red Centre. But really, let's be honest ... why did I even pack white jeans?
While painstakingly hand-washing laundry is never on anyone's 'to do' list, Uluru was definitely top of mine. I've been itching to visit Uluru for years so having finally had the opportunity to explore the Red Centre, I can say it doesn't disappoint.
I spent four days exploring the best that Uluru has to offer and it only seems fair to share my Uluru Bucket List with you.
1. Viewing Uluru – by car, by camel, by Harley ...
It doesn't matter how you see it, every time sends a tingle down your spine.
Floating over the Rock as you commence the descent into Ayers Rock Airport really sets the tone for your holiday. But aside from your flight, you can also view iconic Uluru by foot, car, Harley and on the back of a camel ... and every time it offers something magical.
On our first full day we were treated to a sunrise breakfast at one of the key viewing stations, a roped-off area of red dirt perfectly positioned to erect a trestle table, grab some damper and pour a cuppa in anticipation of the day's welcoming.
I'll talk more about my camel ride experience below but other key experiences include a helicopter ride over the Rock and for the rev heads even a Harley Davidson experience.
See the colours of the Red Centre. 50 Shades Of Red: The Spiritual Outback
Have a listen to Uluru. First Date With Uluru
2. A camel ride at sunrise
Camels are very cool creatures. I have never met anyone who knows as much about camels as our 'cameleers' (yes, that's what they're called) from Uluru Camel Tours. On camel-back, we witnessed the sun rise over Uluru and Kata Tjuta (more commonly known as The Olgas) for a whole peaceful hour. How's the serenity?
Also worthy of mention is the incredible homemade bread beer damper with local jams on offer after the ride. Prices vary for camel rides, depending on how long you would like to take, but start around $65 and can go up to $120.
3. Sounds of Silence
Uluru offers you the rare chance to really switch off. Despite having Wi-Fi and phone reception, you really can utterly disconnect there.
Sounds of Silence is a 5-star dining experience in the red dirt, where you're seated at white-clothed tables under a canopy of stars while you watch the sun set.
The best part of the evening was when the waiters blew all the candles out, turned off the lights and the star-gazing presentation began. You don't often look up and admire the stars in the city (mainly because you can't see them) , but out in Uluru it's the perfect backdrop.
4. Kings Canyon
Three hours between Uluru and Alice Springs sits Kings Canyon in the Watarrka National Park. Remember Qantas' iconic Spirit of Australia ad? Those choir kids were perched on the rim of Kings Canyon in a goosebumpy rendition of I Still Call Australia Home.
There are two popular canyon hikes at Kings Canyon; the six-kilometre Kings Canyon Rim Walk and the 2.6-kilometre Kings Creek Walk tracing the bottom of the gorge. During the summer months you can also hike the South Wall Return.
Our group opted for the Rim Walk, which took around three hours but certainly didn't disappoint, especially once we made it to the 'Garden of Eden'; a little oasis where, when the temperature is right, you can strip off to your cozzie and take a refreshing dip. Given temperatures can soar during summer, it's recommended you do your hike at sunrise to avoid a searing sun.
5. Cultural workshops
One of the most valuable aspects of a holiday in Uluru is to embrace our Indigenous culture. The locals are so friendly and freely love sharing their knowledge with tourists so when the opportunity arose to sit in on a traditional dot-painting workshop with local Anangu artists how could I say no?
You can book in for a dot-painting workshop through Maruku Art Tours and Ayers Rock Resort also provides several free daily activities and entertainment options, such as Didgeridoo playing, cultural dances, bush yarns and Indigenous art markets.
My Uluru Bucket List is easily doable in a three-night itinerary so what are you waiting for? And for the record, the white jeans are restored and ready for their next adventure somewhere far away from red dirt (...this post was not sponsored by NapiSan).