This is a 3 day tour, although we had to leave mid-way day 3 to fly out of Uluru airport rather than back to Alice. I'm in my 50's and have rheumatoid arthritis so took an inflatable mattress to put under the swag. I'd recommend that if you're worried about comfort. Sleeping under the stars was fantastic, and well worth any cold or inconvenience
Tour guide Josh was fun, engaging and professional - he'd been in the territory about 9 months and was still learning lots about the area himself.
There were 2 women our age and then a range of travellers from age @ 20s and 30's. German, French, Welsh, English, South Korean, Taiwanese, American and Swedish - so it was interesting to see many young travellers thought seeing Uluru as a rite of passage where our kids go to America, Bali or Europe!
Value for money - really good. Food, water, beer, fuel. all these things are more expensive because of the huge distance from major cities like Adelaide. I don't think we would have seen so much for the price had we travelled by ourselves.
Water - the recommendation for our tour in winter was 1.5 litres. There is a water barrel on the bus which was more than adequate. Water stations at all major attractions but if you're doing the Kings Canyon rim walk the water is at the start and finish. Remember the tour has to cater for all levels of fitness and they're trying to keep you safe and hydrated.
Sunscreen - the UV level in Australia is extreme. One of the French girls with auburn hair/ fair skin got very sun-burned on the first day doing the rim walk. Take light weight cotton or woollen clothing and layer. New Zealand lightweight merino was ideal for me as a fair skinned Aussie.
The food was fine - sandwiches or wraps, fruit and muesli bays for lunch. Beef or chicken with pasta or rice and vegies. The tour caters all dietary requests and the tour guide tried to accommodate everyone. The gluten free folks probably had the hardest time . This was simply due to the cooking experience level of the guide. If you're worried - talk to them The small bush flies bothered some people - we have great big blow flies around Canberra so they didn't worry me as much. Take a fly net for your face as they're cheap and light weight.
Toilets - you may have to go in the bush the first day between Alice and Kings Canyon. There's a long drop dunny at the Curtin Springs campsite, and composting (no-flush) toilets in some other areas.. No shower the first night, but you can make up for that the 2nd day at Yulara camp ground. Hot water, mobile phone reception and flushing toilets looked really good.
The tour takes in - Kings Canyon, we didn't feel fit enough for the uphill climb around the canyon rim but had a good time inside the canyon chatting to other tourists. The rIm walk is a one way track for safety reason. I cheated and walked up the exit for @ 30 minutes to take photos.
Kata Tjuta on 2nd day was phenomenal - its all conglomerate rock. Relatively easy climb to Karu lookout even with arthritic hips! Stunning views.
We got to Uluru on afternoon of second. Stunning - all the photos we see tend to be at the same angle so the different views are phenomenal. Mala walk and sunset viewing. Very cloudy so the sunset colour change was brief but still spectacular.
Third morning we had sunrise viewing, breakfast at the viewing site and then back over the road to do the base walk - around three hours.
Okay - to climb or not to climb. I've read other reviews of this tour and whether as visitors we should be able to climb and I find some of the posts quite bigoted.
If I invited you to my place to look at my garden and the view of the bush, would you want to climb on the roof because the view was different? Or if you visit The Vatican do you tell them that their religion is wrong?
There's a sign at the entry asking you not to climb and explaining why - both for safety and cultural reasons. The Anagu traditional owners ask you not to climb. That's good enough for me.
On the day we were there the climb was supposed to be closed due to high winds, but people went up anyway - whether because they didn't know or didn't care, I can't say.
Yes, there are areas where you're asked not to photograph but there are lots of beautiful areas you can photograph. Do you really need to keep a picture of every single rock face to hold a feeling for how beautiful this place is?
I'm sure other visitors have photographed and posted pictures of sacred areas but do you really need to do the same?
I disagree with other reviewers that there was political pressure to do anything. It was made quite clear to us that climbing was discourage. If you really did want to do that you could go up when the others did the base walk.
If anyone really needs to climb an Australian monolith both Kokerbin Rock ( near Bruce Rock, WA) and Mount Augustus (near Carnavon, WA) are available. Mount Augustus is the largest monolith in the world. It is 2.5 times larger than Uluru (Ayers Rock) standing 858 m above the surrounding plain and 1105 metres above sea level.
I've climbed Kokerbin Rock and yes it was interesting, but essentially its a view of a vast, dry salt affected area. I personally enjoyed the base walk at Uluru and felt it was a great use of the limited time we had available.
Make sure you've worn in your walking shoes before you go.
Go for yourself, enjoy and make up your own mind.
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