Experience all things to do in Ayers Rock! Located in the Red Centre of the Northern Territory, Australia, Ayers Rock or Uluru is one of the greatest natural attractions and an iconic landmark of Australia. Now commonly known by its Aboriginal name, Uluru, The Rock is extremely important to Aboriginal (Anangu) society and is central to their indigenous culture and history. At Uluru you can take part in cultural tours to understand its historical and spiritual significance to the Anangu people, see ancient rock art and learn about the traditions and stories of the Dreamtime.
Uluru / Ayres Rock is a giant sandstone monolith that towers over the desert landscape of the World Heritage Listed Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park. Its famous red hue is recognisable the world over and for many travellers arriving at Uluru is the most anticipated moment of their Australian holiday and offers a wealth of spiritual and cultural experiences. Located near the famous Outback town of Alice Springs, Uluru is just one of many natural wonders of the Northern Territory. While you are there be sure to check out:
- Uluru's sister formation - The Olgas or Kata Tjuta: is a large group of domed rock formations, these impressive natural giants are made up of a conglomerate of rock types that, like Uluru seem to change colours at sunset and sunrise. Kata Tjuta also features the famous "Valley of the Winds" walk, a must when visiting Australia's Red Centre.
- Kings Canyon: part of the Watarrka National Park, the canyon sits at the western end of the George Hill range; a track takes visitors to the top with spectacular views of the gorge below and of the surrounding desert landscape.
- The MacDonnell Ranges: both of these mountain ranges contain many spectacular gaps and gorges as well as areas that are of spiritual and cultural significance to Aboriginal culture. and
- The Simpson Desert: an vast expanse of seemingly endless red sand dunes, the Simpson Desert is the symbolic heartland of the Australian Outback; containing some of the worlds longest parallel sand dunes, the desert is more than just dust and rock it is a thriving eco-system and an awe-inspiring sight to behold.
In addition, if you're looking for more information on what to do in the Northern Territory as a whole, be sure to check out our state page!
Ayer's Rock Weather and Climate Information for Visitors
Overview, Temperatures and Rainfall
Australia's iconic giant red monolith, Ayer's Rock or "Uluru", is located directly in the "heart" of the country - look at any map and you will see this is literally true! Being situated in the heart of a semi-arid desert, most would assume that the immediate areas both on and surrounding Uluru would be reflective of the extreme levels of heat we usually associate with such climates. While this is true in the hotter months, you may be surprised to know that the temperature often drops to as low as under 5.0°C (41.0°F), with the lowest temperature ever recorded being an icy -4.0°C (25.0°F) back in 2001!
Of course, the term "icy" implies that there is actually water there to freeze, and this is seldom the case with the Uluru region - the area averages an approximate of a mere 250mm of rainfall a year (which, to be fair, is quite a lot "for a desert"), with most of that rain occurring in a single rainy period that usually lasts little more than a month - definitely a case of going from "feast to famine". The yearly average maximum temperature around the region is approximately 29.2°C (84.5°F), while the average minimums hover around a mean of 12.7°C (54.8°F) - a huge temperature range that reflects the massive gap in the difference between the hot and cold months.
Traditionally, the native Australian Aboriginal people of the Uluru region have classified there as being five seasons rather than the conventional western four - the Aboriginal people define them as the (translating directly) "Cooler season", "Cold season with morning frosts", "Season when animals breed and plants flower", "Hot season when food becomes scarce", and the "Season where sporadic storms can roll in suddenly." This is actually a very accurate summary of the climate surrounding the rock and still applies correctly today, thus making it more relevant to break the climate down by calendar months rather than traditional western seasons.
The season of "cooler weather", this is the time where the temperature begins to plummet from the scorching highs witnessed in the hotter months, with nightfall especially bringing a huge drop. This is the period of the year when the area's reptiles go into hibernation and when clouds begin to form, travelling to the region from the South, although they seldom bring rainfall. You can expect daily average maximum temperatures of around the mid-20's, with night times dropping to around 9 degrees (with the tail end of may registering an even more significant drop-off).
A surprisingly cold season when one looks at the region objectively as a desert, frost and dew can occur in the early mornings while the evenings can become extremely frigid and even reach the zero-degree threshold. It is thus important to overcome the stereotype of Australia being a "hot" country and prepare appropriately in terms of clothing and other cold-weather necessities. Daily maximum averages are usually around 20 degrees, however the nights drop to a near-freezing average of around 4 degrees celsius, with July easily being the coldest month of the year.
The season that would most closely resemble a traditional "Spring", this is the season in which a warm, steady wind from the North-West comes as animals begin to breed and "food plants" that produce fruit and seed begin to flower. The previously-mentioned hibernating reptiles begin to emerge, and the famous honey gravillea plant comes out to bloom. Kangaroos can usually be seen in their natural habitat in abundance during this season. Daily averages increase from the previous months to around 24 degrees celsius at a maximum, however the nights still remain cold at an average of around 7-8 degrees celcius.
The change from the "warm" to the "hot" happens extremely rapidly in the Uluru region, as could be expected of a desert climate. From the beginning of October, temperatures rise sharply until their averages approach the hottest times of the entire year. Storm clouds may form which also bring lightning, but rain seldom falls as a result. Travellers coming to see the rock during this season are advised to ensure they are prepared both from a clothing and hydration perspective - it is not uncommon for temperatures to approach 40.0°C (104.0°F), although average maximums are usually closer to around 34.0°C (39.2°F), with minimum temperatures jumping from the frigidity of the colder months up to a much-warmer average of around 18.0°C (64.4°F).
This is the closest thing to a "reliable rainy season" that the region has; although that is relative as the season differs greatly from year to year, as does the amount of rainfall it actually brings. If rainfall is plentiful, it can lead to the flowering of many of the plants; if it is scarce, the area can go through a drought that has a huge impact on the remainder of the year, with animals and plants dying off being deprived of a sufficient source of water. The dryness of the landscape coupled with the season's proneness to receiving spontaneous thunderstorms means that lightning strikes have been known to quickly and suddenly start fires as the parched shrubbery can instantly ignite.