Alice Springs to Ayers Rock - 5 1/2 days

by P. Housden
(Harrisonburg VA)

Near Alice Springs: Glen Helen

Near Alice Springs: Glen Helen

I will be arriving in Alice Springs in the afternoon of March 24th. I will be driving the back way via Kings Canyon to Ayers Rock (4wd). I definitely want one night at Alice Springs and one night at Kings Canyon and two nights at Ayers Rock.

I am undecided about the other two nights.

I will be flying out of Ayers Rock on March 30th.

My original plans were two nights in Alice Springs and two nights at Kings Canyon and two nights at Ayers Rock, however, I am wondering if I should take one night away from Alice Springs and spend the night along the way at Glen Helen Resort.

Thanks for your help.

Response to:
Alice Springs to Ayers Rock - 5 1/2 days

Do I read your message right that you don't want to camp anywhere? In that case I think one night at Glen Helen Resort definitely makes sense. It gives you a chance to explore the attractions in the West MacDonnell Ranges, and they are well worth exploring. It is a beautiful area.

One night at Kings Canyon should be enough. So you still have one night to play with. Where you spend that is a matter of personal preference.

I personally would spend it in Alice Springs and spend some time in the Desert Park there, visit the Reptile Centre, the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve... Otherwise, if you arrive in the afternoon and only have one night you won't see anything of Alice Springs itself.

Especially the Alice Springs Desert Park is a must. You will get more out of the rest of your visit if you you visit the park first.

Hope that helps!

General information:
Alice Springs
Ayers Rock

Photo courtesy of Tourism NT, ©

Comments for Alice Springs to Ayers Rock - 5 1/2 days

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by: Anonymous

Thanks! My whole problem was giving up the one night in Kings Canyon--I wasn't sure if I needed one or two nights. Sounds like I don't!! I will leave the two nights in Alice Springs.

I do not plan on camping, as I only have a Toyota LandCruiser. I guess I will stay at Glen Helen Resort unless you know of anyone possibly sleeping in the a LandCruiser for the night??

How much driving time is needed from Glen Helen to Kings Canyon? Then Kings Canyon to Ayers Rock for the Sunset Viewing? Of course, I will have to allow extra for photo shoots.


Camping and Driving.
by: Birgit

I know many people who'd sleep in the back of their Cruiser for a night :-). I sleep in the back of my Hilux all the time.

But if you aren't set up for it, it may not be very enjoyable. At least you want to be able to have a cuppa in the morning.

If you are seriously considering it, I recommend Ormiston Gorge. You have excellent facilities there, and a kiosk where you can get a coffee and a snack in the morning. It's also the nicest gorge in the West MacDonnells.

(After Redbank Gorge, but you would need a boat and a lot of time to appreciate Redbank Gorge).

Regarding the driving times... Very hard to say. The turn off to Ormiston Gorge is 128 km from Alice Springs, and Glen Helen is only a few kilometres further. It's all bitumen, so the actual driving time is not much, but there are many stops on the way. You'll have to pick and choose. Make it a full day and make it a long one, it's worth it.

From Glen Helen to Kings Canyon Resort... Depends what state the Mereenie Loop is in. That can vary wildly. The distance is 225 km. If the road is in good nick it may take about three hours. If it isn't it may take five.

(And if you are really, really unlucky it is closed because of rain. Just before you leave home or as you arrive in Alice, check that first. If you have to go the long way around you will have to change the schedule.)

Kings Canyon to Uluru is sealed and it's 303 km to the resort, another good 20 to the sunset viewing area. Three hours, longer if you want to check into the resort first. Check in should be quick, though, because that time of the year is not too busy.

One Way Trip
by: Bill Prescott

I arrive in Alice Springs by the Ghan train on Thursday 20th March (08) and I want to travel to Ayers Rock that day to leave the next day at 11.45am from the Airport. Car hire are trying to charge me minimum 1 week for the 1 day! Any other sensible way to do, what I would have thought, a straightforward and regular type of trip?

Look for another car hire company.
by: Birgit

Hi Bill,

That sounds ridiculous! I suggest you look for another car hire company. There must 20 or 30 of them in Alice Springs.

Is that what your travel agent came up with? I never heard of that before, but I'm not a travel agent so I don't know that much about the commercial and booking side of things.

I'd check with the Alice Springs Visitor Centre (8952 5800) and/or the Ayers Rock Resort Tourist Information Centre (8956 2240). They'd be the most knowledgeable in that respect.

Are you leaving from Ayers Rock Airport? Any chance to fly there from Alice and hire a car at Uluru?

(Just looked it up, $141 and leaves Alice at 1.50 pm, so it would only be a possibility for people arriving from Darwin, not from Adelaide.)

I still think you should be able to find a hire company that charges you a reasonable price. There'll be a one way fee, but it should not be a week's worth.

by: Rachel

I would like to go to Kings Canyon and Ayers Rock, and I would leave Alice Springs in a 4WD Landcruiser for 5 days.

I will take a tent and would like to camp in some remote locations away from shops and loads of people, but only half the time, the other half staying in a nice bed.

Any suggestions?

What are the Big Five attractions to see? Ormiston Gorge?

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