The first time we visited Uluru we only had two days to explore. We were on a very tight schedule. and I remember saying to Thom “we have to come back to do this” two or three times a day about different things. One of those things without a doubt was doing a scenic flight over Uluru at sunset.
So this time when we were planning our visit we gave ourselves heaps more time to work with. We booked five nights at the Ayers Rock Resort campground to give us plenty of time not to miss anything on this visit. And the first thing we booked was our scenic flight over Uluru.
Since you’re not allowed to drone inside Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, or within 5.5 kilometres of an airport there’s not really any opportunities at Uluru for aerial photography. So hopping onto a scenic flight is a great alternative to see the perspectives we’d usually be searching for on our drone. But trust us, they’re so much better from the plane!
Ayers Rock Scenic Flights
Ayers Rock Scenic Flights offer a few different flight options (more on those below) and they can take you to see all different things across the Central Australian Outback. They also operate Ayers Rock Helicopters, so you can choose if you’d like to experience your flight by plane or heli. We chose the Uluru and Kata Tjuta scenic flight, to see both of these incredible landmarks from the sky.
Due to COVID-19 every flight with Ayers Rock Scenic Flights has been made into a private flight. So it will be just your group on the plane which is an even better experience. There is a minimum of two people per booking, but a private flight for regular prices – amazing.
We had booked our flight at the sunset time and arrived to Ayers Rock Airport at 5:15pm to meet with Chris, our pilot for the evening. The airport was completely deserted and a little spooky when we arrived, with no commercial flights having used the airport in over 3 months. In fact, Ayers Rock Scenic Fights were the only people operating from the airport that day.
Chris took us out to the plane and gave us a safety briefing and a little bit of information before we jumped in to choose our seats. Since it was only me and Thom on the plane we were able to sit wherever we wanted, and once we were in the air could move around to take the best photos. That is definitely my definition of a dream experience!!
Before we knew it we were up in the air and flying over the outback towards Kata Tjuta. The outback is so beautiful in the golden hour before sunset. Everything glows a beautiful palette of red, orange, yellow and even pink and it just looks amazing.
Seeing Kata Tjuta from the sky actually surprised me. It’s so much bigger and more impressive from above, with the 36 domes all fanned out around each other, all different shapes and sizes, heights and colours. In fact at it’s tallest point Kata Tjuta is actually taller than Uluru. Chris did a couple of laps of Kata Tjuta for us, flying at different heights so we could really get all the angles. As amazing as Kata Tjuta is from the ground, the view from above really surprised me. It’s really such an amazing sight.
Then it was on to Uluru, the main attraction for the evening, as the sun started to sink a little lower. Every time you see Uluru you are re-reminded how special it is. It is just an incredible sight and from above was even more spectacular. Chris did several loops and laps around Uluru, so you get to see it from every angle changing colours the lower than sun sinks. Right before sunset the rock glows the most beautiful bright shade of orangey-red, as a dark shadow blanket slowly starts to creep up the rock in a straight line. We’ve watched the colours change from the sunset platform in the park several times, and it is just as unique watching the darkness creep up on the rock from the air.
As the sun set completely we started to make our way back to Ayers Rock Airport, with a collection of some of the best photos I think we’ve ever taken from a scenic flight.
More tour options
Ayers Rock Scenic Flights have a few different options when you’re choosing your experience. We’ve included the prices and times for the scenic flight options in a plane, but depending on when you visit, you can also choose to do any of them in a helicopter. Helicopter flights are a little more expensive and a little shorter in time, but they hadn’t recommenced helicopter flights by our visit.
Uluru Rock Blast – this is the perfect way to just get up and see Uluru from above on a short 24 minute flight $120 per person.
Uluru & Kata Tjuta – this was our choice! The flight takes about 40 minutes and gives you plenty of time over both Uluru and Kata Tjuta. It costs $240 per person and is really great value.
Lizard Safari – to see a little more of the Outback, this flight takes you over Uluru and Kata Tjuta, and then out across the salt flats of Lake Amadeus, the Northern Territory’s largest salt lake. This one takes about an hour, and costs $375 per person and you can often spot camels out near the lake.
Tour of the Giants – as you’re driving along Lasseters Highway towards Uluru you would have passed Mount Connor in the distance and might have even thought you were getting your first glimpse of Uluru! Well the Tour of the Giants scenic flight will give you a better view of this huge flat topped outback mountain, as well as flying over Uluru and Kata Tjuta. This flight takes about two hours and costs $575 per person.
Ultimate Outback Adventure – for the ultimate experience this tour takes you all the way out to Kings Canyon, landing at Kings Creek Station and including an experience on the ground in Kings Canyon. It will also fly you over Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Lake Amadeus to give you a complete outback experience. This tour goes for about 6 hours (2 hours and 20 minutes of flight time) and costs $725 per person.
For more information on any of the tours or to book your own scenic flight head to Fly Uluru.
We couldn’t recommend Ayers Rock Scenic Flights or this experience any more highly for anyone coming to visit Uluru. It’s just such a beautiful way to see the outback and the sights from the air are simply amazing. Definitely try to book your flight at sunset to see the real colours of the outback come to life. It is simply magical!
A huge thank you to Chris for giving us such a wonderful experience, we had such a great time and will never forget our flight over Uluru. If you see him at the Yulara Visitors Centre during your visit make sure you say hi to him for us!