The Red Centre - The beating heart of the Australian outback which is home to some of the greatest natural structures in the world.
Home to the mega monolith Uluru, Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), the town of Alice Springs and a plethora of natural wonders, the red centre refers to the southern desert region of the Northern Territory.
The red centre has earned its name due to the soils distinctive red colouring. The redness of the soil comes from the highly oxidised iron which resides in the soil.
Journeying to the red centre is seen by many as the ultimate road trip. Central Australia consists of an area of 546,000 square kilometres (about 40% of the Northern Territory) so there’s plenty to cover.
We’ve put together this guide on travelling the red centre to help get you driving to Uluru in no time.
Driving to Uluru
Because Uluru sits in the dead centre of Australia, there are plenty of ways to get there, depending on where you’re leaving from.
Hopefully, this mini Uluru travel guide will help put your mind at ease and get your wheels on the road.
Sydney to Uluru Drive
Time: Approx 30 hours driving time
Distance: Approx 3000 km
Route: Sydney ➜ Wagga Wagga ➜ Mildura ➜ Port Augusta ➜ Coober Pedy ➜ Alice Springs
Melbourne to Uluru Drive
Time: Approx 25 hours driving time
Distance: Approx 2400 km
Route: Melbourne ➜ Adelaide ➜ Port Augusta ➜ Coober Pedy ➜ Alice Springs
Adelaide to Uluru Drive
Time: Approx 17 hours driving time
Distance: Approx 1600 km
Route: Adelaide ➜ Port Augusta ➜ Coober Pedy ➜ Alice Springs
Brisbane to Uluru Drive
Time: Approx 34 hours driving time
Distance: Approx 2500 km
Route: Brisbane ➜ Moree ➜ Nyngan ➜ Broken Hill ➜ Port Augusta ➜ Coober Pedy ➜ Alice Springs
Alice Springs to Uluru Drive
Even though Alice Springs and Uluru might seem like they’re next to each other on the map, the two are still about a 6 hour drive apart.
When you’re on the Alice Springs to Uluru drive, there’s plenty to see, including visiting places such as
There are a number of ways to get to Uluru from Alice Springs but unless you’re a 4WD aficionado, we recommend taking the Stuart & Lasseter highways. On this route it’s all bitumen roads and can be done in a 2WD vehicle.
Perfect for the amateur adventurer.
Once you get to the red centre, it’s time to start seeing what Central Australia has to offer. From Uluru to Kings Canyon, there’s a lot to take in.
Australia’s most iconic landmark, Uluru proudly stands 348m high, towering above the crimson red soil of the surrounding area.
The natural wonder is estimated to be over 550 million years old and it is considered a very spiritual place for the local aboriginal people, the Anangu.
9.4km in circumference, walking the base of Uluru is considered one of the best ways to see the structure.
No trip to Uluru is complete without witnessing a sunrise or sunset. There are over five viewing areas from which you can view the spectacle. When the sun sets over Uluru, viewers are treated to the light from the sun reflecting of the rock. The sun dances across the crevices in a myriad of colours, transforming its surface from burgundy to crimson red to sunburnt orange, seemingly all at once.
Kata Tjuta or The Olgas, are rock structures that protrude out of the ground in many different shapes and sizes. Kata Tjuta, which translates to ‘many heads’, is located approximately 40 km west of Uluru and can be easily accessed by car.
Kata Tjuta is home to a number of hikes and walking trails that vary in degrees of difficulty and allow you to properly explore the area.
3 hours north of Uluru is Kings Canyon which resides in Watarrka National Park. The canyon features an abundance of walking tracks, 4WD tracks, camping spots, camel tours and more, plus plenty of breathtaking views of the surrounding desert.
The Uluru to Kings Canyon drive is about 300 km and takes you deep through the red centre, offering an unparalleled desert experience.
You know by now what you need to see, but with so much to do when you’re there it can get overwhelming.
We’ve put together a compilation of the most rewarding activities the red centre has to offer.
Explore Aboriginal Culture
The Northern Territory is home to over 40 different aboriginal language groups including the Arrernte & Anangu people in Central Australia.
Immersing yourself in the indigenous culture can be an incredibly enriching experience.
Some ideas to consider are.
Visit ancient aboriginal rock art sites
See an aboriginal music & dance performance at one of the many cultural centres
Take part in a traditional dot-painting workshop
Take a guided tour of Uluru with a traditional land owner
Due to the large expanse of the red centre, there’s plenty of adventure to be had.
If you enjoy the great outdoors and all the activities that come with it. You’ve come to the right place.
Here’s just a taste of what you can get up to in the red centre.
Camp under the stars at one of the many camping grounds
Hike through Kings Canyon
Mountain Bike at Alice Springs
Cool off with a swim in a waterhole (Do your research, watch out for crocs!)
The red centre is not only massive in size, it can get pretty dangerous as well. Sometimes it can be easier to just let a tour guide do the hard work for you.
One of the tours we recommend is a helicopter tour of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, there’s something incredible about getting a birds eye view of Uluru. It really makes you appreciate the size and complexity of the 55 million year old monolith.
Some tours we recommend are.
Take a helicopter tour of Uluru & Kata Tjuta
Explore the art, stories & history of the indigenous people with a cultural tour
Float through the sky in a hot air balloon
Explore the red centre on the back of a camel with a camel tour
Tackling the Desert with the CR-V
With a Honda CR-V its never been easier to take on the red centre, The CR-V comes in 2WD and AWD options, boot size which is one of the biggest in its class and plenty of storage space for food, drinks and all your road trip essentials.
Choose between 5 or 7 seats and experience a world of possibilities with space for any adventure. With redesigned front seats for greater support and air conditioning vents & USB chargers in the second and third rows, you’ll be more comfortable than ever on those long drives.
Speaking of long drives, with Honda Sensing*, you can experience a smoother, more seamless drive than ever before. Honda’s Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise-Control With Low-Speed Follow & Collision Mitigation Braking System all work in unison to ensure you can rest easy on those long drives. There’s also a driver attention monitor that alerts you when you’re momentarily distracted or experiencing driver fatigue, allowing you to pull over and rest when safe to do so.
If that wasn’t enough, the CR-V has a built in navigation system from the VTI-S and above. This means that when mobile reception drops out you’ll still know where you are.
Don’t wait, find a dealer today and make your dreams a reality.
*Honda Sensing technologies are driver-assist technologies and should not be used in place of safe driving practices. Drivers should continue to monitor the road at all times. The accuracy and operation of Honda Sensing technologies may vary based on weather, speed, traffic, road conditions, markings and other factors.