Flora

As its world heritage listing indicates, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park ‘contains unique, rare or superlative natural phenomena, formations and features’. There are over 416 species of native plants in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park alone.

Flora


Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of a trip to Australia's Outback is how green it can be! Most people can't believe that there are over 416 species of native plants in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park alone. The Aboriginal people have used the plant life of Central Australia for thousands of years to supplement their diet of native game as well as for medicines, weapons, clothing and shelter.

As its world heritage listing indicates, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park ‘contains unique, rare or superlative natural phenomena, formations and features’.

Anangu have, for centuries, divided the flora in the Park into a number of categories: Punu (trees), Puti (shrubs), Tjulpuntjulpunpa (flowers) and Ukiri (grasses).

Uluru Flora waputi

Kurkara - Desert Oak

One of the most distinctive and impressive trees of the pila and tali habitats is the Kurkara. Like many plants in the Central Desert, the Kurkara has modified leaves to reduce water loss. Its needles are made up of thin striped segments, leaf stalks, linked by a ring of projections, each of which is a tiny leaf.

Desert Oaks are slow to mature and grow in deep sand in large numbers. Juveniles look like Christmas trees and when matured to an adult form, spread massive limbs when the roots meet the water table. It is the only member of its family in Central Australia and its cones are the biggest of its kind. Fire burns its foliage but usually does not kill the tree.

Wanari- Mulga

This tough shrub is the most common shrub in puti and probably the most common in all of Australia. It is well equipped to survive dry hot conditions. Like most acacias, it has leaves that aren't really leaves at all but flattened leaf stalks called phyllodes. These reduced leaves lose less water vapour when the plant breathes than more traditional leaves. They are also silvery to reflect the heat and hang vertically to minimise the sunlight falling on them.

Kaliny - Kalinypa Honey Grevillea "Sweetshops"

The spectacular flowers of grevilleas make them popular in Australia gardens. But in the Central Desert they have a more important role. The flowers of Desert and Honey Grevilleas are full of nectar, attracting a host of insects and honeyeater birds. Look for beads of nectar glistening on these flowers in the early morning before the day shift of sweet tooths have their fill.

Shrubs such as grevilleas and hakeas (corkwood trees) flower in the spring and winter and are known for their big bottlebrush heads. Kaliny-kalinypa (honey grevillea - Grevillea eriostachya) flowers are bright yellow and green. Colourful ground  flowers are called tjulpuntjulpunpa. Daisies and other ground flowers bloom after rain and during the winter. Others such as the wattles bloom as spring approaches.

Uluru Flora red grevillea

Tjanpi - Spinifex "Spiky Donuts"

The spiny leaves of Tjanpi (Spinifex) are rolled into needles to conserve valuable moisture. Young plants are round. As a clump grows outwards the outer leaves take root. Eventually as the plant expands, the centre dies, producing rings. Old clumps become metres wide.

Tjanpi cools the sand for animals, provides food for grazing insects and mammals, and gives spiky protection. Your fingers or shins may have already told you how effective that protection is.

The prickly tjanpi (hard spinifex - Triodia basedowii) hummocks are prevalent throughout the Park. Their enormous root systems prevent desert sands shifting, spreading underground beyond the prickly clump and deep into the soil and forming an immense cone.

For a much more comprehensive look at the plant life in the area, make sure you visit the Visitors Centre in Ayers Rock Resort while you're on your trip.

Join an Indigenous guide on an exploration around the Resort gardens at Desert Gardens Hotel and Sails in the Desert on the free Guided Garden Walks. Or pick up your pocket guide from the hotel reception for a self-guided walk around these gardens.

Uluru Flora wattle

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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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15min Rock Blast (Daytime)

Launch off on a Rock Blasting adventure, taking in the sights of Ayers Rock Resort and surrounding deserts on the way to Uluru; a panorama of breathtaking scenery unique to the Red Centre.  Tour duration is approx. 1 hour.

15min Rock Only (Daytime)

For those on a budget or if your time is limited, this is the quickest way to see Uluru. A 15 minute scenic flight takes you past Voyages Ayers Rock Resort and onto Uluru. It is also possible to see Kata Tjuta in the distance.  Tour duration is approx. 1 hour.

2 day Uluru and Kata Tjuta Transfer Pass

This pass enables you to explore Uluṟu & Kata Tjuṯa from sunrise to sunset, as many times as you wish for the 2 days of the pass.
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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.

Desert Gardens Hotel

Voyages Desert Gardens Hotel is centrally located to all resort and touring facilities and offers a range of accommodation, from shaded poolside rooms to deluxe rooms overlooking the desert.

Emu Walk Apartments

Sheltered behind gardens of native trees and forming a walkway through the heart of the Resort, Emu Walk Apartments are Voyages Ayers Rock Resort's 4 star self contained apartments.
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Bush Yarn at the Circle of Sand

Welcome to the Circle of Sand, the Indigenous heart of Ayers Rock Resort. You will quickly become captivated by the yarns told by an Indigenous storyteller about Aboriginal history, culture and traditional techniques used on the land. Dependant on the season, learn about traditional bushtucker or an Indigenous man’s “survival kit” including weapons such as katjii (hunting spears), tjutinpa (clubs), kali (boomerangs) and miru (spear thrower). Tour duration approx 30 minutes.

Garden Walk - Desert Gardens Hotel

Desert Gardens Hotel is famous for it's magnificent gardens full of local flora, this is an opportunity to learn about the intricacies of an outback garden with an Indigenous guide. Learn how Indigenous people traditionally lived by using the bush for food and medicinal purposes. Alternatively, collect a free Garden Walk Pocket Guide from your hotel reception for a self-guided tour. Tour duration approx. 1 hour.

Interactive Didgeridoo Playing

Listen to the enchanting sounds of the didgeridoo while enjoying lunch at the Resort Town Square. Male guests have the opportunity to try it for themselves. You may like to purchase a didgeridoo at the nearby Craftworks and learn with your own instrument. Tour duration approx. 30 minutes. Note: Culturally, the didgeridoo is only played by males. We request your understanding and respect for Indigenous culture during this activity.
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2 Night Weekend Escape

Your 2 night Weekend Escape offers the perfect solution to escape and ensure you are left with a lifetime of memories. Includes the award-winning Sounds of Silence dinner under the stars, a Kata Tjuta and Uluru sunset tour as well as a camels ride to witness a sunrise that will take your breath away. There is also a host of free Indigenous activities.

3 day Tjungu Itinerary

Staying in a newly refurbished 1 bedroom apartment at Emu Walk Apartments, celebrate the best of Australian Indigenous culture in three majestic days during this lively Indigenous festival. With three signature events included - the ‘Tastes of Tjungu’, a commemorative Indigenous Australians at War Lunch and an elevated view of the Tjungu Fashion Parade and Final Night Concert, as well as a Desert Awakenings sunrise tour that will take you up close to Uluru, you will be well and truly immersed in the magic of this living cultural landscape. This itinerary is suited for adults and children aged 10 and over.

3 day Tjungu Itinerary

Celebrate the best of Australian Indigenous culture in three majestic days during this lively Indigenous festival. With three signature events included - the ‘Tastes of Tjungu’, a commemorative Indigenous Australians at War Lunch and an elevated view of the Tjungu Fashion Parade and Final Night Concert, as well as a Desert Awakenings sunrise tour that will take you up close to Uluru, you will be well and truly immersed in the magic of this living cultural landscape. This itinerary is suited for families with children aged 10 and over.
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