10 top things to do at Uluru

You’ve made it to Australia’s spiritual heart, the red centre where Uluru (also known as Ayres Rock) rises from the Northern Territory desert creating a landscape that astonishes from dawn to dusk.

Of course, you’re going to see a spellbinding sunrise and linger over a sunset, discover ancient stories and learn about local Anangu culture, but there’s more. 

 Here’s 10 ways to add more thrill to your experience.

1. Try a native tasting platter

Never eaten kangaroo, emu or crocodile? Take the plunge with a tasting platter at Arguli Grill, Desert Gardens Hotel. The portions are small but the flavours are fine. Go the whole way with a flight of matched wines to accentuate the flavour nuances.

2. Relax in the spa

It’s hot, cold, rainy or you just feel like a treat? Head to the spa for a relaxing massage or facial. You’ll find yourself in capable hands and come out floating on air, like I did. Talk to the folk at Red Ochre Spa, Sails in the Desert.

3. Have damper for breakfast

Chow down on some true Aussie tucker with a slab of freshly cooked damper liberally doused in Golden Syrup in front of a campfire, while the morning sun lights up Uluru. Works for me! Follow it with the best bacon and egg roll and a  guided tour around Uluru with plenty of local insights. Don’t miss a trip to the ‘lav’ after breakfast to enjoy a drop toilet fit for a king. There’s even a painting on the wall. Desert Awakenings is the tour to take you there. It's $168 per person.

4. Jump on a motorcycle

It’s double the excitement – you are at one with the world on the back of a motorcycle and there’s nothing between you and that big red rock. I’ve been around it by bus, car, helicopter and food and my money is on the motorcycle. When the weather is warm, time your journey for the early or late hours of the day. Talk to the folk at Uluru Motorcyle Tours from $99 per person.

5. Walk with the wind

Climbing the rock is so last century. Today it’s all about tapping into the Uluru's spiritual energy and sharing some of the ancient legends and lore.  Walk around the base of the rock, learn some of the legends, discover the secret silence. You don't need to climb to be elevated here.

6. Ride a camel

They might be a feral pest but behind a camel’s long, luscious lashes lies the smarts of an eight-year-old child. Hop on a camel for a comfy ride through the desert with different perspective. Even better, add a camel ride to your Sounds of Silence dinner for extra wow.  Talk to Uluru Camel Tours.  Cost from $80 per person.

7. Paint your own
Take home a piece of the Red Centre in wearable art. Craftsperson in Residence, Alice Chep will show you how to hand paint silk scarves uncovering talents you never knew you had.  You'll need to book at Desert Gardens Hotel.

8. Cycle around the rock

Do it a different way and cycle around Uluru. You’ll see all the same sites, just a little quicker. The bikes some with helmets and there are designated, lockable parking stations at the best stopping points. It's $30 each for a three hour hire and includes helmets and a lock.  More information at Outback Cycling. Call 0437 917 018.

9. Star gazing

Unpolluted by light, the skies in the red centre are perfect for star gazing. Take a guided tour of the night sky and look through a telescope at the Sounds of Silence dinner ($195 per person) or join a tour at Ayers Rock Resort.

10.  Learn how to throw a boomerang
Your boomerang won't come back? Take some tips from those who have perfected the art over the centuries.  And it's free. Check the daily activities list at Ayers Rock Resort.

Best tip: Go in Australia's cooler months, June, July and August or plan your trip carefully in the summer months of December, January and February, so activities centre around the beginning and end of the day.

Bottom line: Room rates at Sails in the Desert, part of Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, start at $368 room only, minimum two nights.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled and stayed as a guest of Sails in the Desert.