9-day round trip drive Melbourne to Uluru/Ayers Rock

by Hayley
(Sydney, Australia)

Drive to Uluru/Ayers Rock

Drive to Uluru/Ayers Rock

My friend and I are planning to rent a car and drive from Melbourne (leaving March 21 at 8 or 9am) to Uluru/Ayers Rock, returning to Melbourne by the end of the day on March 29th. We're both 21-year old females, so here are the questions:

1. Is 9 days enough time for us to do this? The travel time estimates I found were 3 days from Melbourne to Ayers Rock, and vice versa, but if anyone knows differently, let me know.

2. How safe is the drive? It looks like we'll be mainly driving through western Southern Australia (the highways on the map are A-8 till Adelaide, and Stuart Highway from there).

3. We're on an extremely tight (college student) budget, so we were thinking about sleeping in the car in the parking lot of some town or other each night. Would it actually be safe to do that/camp out, or should we really be trying to stay in road houses, etc?

Any other advice would also be welcome.

Response to: 9-day round trip drive Melbourne to Uluru/Ayers Rock

Hi Hayley,
It will be a long and boring drive, especially the drive back, but apart from that you should be fine.

1. Three days one way is correct.

2. Not sure what kind of safety you mean. It's as safe or unsafe as anywhere else in Australia. It's a long drive so fatigue will be your main problem unless you are used to driving long distances. At dawn and dusk you also risk hitting a 'roo or something else on the road. It's better to just pull up instead.

3. That's also fine. I wouldn't stay at any roadhouses. Camping out somewhere in the bush is a lot more attractive to me and there are plenty of opportunities once you are on the Stuart Highway.

(There are no "some towns or other", but there are parking bays and rest areas and they can be nice. Otherwise any track where you can get off the main highway will be fine.)

As far as other advice goes, check out the page with budget tips for Ayers Rock. Other than that I can only say that it sounds like you are spending an awful lot of money and time, just to get there and back. It seems a shame that all you want to look at is Ayers Rock when there is so much more to see and do up there.

But then again, for some people the road is the destination and I'm sure you have your reasons.

Hope you'll enjoy the trip!

Photo by pinkiwinkitinki

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re: response
by: Hayley

Actually, the reason we wanted to drive is because we'd like to be able to see a lot of other things in the area - Alice Springs, King's Canyon, etc.

However, we're running into a lot of difficulty between our very tight budget and the very high rental costs for under-25 drivers. We were also hoping that the drive itself would be interesting, but if it's as boring as you say, would it just be better to fly to Alice Springs and rent a car there?

Thanks for all your help!

Yep, I would definitey suggest that
by: Birgit

Hi again Hayley,
Yes, I am glad you are considering that. It's definitely what I would suggest. You will save a lot on fuel costs and you will see just so much more. The driving around the Alice Springs area is much more interesting, and you will still be driving many hundreds of kilometres.

If you fly to Alice Springs you can do a round trip to Uluru/the Olgas - Kings Canyon - West MacDonnell Ranges, and you can even check out the East MacDonnell Ranges as well, they are worth it. And don't miss the Alice Springs Desert Park before you go anywhere.

Round trip to Uluru
by: Graham

Hi, could anyone that has travelled from Melbourne to Uluru and back again let me know how much they spent on fuel and could they recommend an itinerary? I plan on doing it over 8 days, 7 nights. Any info would be helpful. Thanks

Sharing Drive
by: Anonymous

Hi Harley,

When will you go to Uluru? I also want to go there on July. What is your schedule? If possible, we can share the car.

PS: I cannot drive but I can share the fees of gasoline.

traveling around Australia
by: Peggy

Hi I have family who is doing a round trip from woolagong to the top of Australia I really don't think they realize how much it will cost with the petrol cost being so high in some places there thinking of doing it in a Ford there will be 3 drivers can any one let me no if anyone who has done it my thinking it would cost around 14.ooo dollars and that's not thinking about food there is 5 of them doing it

will I be able to join
by: Uma

Hi Hayley
I'm 25 years old and have an Australian drivers license. I would like to join for the drive. I am comfortable with the dates and very happy to join and share all the costs involved.


Boring ripp off Country!
by: Anonymous

Bloody boring is right. I would never spend my money on that. I would save my money and travel to Italy to the Amalfi Coast. Ayers Rock is just a stupid rock with bull rushes for road travel spectacular. Australia is bloody the most expensive ripp off you can find!

Australia is amazing
by: Anonymous

I think Australia is anything but boring. I believe it's different with lots of natural beauty and wildlife and unusual wonders.
I'm not sure with which you are comparing it to claim as rip off. And I am not an Aussie to defend it.

Melbourne to Uluru
by: carrie

We're heading there over Easter and allowing 15 days. We are planning on doing the loop which takes 5 days, also planning on stopping at Dalhousie hot springs, great swimming.
Just starting to plan our route but would be interested in how much fuel it has taken, we're travelling in a Toyota Landcruiser, sleeping in a swag.

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