Car Hire at Ayers Rock Airport
This information is correct as of August 2015.
Ayers Rock, or simply called Uluru in the local language, is one of the most fascinating land formations in not just Northern Territory, but in the whole of Australia. This large sandstone rock can be found in the southern portion in Central Australia. It lies nearly eight kilometres away from Yulara, the nearest (isolated) town in the area.
Where to hire a car at Ayers Rock Airport
Looking for a rental car upon your arrival in Ayers Rock Airport can be relatively manageable if you book ahead of time. There is only one known car hire company here, which makes it necessary to reserve a specific type of car for your trip. Avis seems to be the sole provider based in the area, which offers a number of fine models from different brands.
Be sure to coordinate about your requirements ahead of time, so you can submit your documents for inspection immediately. You can use an interstate/overseas driver's licence in the Northern Territory, with an International Driving Permit (IDP) if you are not a native-born Australian. You can drive here with those papers for a maximum of three months, with a need to be issued an NT licence immediately after the three-month period is over. Additional requirements such as insurance and safety equipment may also be required.
What to expect when hiring a car from Ayers Rock Airport
Driving in Ayers Rock can be a low-key experience, compared to going around in Sydney and other major cities in Australia. The relatively quiet surroundings and the lack of a huge volume of cars sharing the road with you can make it fun to drive. There are also no toll roads in the region, as well as congestion charges so you do not have to reserve a certain amount for these concerns.
One-way streets may be likely, however, especially in the old parts of the communities in the area. You should be prepared with a detailed map or a GPS device, with a comprehensive guide about driving in Northern Territory. Bicycle-riding motorists may also be seen around, so you should be careful and heed the speed limit. If you need to refuel, you can pass by the Shell stations in Yulara and get additional cans for your road trip.
Driving around Ayers Rock Airport
Around ten minutes away from the airport, Yulara can be reached through Lasseter Highway, Red Centre Way, and State Route 4. The distance is around eight kilometres away, which can be easy to traverse. Remember to stay left when driving and only go right when you are overtaking. The steering wheel is on the right side of the car, with the other instruments on the left. To make it less confusing to stay on the side where you should be, always position the car closest to the middle of the road and check if you have the oncoming traffic passing on the driver's side.
Australia abides by strict driving rules, so make sure you know and understand the regulations. Significant penalties are also implemented from fines and accumulation of demerit points to outright loss of your temporary driving privileges. There are rules on proper use of seatbelts, mobile or cell phone use, driving under the influence, and obligations in the event of an accident to take note of.
Getting to your destination
Wattarka National Park
Wattarka National Park, containing the western end of the George Gill Range, makes a scenic backdrop of rugged ranges, rockholes, and gorges acting as a habitat for various flora and fauna. It can be reached by a 2WS vehicle via Luritja Road from Yulara and Lasseter Highway (sealed road).
Careful driving should be practised at all times to accommodate changing road conditions. It can take around three and a half hours to get here, due to the 273-kilometre distance. There is a carpark at the beginning of the walk, allowing you to keep your car secure as you hike around.
Finke Gorge National Park
Covering an area of 46,000 hectares, including the stunning Palm Valley, Finke Gorge National Park is home to a diverse range of rare and unique plant species.
It can be reached via Red Centre Way at around six hours at a distance of 307 kilometres. A carpark is located in the area, which makes it easier to bring your rental car over for safekeeping.
The vast and impressive section of the MacDonnell Ranges, located west of Alice Springs, is a breath-taking ancient landscape. Col scenic gorges, a wide range of flora and fauna, as well as signs of a bygone era of tropical forests can be found here.
You can get here within six hours or so via Lasseter Highway/State Route 4 and National Highway 87, with a distance of around 450 kilometres. There is a carpark around the area, where you can leave your car before going out on a bushwalking tour.