Commonly known as the Red Centre, Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park and the surrounding area is considered by many to be the spiritual heart of Australia.
Visit the burnt orange monolith that is Uluru, and stand in awe of its magnitude. Stop at the cultural centre and discover the land’s importance to its traditional owners, the Anangu people. You can also learn about the fauna and flora of the area, or purchase original Aboriginal artwork at the centre. By walking the rock’s 10.6-kilometre circumference, you can witness the effects of natural erosion, explore the hidden caves and admire ancient Aboriginal rock drawings. Alternatively, you can see Uluru by helicopter or camel. And please bear in mind that although you can climb the rock, the Anangu people prefer that you don’t.
While in the area, be sure to stop at Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). Thirty-two weathered rock domes make up Kata Tjuta, and provide stunning scenery. The majority of the walks are closed to the public, so that the traditional owners can continue performing their cultural ceremonies in private. But you can challenge yourself by embarking on the 7.4-kilometre Valley of the Winds Walk to gain unequalled views of the surrounding desert plains.
From Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park, make your way north to Kings Canyon at Watarrka National Park, which has been inhabited by the Luritja people for more than 20,000 years. As the canyon is best seen on foot, walk atop the 300-metre sandstone walls early in the morning to view the sunrise at the end of the six-kilometre Kings Canyon Rim Walk. Or, try the shorter and gentler Kings Creek Walk, which takes you along the shady canyon floor. Both trails will take you into the Garden of Eden, a waterhole surrounded by lush plant life – it’s an oasis within the burnt orange outback.
Seeing Arnhem Land will be a memorable experience no matter how long you are there for. The Arnhem Land Trust has kept the region pristine and its natural beauty uninterrupted. East Arnhem Land provides coastlines with sandy white beaches, clear waters and secluded islands, and this area is one of the largest strongholds of traditional Aboriginal culture. In the west, near Alligator River, you’ll experience the Australian bush, caveart and bush tucker. Also within the region are national parks,art and cultural centres, and traditional Aboriginal communities.