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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 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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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.

Uluru Bicycle Hire (Departure 1)

Take a morning ride around the base of Uluru by bicycle. The 15 kilometre self-guided journey is easily made within 3 hours and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Stop and explore the pure beauty of this spiritual and unique wonder of the world at your own pace. Once you have finished your ride, you are free to explore the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre. Includes return hotel transfers operated by Uluru Hop On & Hop Off. Children toddler seats and tag-a-longs available on request, subject to availability. Departure times: Return transfer from your accommodation by Uluru Hop ON Hop Off 7:15am December 7:45am February 8:30am March 9:30am October and November 10:00am September 10:15am 16-30 April and May 10:30am 1-15 April and June to August Duration approx. 4 hours

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
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Longitude 131°

Longitude 131° offers an exclusive experience of Australia’s spirited heartland.

Emu Walk Apartments

Ayers Rock Resort’s Emu Walk Apartments offer the luxury of newly renovated, fully serviced apartments with all the practicalities of home.

Ayers Rock Campground

Located within the Ayers Rock Resort, the well-equipped campground is an ideal base from which to experience the beauty of the living cultural landscape in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
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Bush Food Experience

Learn about Australian and local native bush foods with a tasting of seasonal seeds, fruits and spices. Your knowledgeable guide will describe how for centuries the Indigenous people used the bush for food.  You'll find out about the uses of certain plants, fruits, grains and spices and about traditional food preparation methods. Enjoy a cooking demonstration of a recipe using some of the ancient native bush ingredients. Tour duration approx. 45 minutes. 

Mani Mani Indigenous Cultural Theatre

Mani-Mani Theatre Company’s unique sound, lighting, 3D effects and performance take you on a visually captivating experience transporting you to the ancient lands of Central Australia where the story of Walawuru, Kakalyalya & Kaanka unravels. The symbolic story of Walawuru, Kakalyalya & Kaanka is a tale of love, jealousy and greed. Expressed through ‘Mani-Mani’, the local art form of storytelling, this contemporary Indigenous performance brings to life the ancient ancestral beings Walawuru the Wedge-Tailed Eagle and his two wives; Kaanka the black crow and Kakalyalya the white cockatoo. Walawuru is happy with his two wives but little does he know Kaanka is evil and very jealous of the kind and caring Kakalyalya. The word ‘Mani-Mani’ comes from the Yankunytjatjara & Pitjantjatjara language of the Anangu people of Central Australia. Anangu people would often tell stories by drawing symbols in the sand using a stick taken from a branch of the Mani-Mani tree. The stories were often about ancestors, real events in history and the Tjukurpa creation time. Please note: this tour will recommence 5 February 2018

Ecology & Museum Tour

Wintjiri museum provides an educational display highlighting local history, Aboriginal culture, geology, flora and fauna. On this interpretative tour of the museum your Aboriginal guide will introduce you to the region's unique ecology and classes of mammals and fauna types not found anywhere else in the world.  Gain insights into the Anangu land conservation and management practices as well as a brief historical overview; starting 30,000 years ago with the Aboriginal habitation to the early European explorers, and the development of tourism at Uluru. Tour duration approx. 45 minutes.
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3 Day Best of Uluru Itinerary

Experience everything Uluru and the surrounds has to offer with the top once-in-a-lifetime tours and activities on this 2 night Best of Uluru stay including: A Night at Field of Light Desert Awakenings sunrise tour Kata Tjuta Sunset Various guest activities

3 Day Culture Itinerary

Immerse yourself in the magic of this cultural living landscape with this all-encompassing 2 night cultural itinerary including: Sounds of Silence dinner under the stars Dot painting Desert Awakenings sunrise tour Various guest activities

3 Day Luxury Itinerary

Your 2 night Luxury and Indulgence stay is overflowing with experiences that will leave you with a lifetime of lasting memories. Includes Mayu Wiru intimate fine dining experience, an intimate Desert Awakenings tour, a helicopter ride and various guest activities to experience at Ayers Rock Resort. This itinerary is suited to couples or 2 singles wanting that indulgent Outback break. Includes: Tali Wiru fine dining under the outback sky Desert Awakenings tour Helicopter ride (requires a min. 2 passengers) Variety of guest activities
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