***Corona Virus (Covid-19) Melbourne Updates***
Please note that due to Covid 19 some Tourist Attractions are closed. Please check before you venture out
You have a few days coming up where you would like to do something really adventurous. You may be a local just wanting too see and do something new. Maybe you are a tourist just flown in from overseas and you have decided that you can fit short break into your schedule, exploring a part of Australia not on your itinerary.
Why not use Melbourne, Australia, as a base for some really exciting short break holidays exploring different parts of Australia. There are some truly amazing places that you can visit and each with their own unique experiences to enjoy.
Thanks to the convenience of air travel, these places can be reached in just a few hours. Combine staying for a few nights in whatever your budget can allow and do some local touring out and about.
Top of the list of Melbourne short breaks that I can suggest, would be a trip to the red centre of Australia. A Melbourne to Uluru adventure.
Wow! Ayers Rock Australia has to be one of the most unique and exciting places that you just have to visit. Only a few hours flying time from Melbourne airport and just think, you could be standing on the red, soft grains of sand that cover this vast region of Australia known as the Northern Territory.
The area is not just about a 'bloody great big rock' stuck in the middle of the desert. The area is rich with history that dates back through to the dawn of time. It's filled to the brim with Aboriginal culture, Dreamtime stories and exciting new experiences to discover.
Settle in for a few days of immersing yourself in the Aboriginal culture of this vast land mass. Experience what it would be like to have been an explorer in this area way back when there were no creature comforts like we have today. How brave these men and women must have been. Even consider trekking around the base of Uluru on a Camel if you have the time.
Search out and soak up as much 'Aussieness' as you can. This Melbourne to Uluru short break holiday is one that you will never forget.
There's really only one way to get from Melbourne to Uluru quickly and that is to fly. Jetstar runs a 3 hour NON-STOP flight from the Melbourne airport.
Please note ...
When booking your flight online be aware that there are extra charges for luggage, entertainment and food etc on board Jetstar that you might like to consider. The first price quoted is for carry on luggage only, 7kgm, if you need to take more, then you will need to upgrade your luggage at an extra fee, don't forget your return journey as you may be carrying souvenirs back with you. Weigh your luggage before you leave or at the airport before you go through security.
As regards the food and entertainment, you are able to purchase these on board when you fly, if you want to.
1) Carry an empty water bottle through security and once through, fill it up at one of the convenient water stations at the airport. Always handy to have on the plane as you can become quite dehydrated flying.
2) If you have an Ipad/laptop, download some movies (Netflix is great, isn't it). You will get one movie in before you land at Uluru or just relax and sleep for a few hours as you fly.
Qantas also operates daily flights to Ayers Rock Airport from Melbourne to Uluru via Alice Springs. If you are time poor, my suggestion would be to use Jetstar.
When booking your accommodation at the Ayers Rock Resort, most places offer you complimentary return airport transfers that meet all scheduled commercial flights. Just check when you are booking to be sure.
On your return journey back from your exciting Melbourne to Uluru adventure, in accordance with the airlines and airport regulations, the coach transfer departs your hotel or accommodation choice approximately 2 hours before scheduled flight times.
If you forgot to purchase some souvenirs of your trip to Uluru, the airport has an excellent gift shop with a large selection of products. Just watch your carry on weight allowance.
A free hop on hop off shuttle bus operates around Ayers Rock Resort everyday.
The bus departs approximately every 20 minutes from 10.30am in the morning until 12.30am the following day. The bus does not go to the National Park but it does stop at all hotels, the campgrounds, Resort Town Square, Uluru Meeting Place and Uluru Camel Farm.
The hub of the Resort, the Town Square, provides a comprehensive range of services and shops. It is also a great place to relax over lunch with a cool drink or coffee.
Right next door is the Town Square Lawn Area where you may be lucky to sit and watch some of the aboriginal artists painting some beautiful artwork under the shade of the native trees.
"We walked a short distance from our Sails in the Desert hotel towards the Town Square. On the Town Square lawn area we came upon several Aboriginal ladies sitting painting their beautiful artworks.This was truly an amazing thing to watch. I have always loved 'Aboriginal Dot Paintings' and here, right in front of us, it was happening, HERE AT UlURU! Wow!" Marylyn, Family Getaways Melbourne
During your Melbourne to Uluru stay there is always plenty to see and do over and above the official tours that you can book. FREE activities are always going on either in the town centre or at places like the Desert Sands Hotel. Click this link for details on the free activities you can experience at Ayers Rock Resort
Just ask at reception or visit the Tourist Information Centre in the Town Square for more information.
"I wish I had know and understood this. If there is any literature about the place lying around, read every word!"
Family Getaways Melbourne.
Some of your Melbourne to Uluru tours will take you into the 'Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park’ and you will need a park pass over and above the cost of your tour.
Park passes can be purchased online for quick and easy entry to the park, just print it out and take it with you. They are valid for three days but can be extended to five days at no extra cost.
The money from park passes helps maintain the park’s facilities, preserve its World Heritage sites and support traditional owners and their community.
"If you are unsure as to whether you require a pass, (I had no idea we had to have one) just ask the tour operator before boarding the vehicle. Have cash on hand ready to purchase one if you need to. Around $25 AU approx"
Family Getaways Melbourne.
Ayers Rock Resort is only 20kms from Uluru and 8.1kms from Ayers Rock airport and provides a variety of accommodation options. Depending on your budget, your accommodation can be in ...
Sails in the Desert is a 5 star Hotel situated within the Ayers Rock Resort. Truly a luxury choice for your Melbourne to Uluru short vacation. The hotel consists of 228 beautifully presented, spacious rooms.
The interior is decorated with colours that are associated with the local Anangu people, one of the world's most oldest cultures.
Tall white gum trees line the huge swimming pool that sits central in the hotel. There is casual dining by the pool or more formal dining at the Ilkari Restaurant, you can also dine casually in the Walpa Lobby,
Your stay includes an ...
Depending on what time your flight arrives at the airport, you may need to wait for your room. That's fine though, as there is plenty to see in the lobby or explore the grounds of the hotel. Have a refreshing drink or pop out to the pool area for a casual bite to eat.
Desert Gardens Hotel offers air-conditioned rooms, some with a private balcony or views of Ayers Rock (Uluru). Guests can unwind in the outdoor pool, or at the restaurant and bar.
The Mangata Bistro & Bar serves a delicious buffet breakfast and, for lunch and dinner, a diverse range of light meals showcasing the finest Australian produce with highlights of native Australian bush tucker flavours throughout. The restaurant is open to the general public and guests come from other parts of the Ayers Rock Resort to enjoy the food.
There are free guided walks through Desert Gardens Hotel's substantial and authentic native gardens, these are open to the public as well.
"I wish I had taken the opportunity to do this as I was told it is really informative and you get to taste some real bush tucker!" Marylyn, Family Getaways Melbourne
The Uluru Lookout is just 1.5 km from the property, only a 5-minute stroll, where you can view the desert sunset and Uluru. Plenty of people take the opportunity to wander these sandy tracks that are set out around the Resort. Checkout the Resort map on the page here for where these tracks are.
Walking the Resort Tracks ...
Take a bottle of water with you and wear a hat. Make sure you cover yourself with sun protection and if you don't like flies buzzing around your head, invest in a fly net to go over your hat.
This is a boutique style hotel with rooms that are decorated with a mix of urban and Aboriginal. The hotel also has a swimming pool.
The complimentary airport shuttle service is available for you to use. The free Resort Hop on Hop Off Shuttle is also accessible for you to explore the region and there is easy access to the 'Town Square' shops, cafes and Tour and Info Centre.
The Resort Lookout is close by and easy to access through the Town Square. Watch the sunrise for free, and then pop into the local cafe for breakfast.
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Emu Walk Apartments offers one and two bedroom self contained apartments and fully serviced apartments. These are perfect for families or couples and friends travelling together. A great way to share the cost of staying in the red centre.
The Apartments are just minutes walk to the Town Square’s supermarket, shops, cafes and the Tour & Information Centre. The remainder of Ayers Rock Resort’s restaurants and bars lie within a short walk or complimentary shuttle bus ride.
Note check in is after 3:00pm so you might like to drop your bags off at reception and wander around the Town Square.
The Lodge is perfect for the Melbourne to Uluru budget minded traveller. Outback Pioneer Lodge boasts Budget Rooms with and without bathroom, as well as comfortable and clean hostel accommodation for the travelling backpacker.
There is a do-it-yourself Outback BBQ. Catch the FREE shuttle bus to the Town Square and pick up some groceries for the meal.The Outback Pioneer Pub has plenty of cold bear etc on tap to make your BBQ a fun time.
A booking here includes a FREE Guest Activities Program (at Desert Gardens) return Ayers Rock Airport transfers and use of the free Resort hop on hop off shuttle bus.
"We decided to catch the shuttle bus over to The Outback Pioneer Kitchen for lunch one of the days we stayed and luckily we got there early as it gets very busy. The take away kiosk menu is quite extensive, did I mention that I loved the pizza. I believe that the Restaurant has delicious food as well. Next time :-)" Marylyn, Family Getaways Melbourne
This is an excellent choice for the Melbourne to Uluru budget conscious traveler as you have all the amenities that you need, the comfort and privacy that you can enjoy and free access to other parts of the resort for you explore at your leisure.
Note that check in is from 3:00pm
"This would be my first choice if I was to be booking a few days at Uluru. The extra dollars saved could go towards an amazing scenic flight or another tour - just a suggestion :-) " Marylyn, Family Getaways Melbourne
As an idea to keep the costs down for your Melbourne to Uluru trip, why not consider staying in a cabin at the Ayers Rock Resort?
The campground offers 14 air-conditioned cabins with shared bathroom facilities. Cabins feature 2 bedrooms, linen, cooking facilities and utensils, microwave, refrigerator and television. The camping ground also provides a range of services and facilities including a swimming pool, playground, BBQ facilities and outdoor kitchen and self-service laundry.
As you have access to the free Resort hop on hop off shuttle bus, stocking up and cooking for a few days/nights is so easy and affordable.
As a guest staying at the Ayers Rock Campground you can participate in a range of Free Daily Activities including guided garden walks at the Desert Sands Hotel and Indigenous bush yarns.
On this Melbourne to Uluru tour the pickup is nice and early, before sunrise. Travel into the Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park (this tour requires a National Park Pass). Arrive in total darkness at Talinguru Nyakunytjaku – the Uluru sunrise viewing area.
In the dark grab a hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate and meander off on the soft, red desert sands up to the viewing platform. This is an easy and gradual walk.
From here, you will enjoy the sun as it rises over this vast desert land illuminating the huge monolith, Uluru. The sun rises at your back and its rays lighten up the huge outcrop in front of your eyes. Stand still and take it all in, the experience is truly spiritual. Spend reflecting time here on the platform or wander along the many tracks taking in all the landscape, bush critters footprints and flora of the region.
The whole experience is quite surreal. Uluru is a massive red sandstone monolith rising out of the desert. What you can see is just the tip of the formation. It rises 348 meters above the ground, but the bulk of this rock, which has a circumference of nearly 10 miles, lies underground. Like like an iceberg.
Tourists were able to climb the rock up until late October 2019, when it was finally closed to the public. You can still walk around its base but not on it.
You arrive back at your drop off point mid morning and have the rest of the day for more fun and games.
"As the bus is dropping people off all over the Resort, I suggest that you get off at the Town Square and have a late breakfast in the Cafe and then wander back to your accommodation or shuttle bus it back" Marylyn, Family Getaways Melbourne
Once you arrive at Uluru, the selection of Melbourne to Uluru tours that you can book is quite staggering. Depending on the time you have and of course your budget, as well as your fitness level, make sure that you do at least one of these 3 that I mention here.
Each of them will provide a totally different experience, each is fitness friendly for all ages and each tour doesn't hurt the pocket too much.
For your convenience, book your Melbourne to Uluru tours prior to arriving or discuss which tours the locals recommend once you arrive.
Travel by air-conditioned coach. This is the deal introduction to Uluru for first-time visitors! ("In hindsight, wish we had done this one" Marylyn, Family Getaways Melbourne)
Experience this morning tour of the sacred landmark, Ukuru. Whilst enjoying breakfast learn about Uluru’s long history as you watch the sunrise over the mighty rock.
Take off on an 11km easy walk around the base of this huge monolith, stopping to see the waterfalls of Kantju Gorge and admire the Aboriginal rock art at the Mutitjulu Waterhole. Every crack, caves and water pools has stories and legends behind it.
"We didn't get to do this tour and I think the fact that you can actually trek the base of Uluru and visit the Aboriginal art rock paintings, it would have been amazing. My recommendation would be to do this tour, although longer, you do get to experience more.
Family Getaways Melbourne
Sunrise Field of Light
Internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light, inspired by a trip to Uluru 24-years ago, has been installed in a remote desert area within sight of majestic Uluru.
Depart in total darkness from your pick up point for the short drive into the desert to this remote destination. Your guide will introduce you to the scene and describe what you are about to wander through. Meander through the paths surrounding the 50,000 hand-crafted frosted glass spheres of light, in colours of ochre, deep violet, blue and gentle white.
With this sunrise experience immerse yourself in the silence, stand on top of the dune, where you'll be served a warming tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Watch as the dawn creeps across the desert plain and lights up Uluru – don’t forget to look out for Kata Tjuta behind you!
Return to the resort in time for breakfast.
"We experienced the Field of Lights on a sunset tour which was totally amazing. Personally, had I known this was available to do, I would have done it instead, maybe on the last day's morning of a Melbourne to Uluru short holiday. Either way, don't miss the opportunity to see something truly amazing. Check out the video of our experience at night, won't win an Emmy but you'll get the idea as to what this place really looks like. " Marylyn, Family Getaways Melbourne
Sounds of Silence
The bus collects you at your pick up point and transports you to the sunset viewing platform.Here, you are served a selection of canapes, including tastes from the Australian desert and sample some of Australia's finest wines. Soft drinks and water is also available. Sit for awhile and watch the sunset Uluru and the Olgas then meander down to the Sounds of Silence dining area.
The white-linen and silver-service dinner is served at sunset, with the changing colors of Ayers Rock visible on the horizon from your table as evening falls.
Prepared with a gourmet twist, the traditional outback meal includes barramundi fish, kangaroo, emu and bush salads. After dinner over coffee and port, settle back for an evening of stargazing under the immense southern skies.
"What a surreal experience this was. Dining under the stars in the heart of Australia with the soft, cool sand under our feet. What made this experience more amazing was the fact that the other guests sitting at our table where 3 couples from Italy and all on their honeymoons! We drank wine and dined on delicious food, whilst we tried to swap stories of our own homelands.
The conversation was exotic, filled with memories of my past visits to Italy. I was able to communicate my love for their country and they were able to do so for Australia. It was great to get a different perspective and the fun thing was that we were ALL tourists.
Several highlights of the evening were the Didgeridoo being played at the tables and the Astrology lesson we were instructed with as we gazed into the dark sky. What a night!" Marylyn, Family Getaways Melbourne
A Helicopter or fixed wing flight is available to book, flying over some of Australia's most barren, desolate and intriguing scenery. Fly out over the desert to experience this vast countryside from the best vantage point, ever! Take in the majesty of Uluru and the Olgas. Perhaps see wild camels and Australian wildlife as you fly overhead.
The duration of the flights varies according to what you want to see. This really is a must tour as the perspective is totally different from the air.
"I really wish that we had done either of these options on our Melbourne to Uluru trip. Never mind, next time!" Marylyn, Family Getaways Melbourne
Don't forget to savour some of Australia's Bush Foods used in a lot of the meals that are on offer at the resort, not to mention some of the delicious and refreshing cocktails and drinks that are on offer at the different Resort facilities.
This cocktail uses lemon myrtle and desert lime, examples of the use of Australian bush foods.
The fresh, the Lemon Myrtle leaf is a most versatile and refreshing herb. It has a fresh fragrance of creamy lemon and lime. It complements so many culinary delights, from fish and chicken to ice cream or sorbet as well as delicious cocktails like the Desert Sparkle, served at Sails in the Desert.
Desert limes are true citrus closely related to conventional citrus that have been collected in the wild by Aboriginal people and early settlers, it is a thorny shrub or small tree native to Queensland.
"I tried one of these back at the Sails in the Desert lobby after the Sounds of Silence dinner. What a wonderful way to top off the amazing day that I had had. Truly, Uluru is one of the most amazing places that I have visited and I have no idea why I waited so long to experience a Melbourne to Uluru short vacation. I will definitely return again." Marylyn, Family Getaways Melbourne
Sit back now and enjoy a preview of what a Melbourne to Uluru short break holiday is all about. If this is something that you think you would like to experience, visit the links below and plan your 2/3/4 day adventure to the 'Heart of Australia'