The Red Centre Way To
Uluru - Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta - the Olgas, Mereenie
Loop, Kings Canyon
in Northern Territory Australia
A tourist selfdrive hire guide and information
The Mereenie Loop Red Centre Way (formerly
Mereenie Loop Road)
The route runs initially along a minor loop
encompassing Larapinta and Namatjira Drives through
Aboriginal land-holdings from Alice Springs on to Glen
Helen or Hermannsburg, thereafter becoming a single
road progressing on to Kings Canyon. From there Luritja
Road runs down to join up with the Lasseter Highway,
feeding off the Stuart Highway at Erldunda and on to
Uluru. The route passes through some of the Northern
Territorys most spectacular countryside, and also offers
an alternate route for visitors travelling to and from
Uluru and Alice Springs.
The Mereenie Loop RoadThe Mereenie
Loop Road is an unsealed road for 197km of 337km, a
4WD is required.
This drive is one that memories are made off and photo's
will fill your home with. Imagine the 4 great Central
Australian icons areas all in one trip being Alice Springs,
Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta (formerley known as The Olgas)
and Uluru (formerley known as Ayers Rock) . The Red
Centre Way is the gateway to an abundance of natural
and aboriginal attractions through the ancient heart
of the Australian outback. Allow a minimum of 5 to 7
days for this journey through red desert sands, spinifex
and mulga forest.
Red Centre Way 5 Day Intinerary
Alice Springs to Glen Helen, 130 kms.
Glen Helen to Kings Canyon, 260 kms.
Kings Canyon to Uluru, 300 kms.
Continue experiencing Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
Uluru to Alice Springs, 445 kms. Highlights along the
way include Glen Helen Gorge, the Gardner Range, Finke
Gorge, Mount Connor and Palm Valley. 4WD is recommended
on the Meerenie, although conventional cars have been
known to survive the trip. My advice is drive slow -
veyr slow and enjoy the veiw (RAB2009)
Permits To Drive On the Mereenie
Loop Through Aboriginal Lands
The Loop will take you through areas where ten distinct
Aboriginal languages are spoken. Also, a permit is required
to travel on the Loop. You can obtain them from the
Central Land Council in Alice Springs ( 8953 4345),
Glen Helen Resort, Hermannsburg Petrol Station and Kings
Canyon Resort. The permit costs just $2.
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock
Welcome to Aboriginal land
Pukulngalya yanama, Ananguku Ngurakutu (welcome
greeting in Yankunytjatjara)
Pukulpa Pitjama, Ananguku Ngurakutu
(welcome greeting in Pitjantjatjara)
The traditional land owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National
Park, are direct descendants of the beings who created
our lands during the Tjukurpa (Creation Time). We have
always been here. We call ourselves Anangu, and would
like you to use that term for us.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a world-class visitor
destination and a key part of Australia's iconic Red
Centre. This living cultural landscape is the physical
and metaphoric heart of Australia, and was one of the
first areas to be identified as a National Landscape.
Ayres rock Uluru, also referred to as Ayers Rock, is
a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part
of the Northern Territory, central Australia. It lies
335 km (208 mi) south west of the nearest large town,
Alice Springs; 450 km (280 mi) by road. Kata Tjuta (The
Olgas) and Uluru are the two major features of the Uluru
- Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara
and Yankunytjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area.
It has many springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient
paintings. Uluru is listed as a World Heritage Site.
The local Pitjantjatjara people call the landmark Uluru
. This word has no particular meaning in their dialect,
also known as Pitjantjatjara, but it is also used as
a local family name by the senior Traditional Owners
On 19 July 1873, the surveyor William Gosse visited
Uluru and named it Ayers Rock in honour of the then-Chief
Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. Since
then, both names have been used, although Ayers Rock
was the most common name used by outsiders until recently.
In 1993, a dual naming policy was adopted that allowed
official names that consist of both the traditional
Aboriginal name and the English name.
On 15 December 1993, it was renamed "Ayers Rock/Uluru"
and became the first officially dual-named feature in
the Northern Territory. The order of the dual names
was officially reversed to "Uluru/Ayers Rock" on 6 November
2002 following a request from the Regional Tourism Association
in Alice Springs.
Uluru is one of Australia's most recognisable natural
icons. The world-renowned sandstone formation stands
348 m (1,142 ft) high (863 m/2,831 ft above sea level)
with most of its bulk below the ground, and measures
9.4 km (5.8 mi) in circumference.
Uluru is notable for appearing to change colour as
the different light strikes it at different times of
the day and year, with sunset a particularly remarkable
sight when it briefly glows red. Although rainfall is
uncommon in this semiarid area, during wet periods the
rock acquires a silvery-grey colour, with streaks of
black algae forming on the areas that serve as channels
for water flow. Uluru is an inselberg, literally "island
mountain", an isolated remnant left after the slow erosion
of an original mountain range. Uluru is also often referred
to as a monolith, although this is a somewhat ambiguous
term because of its multiple meanings, and thus a word
generally avoided by geologists.
The strata at Uluru are nearly vertical, dipping to
the south west at 85°, and have an exposed thickness
of at least 2,400 m (7,900 ft). The strata dip below
the surrounding plain and no doubt extend well beyond
Uluru in the subsurface, but the extent is not known.
When you visit Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park, you
should ensure that you explore the Cultural Centre first.
You will enjoy exploring the Park much more if you understand
Anangu culture and this very special cultural and natural
environment. At the Cultural Centre you can get an introduction
to Tjukurpa (law, knowledge, religion, philosophy),
Anangu art, Anangu way of life (traditional and current),
history, languages, wildlife and joint management of
the Park. The displays feature photo collages, oral
history sound panels, Pitjantjatjara language learning
interactives, soundscapes, videos and artefacts. There
are bush tucker sessions, plants walks and cultural
sessions for visitors to experience. Cultural Centre
notes are provided in Pitjantjatjara, English, Italian,
Japanese, German and French. A touch wall for visually
impaired people ensures that the messages are accessible
to everyone. Daily schedules vary, so ask at the Cultural
Centre Information Desk.
Ayers Rock Resort
Regardless of where you stay while you're at Voyages
Ayers Rock Resort, from the sanctuary of one of the
five hotels, or the intimacy of Voyages Ayers Rock Resort
Campground, you can experience the beauty of the living
cultural landscape of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park,
in Australia's Northern Territory. With over 65 tours,
local activities and attractions within the Resort and
the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, your days will be
action-packed. Ride a camel across the desert dunes.
Hop on a Harley, or embark on a base walk of Uluru (Ayers
Ayers Rock Resort Airport Fly direct to the heart of
Australia ... You can fly daily from Perth, Sydney,
Cairns and Alice Springs direct to Ayers Rock Airport.
Direct flights operate twice a week from Melbourne.
Flights from Darwin and Brisbane connect from Alice
Springs through to Ayers Rock Airport. Ayers Rock Airport
is conveniently located just six kilometres from Voyages
Ayers Rock Resort (10 minutes' travel). The airport
services both fixed and rotary winged aircraft and receives
up to on average 350,000 - 400,000 commercial passengers
per year. It's also a popular stopping off point for
private pilots and passengers travelling in their own
aircraft. From Ayers Rock Airport, you can enjoy scenic
desert flights over Uluru and Kata Tjuta. You will find
hire car companies, tour desks, a Qantas desk, Ayers
Rock Design retail outlet, and an information desk at
Airport Transfers - Complimentary return coach transfers
from Ayers Rock Airport to Voyages Ayers Rock Resort
meet every scheduled flight. The return transfer to
Ayers Rock Resort Airport collects you from your hotel
approximately 2 hours prior to flight departure please
check with reception for exact time. http://www.ayersrockresort.com.au/
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta have great cultural significance
for the Anangu Traditional landowners, who lead walking
tours to inform visitors about the local flora and fauna,
bush foods and the Aboriginal dreamtime stories of the
Kata Tjuta, also called Mount Olga or The Olgas owing
to its peculiar formation, is another rock formation
about 25 km (16 mi) from Uluru. Special viewing areas
with road access and parking have been constructed to
give tourists the best views of both sites at dawn and
The rock was originally sand, deposited as part of
an extensive alluvial fan that extended out from the
ancestors of the Musgrave, Mann and Petermann Ranges
to the south and west, but separate from a nearby fan
that deposited the sand, pebbles and cobbles that now
make up Kata Tjuta. The similar mineral composition
of the Mutitjulu Arkose and the granite ranges to the
south is now explained.
Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park
Voyages Kings Canyon Resort is located in a loop off
the main highway running between Ayers Rock and Alice
Springs. The sensitively designed resort is just seven
kilometres from Watarrka National Park, the home of
the magical sandstone formation of Kings Canyon.
Due to Voyages commitment to best environmental practice,
the resort has been built to blend harmoniously with
the surrounds. Kings Canyon Resort offers a wide range
of accommodation from the campground that enjoys the
outdoor stillness of the Red Centre to deluxe spa rooms
- offering understated comfort rather unexpected in
such a remote location.
It is the perfect oasis from which to explore the
wonders of Kings Canyon including the amazing rock formation
called the Lost City and the Garden of Eden an oasis
of an entirely different kind at the foot of the Canyon.
The flora of Kings Canyon offers a clear indication
that the climate of this whole area was once vastly
There is no better way to explore Central Australia
then at your own pace. As Kings Canyon lies just 3 hours
from Uluru (Ayers Rock) and approx. 4 hours from Alice
Springs, self drive is a popular option. The drive passes
some incredible sites including Standley Chasm, Ellery
Creek and Ormiston Gorge.
The Mereenie Loop Road brings you right to the doorstep
of the Resort. Please note: the Mareenie Loop Road is
an unsealed road for 197km of 337km, a 4WD is required.
Alternatively travel via the Stuart Highway, approx.
distance from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon 461km and
4.5 hours travelling time.
The Simpson Desert
The Simpson Desert, southeast of Alice Springs is one
of Australia's great wilderness areas containing giant
red sand dunes and interesting rock formations such
as Chambers Pillar and Rainbow Valley.
The 223 km long Larapinta Trail follows the West MacDonnell
Ranges and is considered among the world's great walking
The Alice Springs Desert Park
The Alice Springs Desert Park was created to educate
visitors on the many facets of the surrounding desert
A must see for every visitor to Alice! In the space
of just a few hours, you can discover many of the secrets
of the Central Australian deserts at the Desert Park.
Hundreds of species of plants and animals found across
Central Australian deserts can be seen, smelt and heard.
You will even have the opportunity to experience desert
habitats as they are at night, seeing some of the animals
near impossible to see in the wild.
Take an easy walking trail through three desert habitats
and discover Desert Rivers, Sand Country and the Woodland
habitat, witness free-flying birds of prey in the nature
theatre, see rare and endangered animals in the spectacular
nocturnal house, hear the insights into the interlinking
world of plants, animals and people from our local guides
and enjoy a cinematic journey through four-and-a-half
billion years of desert evolution during the 20 minute
cinematic journey of The Changing Heart. When you
leave the Desert Park you will go away with new stories,
skills and some of the secrets of the desert.
The MacDonnell Ranges
The MacDonnell Ranges run east and west of Alice Springs
and contain a number of hiking trails and swimming holes
such as Ormiston Gorge, Ormiston Gorge Creek, Red Bank
Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge.
Sections of Text Courtesy Of: http://wikitravel.org/
Photograghs Courtesy Of: NTTC - Northern
Terriotry Tourism Commission