This article contains the best travel advice you’ll find online for people who want to travel from Melbourne to Uluru.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Uluru is the ancient heart of Australia.
The local Anangu people believe that ancestral beings created the majestic red rock during the Dreaming.
Archaeologists say it rose from the sea, more than 500 million years ago.
Fast forward to the present: Uluru now sits 348 metres above the surrounding desert plain, and it’s even visible from space.
More than 250,000 people from around the world visit this sacred World Heritage Site every year to learn about traditional culture, hike through rocky paths and camp under the stars.
Even though international borders are now closed, there’s no shortage of interstate visitors keen to explore the wonders of our vast backyard – starting with watching the sun rise over Uluru.
#1. How to get to Uluru from Melbourne (options)
There are 3 main ways you can get form Melbourne to Uluru
- Fly by plane (quickest and easiest way)
- Take a road trip in your car (enjoy the scenery along the way)
- Train travel (most expensive)
#2. Melbourne to Uluru distance
Hint: It’s too far to walk.
✈️ Air travel:
Melbourne to Ayers Rock Airport by plane: 1, 899 km (3 hours)
Melbourne to Alice Springs by plane: 1860 km (2 hours 51 minutes)
🚌 From the Airports to Uluru:
We offer airport transfers, but some travellers also enjoy booking a car. Here’s for far the drive is:
Ayers Rock Airport to Uluru by car: 30.1 km via State Route 4 and Uluru Rd (29 minutes)
Alice Springs to Uluru by car: 467.8 km via Stuart Highway/A87 and State Route 4 (4 hours and 53 minutes)
🚗 Driving from Melbourne to Uluru:
Melbourne to Uluru by car: 2,312 km via Stuart Highway (25 hours, which is roughly 3 days of driving)
Melbourne to Adelaide via the Overland: 737km (10 hours 25 minutes)
Adelaide to Uluru via The Ghan: 1600 km (17 hours)
#3. Driving from Melbourne to Uluru
2,312 km, 25 hours (Roughly 3 days of riving)
It’s worth spending three days on the road just to appreciate the native forests and craggy mountains outside your window, before reaching the dusky red-gold of the Aussie outback.
You don’t need a 4WD for this trip, which can be done in 25 hours on completely sealed roads.
However, if you have a 4WD and feel adventurous, there are plenty of rocky roads just for you.
Expect to spend around $200 to $400 on petrol each way, depending on your vehicle requirements. You also need to include the cost of overnight stays at motels, hotels or caravan parks. Check the cost of petrol here, if you want to fill up for the cheapest prices while on the road.
Pace yourself on this long drive by taking breaks every 8 to 10 hours, or sooner. You won’t want to rush, as there’s so much to see along the way.
#4. Melbourne to Uluru itinerary when driving
Here’s a suggestion of locations you can visit while on the road. Note there are many other wonderful options not covered here.
Grampians National Park in Horsham, Victoria
Distance from Melbourne to Grampians National Park: 257.3 km (3 hours)
You haven’t been driving for too long, but this is the perfect excuse to get out and stretch your legs anyway. Who can say no to rugged sandstone mountains that are teeming with creatures big and small? This park is wonderful for hiking, climbing, camping or simply cruising through nature. There are cascading waterfalls and wildflowers aplenty – a real treat for the eyes!
Accommodation: Comfort Inn May Park is close to many attractions in Horsham, including the supermarket and petrol station. The suites are cozy, clean and modern!
Distance from Horsham to Mildura: 355.2 km (3 hours and 51 minutes)
Travellers of all ages will find something to do in the buzzing regional city of Mildura. Food lovers can fill their bellies with some of Australia’s finest locally-grown produce. Graze on fresh grapes, pistachios, melons, almonds and more as you browse the Sunraysia Farmers Market (held every first and third Saturday of the month). Do you feel like getting some exercise after all that driving? Go paddle boarding down the Murray River, or take things a little easier in a paddle steamer.
Accommodation: Mildura Motor Inn is a family-friendly hotel with a flat screen TV in every room, free parking and a pool that guests can use. The Happy Sumo Sushi Bar is nearby, for when you’re feeling peckish.
Port Augusta, South Australia
Distance from Mildura to Port Augusta: 531.6 km (5 hours and 41 minutes)
Don’t drive through Port Augusta without checking out the Wadlata Outback Centre – a popular attraction that’s won multiple state awards. Spend a few hours as a time traveller learning about the history of the region (all the way back to the dinosaurs). Children and adults alike love the hands-on exhibits and Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories.
You don’t need a green thumb to enjoy nature showing off at the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden. There’s a fenced play area for children to run wild, and a beautiful cafe that sells delicious food with native ingredients such as quandong!
Accommodation: You could stick to the green theme of the day and spend the night at Crossroads Ecomotel, a modern and energy-efficient motel that even has two dedicated pet-friendly rooms for furry friends.
Coober Pedy, South Australia
Distance from Port Augusta to Coober Pedy: 540.2 km (5 hours and 36 minutes)
Opals, opals and more opals! This small mining town is every aspiring geologist’s dream come true. You’ll find the world’s biggest opals on display, and can walk through historic mines. Do you know the best part? The majority of locals actually live underground! Coober Pedy features many “dugout” underground homes, churches and art galleries – which you can visit.
Accommodation: The Lookout Cave Underground Motel gives you the unique experience of sleeping underground in a cave. It has all the modern features that people want, while giving you a rustic sense of adventure with the natural sandstone surroundings.
Uluru, Northern Territory
Distance from Coober Pedy to Uluru: 755.1 km (7 hours and 40 minutes)
You’ve made it after a long day on the road, so settle into Ayers Rock Resort for some well-earned rest. There’s a swimming pool, playground, supermarket, restaurants, bars and more. You’re only 20 minutes away from Uluru, so you can ignore your alarm clock the next morning (unless you want to catch the stunning sunrise, of course)!
#5. Melbourne to Uluru flight time
The flight takes around 3 hours, depending on which airport you fly into. The average price when flying from Melbourne to Uluru is $162 (one way) and the cheapest day to travel is Tuesday, according to this site.
There are two options when flying to Uluru from Melbourne.
- Direct flight from Melbourne to Ayers Rock Airport (3 hours and 5 minutes)
- Direct flight from Melbourne to Alice Springs (2 hours and 55 minutes)
If you want to spend less time on the road, your best option is to get a direct flight to Ayers Rock Airport, which is a short 30 minute drive to Uluru. On the other hand, a 5 hour road trip from Alice Springs to Uluru is a good way to enjoy the diversity of the outback.
#6. Melbourne to Uluru train
Traveling by train is the best way to drink in the scenery, as you don’t need to keep your eyes on the road like when you’re driving. Just sit back and watch the changing colours of the desert flash by your window, while sipping a fine wine.
There’s no direct train from Melbourne, so you need to travel to Adelaide first (either by car, train, bus or plane).
The entire Ghan trip is around 54 hours, or two and a bit days. Passengers can choose to end their journey at Alice Springs or continue onwards.
Adelaide to Uluru via The Ghan: 1600 km (17 hours)
Cost: around $1,599 during high season for a one-way trip (single)
If you want to enjoy the entire trip by rail, you can first catch a train from Melbourne to Adelaide.
Melbourne to Adelaide via The Overland: 737km (10 hours 25 minutes)
Cost: around $164
#7. Some activities in Uluru (no matter how you travel there):
There’s plenty to do in Uluru, here are a few of our favourite activities:
Mala Walk: The quietest time to explore the ancient campsites, caves and rock art is sunset, when the guided tours have ended for the day. Sit on a bench near the waterhole at Kantu Gorge and watch the sun sink at the foot of the giant rock.
Field of Light: Nothing can compete with the vibrant, starry sky in Uluru – unshielded from the light pollution of cities. However, the Field of Light display comes close, as far as man-made marvels go. This fantasy garden bewitches the desert with colourful jewels of light that kiss the ground as far as the eye can see.
Sounds of Silence: Spend four magical hours dining on canapes, wine and bush tucker under the outback sky, as Uluru practically looks over your shoulder. When the stars come out to play, see if you can find the Milky Way, Zodiac signs and Southern Cross (with help from the resident star expert).
The Uluru Cultural Centre: Give yourself at least two hours to learn more about the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Anangu culture. Browse the vibrant traditional art and hire a bike to ride around Uluru.
If you’re looking for a real conversation starter for when you return home, get yourself some mala poo paper by making a donation at the info desk. Yes, that’s right: this unique paper is made from the droppings of the mala wallaby – a threatened marsupial protected by the centre.
#8. Uluru tours from Melbourne
Uluru is a sacred destination with a rich history spanning thousands of years. Join a tour group or hire a private charter, to get the most out of this sunburnt land. The tour company plans memorable activities, while also respecting the wishes of traditional custodians (such as not climbing Uluru).
Not only does this remove the stress of planning, but you also meet new people and learn about the unique culture.
Why choose to experience the beauty of Uluru with Emu Run Experience?
We have multiple tour options to fit your travel plans – departing at different times from Alice Springs or Ayers Rock Resort Accommodation.
Our driver will pick you up from either location in an air-conditioned coach.
See the best of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and its surroundings with our accredited and passionate guides.
Hear ancient stories, go on a guided walk to the Waterhole and enjoy good food while the sun sets over your dining companion Uluru. All activities are safe for any age group and fitness level. Meals, beverages and snacks are provided – catering to a range of dietary requirements.