3D/2N Uluru Camping Tour With Emu Run Tours (Part 1) : Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Mutijulu Waterhole Guided Walk

         What is a trip to Uluru (Ayers Rock), Northern Territory without seeing the iconic megalith rock up-close and personal? Prior to my visit to the Red Centre of Australia, I booked a 3D/2N Uluru camping tour for two with Emu Run Tours. Why you may ask I chose Emu Run Tours? Obviously the answer is they provide the most affordable, cheapest yet comprehensive package in the market, only $450 per person – I checked! Trust me, the rest charge way more. Besides that, Emu Run Tours offers the kind of adventure I was looking for and that is to camp out in the Australian desert outback; an opportunity to sleep out in the open, beside a bonfire, under a blanket of stars, in a warm cosy swag without sacrificing the comforts of hot showers, toilets, healthy meals, and drinking water.

         In addition, I will be doing lots of walking and hiking through various geological terrains and setting that Australian desert outback has to offer to visitors to its sacred land – of valleys, canyons, the red earth and more! The 3D/2N comprehensive camping tour covers the extraordinary sites of Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Creek, and last but not least, Kings Canyon. The other thing why I liked the camping tour by Emu Run Tours is I had the opportunity to have a barbecue dinner in the outback, sip sparkling wine and nibble snacks (crackers with a variety of dips and cheese) as we watch the sunset at Uluru, and slept in a safari tent too! Doesn’t that sound exciting to you?! Good reviews left by their satisfied customers further enhance their reputation, therefore I rest my case.

A Camping Of A Lifetime – The Adventure Begins!

         Our journey began as early as 9am in the morning. Daphne and I got ready and waited patiently at the lobby of our hostel, Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge. To read my review of our room in the dormitory and the hostel, click here. The option of being picked up and dropped off directly from/at Ayers Rock Airport is available for those flying in and out on the day the tour begins and ends.

         Rhea, our friendly and funny guide arrived in an Emu Run Tours van with a handful of people and greeted us with glee. We boarded the van and drove on the scenic path through the Australian desert outback. 20 minutes or so later, we safely arrived at Emu Run Tours Outback Station 1 and had a quick, simple lunch of bread with slices of ham, cheese and tomatoes, and orange juice. If I remember correctly, we had a granola bar each too.

          After that, we came to the fun part of the day which is to set up our individual swags out in the open space. A swag is made from strong canvas, sewn like a large sleeping bag with a comfortable sponge mattress and a sleeping bag inside – providing warmth, comfort and security. Each of us was given a swag each and were free to sleep anywhere we want around the bonfire, later that night.

         I managed to explore the surrounding area and discovered several types of safari tents nearby that belonged to other tour operators. The hot showers and toilets facility was about 100 metres away from our station. Once we had set up our swags and kept our belongings safely locked up in the station, off we went to our first destination – the Aboriginal Cultural Centre for an insight into the unique culture of the local Aboriginal people.

The comfortable, fully air-conditioned Emu Run Tours van

The other members of the tour group; we had a grandmother and her 5 young grandchildren with us 

Emu Run Tours Outback Station 1, Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Safari tents in the Australian outback at Uluru (Ayers Rock) #1

Safari tents in the Australian outback at Uluru (Ayers Rock) #2

Setting up our swags in the open space around the bonfire

My cosy and warm swag in green, whereas Daphne's in brown

Palya! (means hello in Anangu language)

To The Cultural Centre For An Insight Into The Unique Culture Of The Local Aboriginal People!

         Mind you that no photography or video recording is allowed within the area of the Cultural Centre as a sign of respect to the Aboriginal people’s beliefs and culture. Inside the cultural centre, Daphne and I had the opportunity to learn the life and culture of the Anangu people. The walls are beautifully decorated with colourful Anangu art with symbols depicting Creation Time (Tjukurpa) stories.

         We were exposed to the unique Aboriginal Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara language and learned about the ‘bush tucker’ (an Australian terminology for herbs, spices, fruits, flora and insects) that makes up the diet of the Anangu people. Several stuffed Australian outback desert animals were on display too such as the Thorny Devil and Rufus Hare-Wallaby. We even met several Aboriginals hard at work in the Cultural Centre. Such was our enlightening experience there.

A map of the Aboriginal Cultural Centre

A traditional hut in the Australian desert outback for visitors to take shelter from the blazing hot sun at the Aboriginal Cultural Centre

A view of the Aboriginal Cultural Centre with Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the background

This is how the Australian desert outback sky looks like during the day

Mutijulu Waterhole Guided Walk For Beginners

         Next, our tour group made our way to Uluru (Ayers Rock) located in the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park nearby. Admission to the park requires an entrance ticket which can be bought at the ticket counters located at the entrance of the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park. The following are the available park passes:
  • 3-Day per adult = $25.00
  • Annual per adult = $32.50
  • Northern Territory Annual Vehicle – Northern Territory Residents = $65.00
         The opening hours of the park varies according to the months of the year and the park closes overnight. No camping is allowed in the park. For your info, the park entrance fee is already included in the tour fee, therefore we need not pay for it. After buying our 3-Day park tickets, Rhea handed it to us and reminded us to keep it safe with us at all times for the park rangers will conduct random checks from time to time. Failure to present our park ticket upon request will result in a hefty fine. Do take note of it.

         As we drove closer to Uluru (Ayers Rock), we started to see Uluru in its true glory. From afar, we could not really gauge the colossal size of the rock. It was when we stood right in front of it that we could truly see its astonishing size and grandeur. There, we stood with our mouths gaping in awe…unable to believe the fact that we were finally at Uluru (Ayers Rock)! Wasting no time, Rhea gathered us and gave us some advice before we embark on our Mutijulu Waterhole Guided Walk, covering a distance of 1.6km. After that, we were free to do the 9km Uluru Base Walk or opt for shorter routes.

My 3-Day Park Pass to Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru (Ayers Rock) as seen from the van on the paved road

Rhea, our guide from Emu Run Tours explained the safety measures to us before we start our walk 

A facet of Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Uluru (Ayers Rock), Northern Territory, Australia

Daphne and Erika at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Northern Territory, Australia

Compulsory photo taken at Uluru (Ayers Rock) before we begin our walk

Shadows in red earth, Uluru (Ayers Rock)

An interesting looking shrub in the Australian desert outback, Uluru (Ayers Rock)

The first part of the walk was mainly on flat land, Uluru (Ayers Rock)

A picturesque scene of the plants and shrubs at Uluru (Ayers Rock) 

A part of the trail and Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Wind and water erosion eroded the rock's surface through time, creating interesting rock formations

Life flourishes in Uluru (Ayers Rock) despite the harsh conditions

Beautiful Australian outback desert flowers

The Australian outback desert pea

Nothing but blue skies at Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Up next: An interesting 9km base walk around Uluru with more unique sights and sceneries! 

Labels: , ,