Few things are more quintessentially Australian than an Outback camping or caravanning trip. Waking up to breathtaking Red Centre sunrises that live up to the region’s name and, with no light pollution, falling asleep under sparkling starry skies at night — it’s an experience unlike anything else. There’s a lot to consider when planning your Northern Territory camping experience, so we’ve compiled a camping guide to ensure that you get the most out of your Outback camping or caravanning trip.

The Australian Outback: What to Know Before Camping

Ayers Rock Campground in Uluru offers an authentically Australian camping experience. Located a short 20-minute drive from Uluru-Kata Tjut̲a National Park, you’ll find yourself camping at the doorstep of a UNESCO World Heritage site that is not only a natural wonder but also a place steeped in history, as it holds significant cultural importance to the local An̲angu, the Traditional Custodians of the land.

Depending on your camp setup, the best time to plan a camping or caravanning trip is during the region’s cooler months. From April to October, the weather is milder, allowing you to explore and camp comfortably without the heat. However, even in the cooler season, you should follow safety protocols: always carry plenty of water, wear sun protection, and stay on designated trails to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while you explore the Spiritual Heart of Australia.

people stargazing in Uluru
Couple camping in Uluru reading by their tent

Ayers Rock Campground

Outback camping in the vast, open landscape, with its arid climate and stunning natural beauty offers a sense of solitude and connection with nature - it is an experience that is hard to find elsewhere. Ayers Rock Campground offers everything you need to make your camping or caravanning trip a memorable one.

Located within Ayers Rock Resort, this campground is the only legal place to set up camp near Uluru-Kata Tjut̲a National Park. It provides a safe and comfortable base for your exploration, with a range of facilities and amenities to make your stay enjoyable. With easy access to Uluru and Kata Tjut̲a, it's the perfect base for your outback camping adventure.

Essential Camping Gear for the Outback

It is key to choose the right gear for your Uluru camping trip. The type of gear you require will depend on if you’re caravanning or camping. Generally, you’ll want to make sure to bring a cosy sleeping bag, a head torch for nighttime activities, and folding chairs for relaxing after a day of Outback adventure. Since temperatures can drop significantly at night, bring layers of clothing to stay warm — consider a beanie, gloves, and lightweight items that you can easily remove as the day heats up.

Sun protection is crucial, so pack sunscreen, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and lip balm with SPF. If you’re visiting in the summer, insect repellent and a fly net will help keep the bugs at bay during your outdoor adventures. You'll also need sturdy, comfortable walking shoes for exploring and a water bottle or canteen to stay hydrated. Plan to drink at least one litre of water for every hour you spend outside to ensure you're adequately hydrated in the dry Outback climate.

family having a picnic in uluru
Couple cooking on a bbq in Uluru

Planning Your Uluru Camping Itinerary

The campground provides easy access to the local IGA and service station, offers a complimentary shuttle service, BBQ facilities, and its own swimming pool. In addition to these amenities, guests staying at Ayers Rock Campground have full access to free daily programming such as guided walks and Indigenous bush yarns.

In addition to free guest activities, there are several bucket list experiences at Ayers Rock Resort that you won’t want to miss.

One can’t-miss experience is Wintjiri Wiru — a captivating cultural storytelling experience that vividly brings to life a sacred ancestral Indigenous story through a mesmerising display of choreographed drones, lasers, and projections that light up the desert night sky above Uluru. This unique experience, which has received numerous awards, is a collaborative effort with senior An̲angu from Kal̲t̲ukatjara to Mut̲itjulu, the Traditional Custodians of the region. It stands as the world's largest ongoing drone display, offering a stunning visual spectacle that weaves ancient narratives with cutting-edge technology.

Wintjiri Wiru
Wintjiri Wiru Sunset Dinner Basket

Sunrise Journeys is another item to add to your next Red Centre itinerary. The immersive sunrise experience shines a light on three prolific female Anangu artists who have come together to create a bespoke artwork that depicts their deep connection to culture and Country. Witness their bespoke artwork come to life against the backdrop of the expansive desert, before the majestic silhouettes of Uluru and Kata Tjuta emerge. After the display, indulge in a delicious breakfast featuring native flavours, perfectly complemented by a comforting Australian chai tea.

Field of Light, an immersive art installation, is another must-do experience you won’t want to miss. Spanning an area equivalent to more than seven football fields, it invites visitors into a fantastical garden illuminated by 50,000 spindles of light. Each stem pulses and sways through a harmonious desert-inspired spectrum of ochre, deep violet, blue, and soft white, creating a captivating and almost surreal atmosphere. As you walk among the glowing tendrils, it's easy to lose yourself in this magical landscape that blurs the lines between art and nature.

couple around the campfire at Desert Awakenings in Ayers Rock

Astronomy in the Outback

Stargazing in the Outback near Ulur is a truly unique experience. With minimal light pollution and vast open skies, this region offers some of the world's best views of the night sky. As night descends and the cool desert air washes over you, you'll quickly understand why this location is a stargazer's paradise. The constellations pop against the velvety darkness, with the Southern Cross, Orion, and the Milky Way's bright band all clearly visible.

While camping in Uluru, having a stargazing app or a star chart can guide you to the major constellations and help you spot planets, meteors, and other cosmic wonders. Look for the Southern Cross, the bright guiding star in the southern hemisphere, or the majestic arcs of the Milky Way. The unique experience of camping and stargazing at Uluru makes for an unforgettable experience, connecting you to the ancient land and the vast cosmos above.

If you want to dive deeper into stargazing in the Outback, consider a guided stargazing tour to enhance your knowledge of the skies over Uluru. For a one-of-a-kind experience to elevate your camping itinerary, don’t miss the award-winning Tali Wiru. This one-of-a-kind dining experience weaves together an exquisite culinary journey followed by a comprehensive star talk by an Indigenous guide.

Start Planning your Uluru Camping or Caravanning Trip

There’s something for every style of camper at Ayers Rock Campground in Uluru. Book your stay and start planning your bucket list visit to the Red Centre.