Visiting Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (formerly known as the Olgas) is a unique experience. Apart from Disneyland I can’t think of anywhere else we have stayed where everyone has the same agenda. It’s a remote part of Australia with the nearest large town being Alice Springs, which is at least 5 hours drive from the resort. Guests staying at the Voyages Resort are drawn there by the natural wonders of Uluru and Kata Tjuta and each day bus tours and individuals head out to explore the area.
There are several options for accommodation at the Ayers Rock Resort from budget to five-star. The first time we visited Uluru it was just Hubby, BJ and I so we stayed at Desert Gardens Hotel. This time, with the four of us and BJ’s nocturnal disturbances, we needed apartment accommodation. Unfortunately, the two bedroom apartments are not wheelchair accessible but we still went ahead with this option as we can manage and it was the most suitable to our needs. The reservations staff were excellent in giving me a clear indication of the accessible options and the difficulties associated with my choice. I went in with my eyes wide open.
While staying at the resort I did do an inspection of the accessible accommodation at Desert Gardens Hotel so I could share it with you.
DESERT GARDENS ACCESSIBLE ACCOMMODATION
Desert Gardens Hotel is a 4.5 star property which reflects the colours and environment of the area. Level paths link the resort and the rooms are wonderfully accessible and can offer an interconnecting room for families.
The bedroom is spacious with ample room on both sides of the bed for a transfer from a wheelchair.
I was pleased to see the room had all the necessary furniture but there was plenty of room to manouever with a wheelchair.
There is a lovely terrace for guests to enjoy the native gardens, sunshine and fresh air in the cooler times of the day.
All the room’s amenities including the light switches, clothing racks and safe are lowered. The safe is perhaps a little too low for wheelchair users.
The bathroom is large and well designed.
There is room under the sink for wheelchair access, lever taps and grab rails throughout.
The shower has a flip-down seat with hand-held shower and grab rails.
The room I inspected was quite a way from reception. As I mentioned above, there is great level access throughout the resort but the accessible rooms are towards the back of the property.
Hubby and I had dinner in Arnguli Grill for my birthday and the food was divine. The menu takes advantage of Indigenous flavours using unique herbs and spices. We can thoroughly recommend this for dinner and it is located in the Desert Gardens Hotel.
Our friends tried the buffet at Sails Resort (the 5 star hotel in the Ayers Rock resort) and gave it a big thumbs up for value and variety.
Desert Gardens Hotel includes free WIFI for guests.
Check out the tours and book anything you are interested in ahead of arrival at the resort. Many experiences have limited numbers and book out.
You can read more about Desert Gardens Hotel here.
Buffet breakfast seems to be included in most packages. The buffet breakfast is located in Arnguli Grill. The lower level of the restaurant is where guests arrive and have names checked off the list however the buffet is on the higher level of the restaurant which can only be accessed from outside by a wheelchair user. After our first morning we simply appeared at the glass door and were let into the higher level of the restaurant to access the buffet each day.
EMU WALK APARTMENTS
We always choose apartment accommodation over hotel accommodation where possible. We like the extra space it offers us and the option of a kitchen and laundry facilities. Emu Walk Apartments are spacious and stylishly decorated with Indigenous touches throughout. We would love to see any future plans for redevelopment of the resort to include accessible apartments.
We are fortunate that BJ can manage stairs with assistance but it definitely wasn’t easy. Once we got up or down the stairs, everything else was great. The area around Emu Walk Apartments is either level or well ramped.
We loved the large sofas and dining area in the apartment.
There is plenty of space for a large family.
The main bedroom is generous in size which this photo doesn’t adequately portray.
The second bedroom is tighter but with a wardrobe and luggage rack we had plenty of space for our stay.
The kitchen has a microwave, washing machine, dryer, small bar fridge and stove top.
The hotel provided an outdoor chair (needs to be requested) which we used for BJ in the shower and this worked fine for the 4 nights we were staying. The shower head is fixed so we used a cup for showering BJ.
You can read more about Emu Walk Apartments here.
Our family paid in full for our stay, this is not a sponsored post.
There is an IGA Supermarket in the Town Square within the resort. Although more expensive than our regular supermarket, I thought the prices were fair considering transportation costs to the area.
The IGA has tasty pre-made sandwiches which are reasonably priced and great for day trips. My favourite was the turkey salad sandwich.
There is no pharmacy at the resort so take anything you may need with you. We were looking for Nurofen liquid for BJ and couldn’t get it.
The medical centre at Yulara is excellent but busy. Book early if needed. For Australians, treatment is covered by Medicare. This included the medication we received.
Restaurants in the resort get heavily booked so eat early or book ahead.
Accommodation at Ayers Rock Resort is expensive but the experience of visiting Uluru and Kata Tjuta is truly worth it. Plan ahead to ensure you make the most of your time in the area.
Our time at Ayers Rock Resort was stressful with BJ unwell but staff went out of their way to accommodate us.
When we left the area we really missed the scenery and stunning colours of the area.
We had an amazing experience thanks to the Mutitjulu Foundation which I will write about soon but I’d like to encourage people visiting the area to give back to the local communities.
The motto of the Mutitjulu Foundation is, “Considering the riches you take away why not leave a little something behind?” The Mutitjulu Foundation aims to raise money to fund projects for the local Aboriginal communities, Mutitjulu, Docker River and Imanpa, and others in the immediate area. The Foundation’s goals are to remove disadvantage by supporting the local communities in the vitally important areas of health, education and economic prosperity. With the ongoing help of guests, staff and corporate contributions the Foundation has reached well over $1,000,000 to date.
You can support the work of the Foundation with a donation of cash or by delivering a package which will help local communities. In winter it gets very cold in the outback and heating is not available in the houses in the community. During these months the Foundation is in need of warm jumpers and jackets in all sizes for kids and adults. Although most prefer to walk bare-feet, in winter it can get very cold and an the key to staying warm is to cover your feet and head. We’re therefor in need of socks and good walking shoes in all kids and adult sizes.
AJ organised a large collection of books, puzzles, clothing and other items which were warmly welcomed. It was a wonderful feeling knowing we were contributing and making a difference while on holiday. We encourage you to take something to share with these communities. You can read more about the good work of the Foundation here and I’ll share our experience soon.
Sue Hallenstein says
I have an issue with ‘accessible’ rooms. Lots of people using wheelchairs have a carer, friends or parents travelling with them and do not wish to share a bed or a bedroom, but need to be within call. It is rare to find accessible accommodation with two bedrooms and access to single beds with enough room for a wheelchair.
When we visit properties we try to educate staff on the different types of situations where accessible rooms are needed and the types of configurations that are needed. The great thing about the Desert Gardens Hotel is that they have the option of interconnecting rooms. Many hotels have king zipper beds which means that the bed can be split to allow for a carer situation. It’s hard for hotels to cater for everyone. We aim to keep sharing what is needed as we travel.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
We are researching Uluru and wondered if the accessible room does have zippered king beds as we are travelling with our son (wheelchair user) GS5 and a carer so would want then in a separate bed.
Thanks for your wonderfully informative blog!
Oh Miranda, I can’t remember to be honest. BJ was really sick that day so it was a very quick inspection. Call their reservations centre. I had unbelievable assistance when I was booking and I’m sure they’d know. Good luck. I hope they have an amazing time.
Jen Nelson says
OMG! Thankyou so much for this info Julie, you’ve made my day!
I’ve wanted to go to Uluru & surrounds for years but thought that it was impossible for a single w/c user, but reading your blog has changed everything! I’m so excited to read and see pics about so much that’s accessible! I’ve just lined up a support worker to come with me and am truly glad that I can cross this off my “accessible bucket list”!
Thanks so much again Julie & keep up the info.
Jen :))) :))) :)))
Well reading that our review has helped you make a dream destination possible has made my day. Thanks for letting me know and I hope you have a wonderful stay.
We recently reviewed the accessible accommodation at the Sails Resort and it’s excellent too.