I'm staing just outside Melbourne at the end September into October and would like to know the best way to see Ayres Rock and also prices?
We stayed at the resort for 3 nights to give us plenty of time to do what we wanted. We arrived in the resort about 2pm. We booked the sounds of silence dinner for that same evening. We were picked up at about 6 and dropped back about 11pm. It was an amazing experience and I would urge you to read the many reports in here about it.
The next morning we got up and got the coach to Ayers rock to do the sunrise and base walk. That was great and took us about 4 hours to do with plenty of opportunities to take photos etc.
The next day( our last day) we took atrip to the Olgas and did the Valley of the winds walk with sunset bbq. That was fantastic! The walk was pretty rocky so you need to be mobile with a good level of fitness. Seeing the Olgas at sunset sipping a glass of redwine was priceless. Then the bbq after was great.
We stayed at the Sails In the desert which is the most expensive hotel but in my opinion worth the money.
I plan to go again in about 6 years with just my husband and stay at the Longitude tents!
In my opinion, you should fly direct from Melbourne to Ayers Rock as Alice Springs is still a 5 hour drive from where you want to be. Only Qantas flies into the Ayers Rock airport, so that drives up prices a bit, but you should be able to find flights for about $260 one way (so $520 return).
I just searched qantas.com.au there with example dates of out on Friday 29th Sept and back on Mon 2 Oct and the cheapest is $429 return. Quite a good deal!
Accommodation prices are always going to be a killer, but check out wotif.com.au for some ideas on the varying places to stay.
I took the Ghan from Melbourne to Ayers Rock last year and loved the whole experience of doing it by train, it does take 2 nights on the train but the journey was lovely and the train was very comfy. You depart from melbourne and travel overnight to Adelaide where I spent the day going to museums etc, then you get on the train again that night and the next morning you arrive in Alice Springs. I stayed in a hostel in Alice and did a tour of Ayers rock from there which was very cheap and a great experience. if you want comfort be warned Ayers Rock is one of the most expensive places to stay in Australia, there aren't many hotels and they are all over priced. I wouldn't recommend staying in Ayers as there is much more to do in Alice springs but it is a long drive from alice, think about 4 hours, maybe longer but there are plenty of tours you can buy. The train is great and you can get a cabin or sleep in a normal chair, which is very cheap.