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History & Facts

Read all about the past and present history of the tourism development at Ayers Rock Resort.

History & Facts


1950’S
 
Tourism officially arrived at Uluru, when Alice Springs resident Len Tuit ran the first tours and established a base camp to the west of the Uluru climb.
 1958
VISITOR NUMBERS WERE FIRST OFFICIALLY RECORDED, AND THE RECORDS SHOW THAT 2,296 INTREPID SOULS TRAVELLED FROM ALICE SPRINGS FOR UP TO 12 HOURS THROUGH DUST OR MUD, DEPENDING ON THE SEASON, TO SEE WHAT WAS TO BECOME THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS ROCK.
 1959
Leases were granted to 2 tour companies for the operation of a hotel, 4 motels, a store and service station at Uluru.
1960’S
IMPROVEMENTS WERE MADE TO THE ALICE SPRINGS - ULURU ROAD, LEADING TO AN INCREASE OF VISITORS TO MORE THAN 23,000 BY 1968. 
1970’S
It was decided that the accommodation village and airstrip should be moved outside of the Park area. The Aboriginal Land Council cleared the location for the new town site and planning for the development got underway.
 1980
MANAGEMENT OF THE YULARA DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LTD.
 1983
The Ayers Rock Campground was opened.
 1984
THE FOUR SEASONS HOTEL AND THE SHERATON PROPERTY NOW KNOWN RESPECTIVELY AS VOYAGES DESERT GARDENS HOTEL AND VOYAGES SAILS IN THE DESERT WERE OPENED. THE RESORT TOWN SQUARE, INCLUDING THE BANK, BECAME OPERATIONAL AND THE PRIMARY SCHOOL WAS COMPLETED.
 1985
The Commonwealth Government handed the Ayers Rock (Uluru) National Park back to Traditional Aboriginal Owners.
 1986
THE PARK MANAGEMENT WAS TRANSFERRED FROM THE CONSERVATION COMMISSION OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY TO THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.
 1988
Yulara Maisonettes, currently known as Emu Walk Apartments, were officially opened.
 1989
The new coach campground was opened.
 1990
RED CENTRE HOTEL, NOW KNOWN AS VOYAGES OUTBACK PIONEER HOTEL & LODGE, WAS OPENED. 
 1992
The Northern Territory conducted a review of commercial Resort operations and infrastructure and (as a result) government instigated a complete restructure of Yulara in early 1992.

8 years of competition at Yulara had failed to deliver sufficient returns to warrant ongoing public sector ownership and management, accumulating $90 million of debt. In July 1992 The Yulara Development Company Limited was dissolved and the Ayers Rock Resort Company Limited was constituted. The Sheraton Hotel was sold and all hotels now came under one management.
 1994
ULURU-KATA TJUTA NATIONAL PARK BECAME DUAL WORLD HERITAGE LISTED; IN 1987 FOR ITS OUTSTANDING NATURAL VALUES AND THEN IN 1994 FOR ITS OUTSTANDING CULTURAL VALUES.
 1997
The decision to fully privatise the Yulara township and accompanying 104 square kilometres of land attracted the interest of General Property Trust (GPT) and in 1997 the Ayers Rock Resort Company Limited was sold for $220 million. 
 2000
AYERS ROCK RESORT MANAGEMENT CHANGED ITS NAME TO VOYAGES HOTELS & RESORTS.
 2003
$100 million master plan completed, including major upgrade of Desert Gardens Hotel, refurbishment of Emu Walk Apartments, expansion of Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge, launch of The Lost Camel (transformed in 2011 to staff accommodation), extension of residential facilities, and significant capital works to improve resort infrastructure.
 2006
An established 344,357 visitors were recorded visiting Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park 
 2011
THE INDIGENOUS LAND AND SEA CORPORATION PURCHASED AYERS ROCK RESORT AND ESTABLISHED VOYAGES INDIGENOUS TOURISM AUSTRALIA. 
 2012
Voyages invested $43 million in improving the Resort experience including total refurbishment of the 5-star Sails in the Desert hotel and the addition of Uluru Meeting Place conference facility. 
 2013
In line with Voyages commitment to increase Indigenous employment, Indigenous staff numbers grew from 2 in 2010 to 204 including 60 trainees. A total of 74 trainees successfully completed their traineeship at the National Indigenous Training Academy. 
 2014
MARKS THE 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF AYERS ROCK RESORT. 
 2015
Completed refurbishments of the one and two bedroom apartments at Emu Walk Apartments.
30TH ANNIVERSARY OF AYERS ROCK (ULURU) BEING HANDED BACK TO TRADITIONAL OWNERS.
 2016
Completed the installation of the Tjintu Solar Field which will produce around 15% of the Resort's average needs, equivalent to the energy consumption of around 150 Australian households.
COMPLETED INTERNAL REFURBISHMENT OF GARDEN VIEW ROOMS AND REDECORATION OF RECEPTION AREA AT DESERT GARDENS HOTEL.

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Create your own itinerary using the My Itinerary planner. Start by browsing and adding experiences to your itinerary to help you plan your days. Then select accommodation that best suits your style and budget before finalising your perfect Uluru escape. You can easily save your itinerary and come back to it at a later date.

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1 Day Hop On Hop Off Pass

This 1-day Hop On Hop Off pass gives you the freedom to explore Uluru at your own pace for one day. From sunrise to sunset, hop on and hop off as much as you like throughout the day. Additionally, this pass also entitles you to one bonus transfer to and from Kata Tjuta within the same day. Download timetable and map

15min Uluru and Resort Postcard Flight (daytime)

Limited on time? Take to the skies on a 15 minute scenic helicopter flight that takes you past Ayers Rock Resort and onto breathtaking views of the desert landscape and the majestic Uluru, as well as Kata Tjuta in the distance. Enjoy this tour anytime throughout the day, excluding sunrise and sunset. Tour duration is approx. 1 hour

15min Rock Blast (Daytime)

Launch off on a rock blasting adventure and take in the sights of Ayers Rock Resort and surrounding desert landscape as you make your way towards Uluru. Enjoy a panoramic view of the breathtaking scenery unique to the Red Centre.  Tour duration approx. 1 hour
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Longitude 131°

Located adjacent to Ayers Rock Resort, Longitude 131° offers an exclusive experience of the Australian Outback, rich in cultural heritage and history.

Emu Walk Apartments

Ayers Rock Resort's 4 star self-contained apartments: Only 20km from Uluru, the newly renovated 1 and 2 bedroom apartments are sheltered behind gardens of native trees. Lowest Price Guarantee.

Emu Walk Apartments

Ayers Rock Resort's 4 star self-contained apartments: Only 20km from Uluru, the newly renovated 1 and 2 bedroom apartments are sheltered behind gardens of native trees. Lowest Price Guarantee.
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Bush Food Experience

Learn about Australian and local bush tucker and how for many centuries local Indigenous groups would hunt, gather and prepare these bush foods. This will be followed by a fun cooking demonstration utilising a flavoursome Indigenous ingredient that you can try at home. Tour duration: approx. 45 minutes.  Days and times: daily, 1pm Location: Arkani Theatre, Amphitheatre area

Didgeridoo Workshop

Listen to the enchanting sounds of the didgeridoo. Yidaki, the traditional Aboriginal term for the didgeridoo, was discovered in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. During this workshop, guests are invited to try and play the didgeridoo. Note: Culturally, the didgeridoo is only played by males. We request your understanding and respect for Indigenous culture during this activity. Tour duration: approx. 45 minutes. Days and times: Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at 3:00pm Location: Resort Town Square, Lawn Stage

Bush Yarn

Listen to the stories of Aboriginal culture and tradition where you will be shown men’s weapons that were used for hunting or women’s tools and techniques to gather bush tucker in the central desert. These sessions may also provide an opportunity to learn aspects about the local Pitjantjatjara language.. Tour duration: approx 30 minutes. Days and times: daily, 10am, 10:30am, 11am, 11:30am Location: Circle of Sand, Town Square Lawn
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3 Day Uluru Outback Adventure Itinerary

Discover adventure in the Australian outback over 2 adventure-packed nights. Witness an amazing sunrise over Uluru. Get an adrenaline rush on a Harley Davidson ride. Enjoy dinner under the stars at the award-winning Sounds of Silence and various guest activities. Tours in this itinerary requires a moderate level of fitness.

3 Day Uluru Budget Itinerary

Explore Australia's Red Centre on a budget in 2 packed nights. Experience the magic of Uluru. Enjoy a dinner under the stars at the award-winning Sounds of Silence, walk through the Field of Light and discover various guest activities that will provide you with unforgettable memories. This itinerary is designed for those wanting a budget adventure.

3 Day Family Itinerary

Discover the spiritual heart of Australia with this 2 night Uluru family itinerary including Astro Tour, Uluru and Kata Tjuta sunrise tour, Dot painting and various guest activities. The tours in this suggested Uluru Family itinerary are suited to families with children 5 years and over.
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Please note that travellers from outside the Northern Territory will be required to obtain a travel permit prior to entering NT. To board your flight into the NT, you must bring a hard copy of your permit to the airport.

Please refer to our FAQ page for the most up-to-date information on travel restrictions and requirements.