Written by Laura Feidelson, Wake Forest '18
Fly to Ayers Rock and head straight to the car rental pickup. Then settle into a hotel. We stayed at the Outback Pioneer Hotel, which, unfortunately, I would not recommend. There are two other hotels in the area, Desert Gardens Hotel, and Sails in the Desert. That evening, make sure you book a Field of Light tour, which has extended its exhibition until March 2018. A must see!
Although a 5:30 am wake up is tough, it is worth it to see the sunrise over Ayers Rock. Afterwards, drive 45 minutes to Uluru-Kata Tjuta, and hike around the entire rock, the Valley of the Winds walk—about 4.5 miles. The terrain varies from easy to a bit challenging. Afterwards, get packed up and back in the car to start the 4-and-a-half-hour drive to Kings Canyon. Check into the Kings Canyon Resort (as it is the only hotel in the area).
Do yet another 5:30 am wake-up for another beautiful sunrise. Yes, again worth it. After a quick breakfast at the hotel, make your way to the base of the Kings Canyon Trail. This hike is an absolute MUST. One of my favorite things I did throughout my entire abroad experience. Afterwards, gather your things for yet another four-hour car ride to the last bit of the road trip, Alice Springs.
Today we slept in a bit later and enjoyed the breakfast buffet at our friend’s hotel (as we were staying in the YHA hostel, which I do not recommend). We went on a quick hike (in an attempt to hike to the natural springs but quickly realized they were much farther away than we had hoped). By midday, we were on our way to the Alice Springs airport to fly back to Sydney.
Insider Tip: The roads from Uluru to Alice Springs are bare. There is nothing in sight for hours—no gas stations or bathrooms so make sure you fill up on gas and snacks before the start of the car ride! There is not much to look at (just orange rock…little vegetation), but with some good music and good company, the car ride is enjoyable.