Make the most of your trip-of-a-lifetime. Capture the iconic shots, and a few that express you!
It might seem obvious, but remember you’ll need to visit Uluru at sunrise and sunset to get the different iconic shots, and then there’s Kata Tjuta to snap too. Get to grips with the landscape of the park before you leave home, and save yourself some time on your trip-of-a-lifetime.
What: The sunset
Head to the ‘Car sunset viewing area’ about an hour before sunset to capture the iconic rock shot, when Uluru transforms through a series of shades of red - from salmon pink to fluorescent orange to burgundy, as the sun sinks below the horizon behind you.
Pro tip – The best spot to photograph this from is at the very end of the car park, which gives you a clear shot of the rock, without any trees.
If you’re looking for something a little different, head to the sunrise viewing area at sunset time instead. There, you can get a stunning shot of the sun setting between Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Uluru will be in silhouette and Kata Tjuta will be enveloped in a golden heavenly light. Not many people gather there at sunset, so it’s a great opportunity to escape the crowds and experience the serenity of the desert.
Pro tip – The sunrise platform offers really great elevated views, but if you like the dramatic silhouette of the dead tree seen in the pictures below, head to the second hut on the Talinguru Nyakuntjaku track.
The park posts sunrise and sunset times at the Entry Station and the Cultural Centre.
What: The sunrise
This is where you’ll get the iconic shot of the first rays of light waking up the colours of the rock in the early morning.
Talinguru Nyakuntjaku is the main sunrise viewing area, built specially for visitors to get their iconic sunrise shot. This location offers sweeping views of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the surrounding desert landscape.
Pro Tip – The sunrise platform gets very crowded at sunrise, making it difficult to use a tripod. If you need a stable shot, walk down the looping track and pick your favourite spot. There are plenty to choose from! If you want to photograph from the platform, wait a few minutes. Most tourists leave 15 minutes or so after the sun pops, leaving the place all to yourself!
For a different sort of shot, go to the ‘Car sunset viewing area’ at dawn –from there you’ll get Uluru in silhouette.
Pro Tip – To get the shot below, head to the end of the car park, as no trees will block your view! It will be dark for a long time, and setting up at this location guarantees you won’t get unpleasant surprises blocking parts of the rock if you’re doing a time-lapse.
What: The royal shot/Rock selfie
A good place to get a rock selfie is at the sunset car park. At sunset the colours will be starting to pop, like this one of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Or greet the dawn your way
If you want to capture the brilliant reds of Kata Tjuta at sunset there’s an easily accessible Sunset Viewing Area.
Remember you will need to be outside the park boundary by closing time.
Pro Tip – You can also capture the reds if you go to Walpa Gorge at sunset. Plus, it’s a quieter part of the park so you may get the place to yourself!
It can be easy to forget the little things in a place like Uluru, but don’t leave the park without getting some images of the greenery and wildflowers. There are more than 400 species of plants in the park – these are the trees and plants that have sustained the people of central Australia for thousands of year.
Depending on what time of year you visit, you may find grevilleas, hakeas, wattles and daisies to name a few.
Kata Tjuta is also a good place to photograph wildflowers – look out for karingana (striped mintbush) on the Walpa Gorge Walk, kalpir-kalpir (Sturts desert rose), altarpa (blue mallee)
Many animals at Uluru are culturally important, often they are ancestral creatures. You’re most likely to see birds, and reptiles like lizards and snakes.
Thorny devils are frequently seen crossing roads and make an excellent subject thanks to their beautiful colours and unusual appearance.
Mutitjulu Waterhole is the only permanent water source in the park so it’s a good place to look out for wildlife. If it’s rained recently you may see some of Uluru’s frogs. Yes, frogs!
If you are lucky you may see rock wallabies, emus or camels at Kata Tjuta.
The night sky
Out in the desert you’ll get an eyeful of stars, and who doesn’t want to get a great pic of that? The park is closed at night, but you can still get a picture of the night sky at the resort, on the Sounds of Silence dinner, or the Tali Wiru dining experience atop an isolated dune overlooking Uluru and the distant domes of Kata Tjuta. Ayers Rock Resort also runs astronomy and photography holidays at various times of the year. See their website for more details.
There’s not much that compares to seeing the Red Centre from the air. Imagine walking the base of the towering rock, winding through the massive domes of Kata Tjuta, and then seeing them reduced to pebbles as you take in the vast Australian outback!
In short, make sure you give yourself enough time to photograph the many faces of Uluru, and take home some unforgettable shots of the Australian outback. And don’t forget to share them with us!
What’s your best shot of Uluru?