There are many ways to see Uluru, but perhaps the most spectacular is from the air. Helicopter flights are expensive but after three trips to Central Australia, we’d seen Uluru from every possible angle from the ground. It was time for a new experience. On our mother-daughter trip to Uluru, AJ and I took to the skies to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta by helicopter. For visitors who can transfer from a wheelchair, this is also an easy and accessible way to see both attractions with minimal effort.
ULURU AND KATA TJUTA BY HELICOPTER – ACCESSIBLE CENTRAL AUSTRALIA
AJ and I were excited by the prospect of seeing Uluru and Kata Tjuta by helicopter. Central Australia has become a special place for our family with many wonderful experiences, including AJ’s time volunteering in an Indigenous childcare centre. A helicopter flight around two of Australia’s most iconic and culturally significant sites was an amazing way to celebrate our week together in Central Australia.
We booked our flight and arrived at the airport for a 7am take-off. Summer is low season and therefore a quiet time for tours, which meant we didn’t need to share our flight with anyone else, making it even more special.
As keen photographers we were thrilled when we realised we could have a doors off flight. The reflection on the glass ruins photos and makes it hard to get stunning images.
Without doors on the helicopter we certainly felt at one with the elements, with an exhilarating rush of fresh air flowing around us throughout the flight. Knowing that my seat belt was the only thing between me and the ground below caused a healthy surge of adrenaline too. Looking back at AJ in her seat I hoped she’d secured hers well.
Various helicopter tours are available, including a flight to Uluru, one which includes Uluru and Kata Tjuta and the extended flight which allows for a rare view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta at the same time. We chose the extended flight.
After spending time walking around the base of Uluru we felt we had some appreciation of its size, but nothing compares to seeing it from above where the sprawling nature of the rock becomes evident.
The biggest revelation during the flight was seeing the 36 domes of Kata Tjuta.
The majority of these domes are hidden when viewing the site from the sunset viewing area.
Uluru and Kata Tjuta may be the headline acts on this flight, but we were mesmerised by the landscape beneath us. Driving amongst it, there’s a sense of the vastness, but from the air it can truly be appreciated.
I’ve always been dazzled by the colours of Central Australia and the colour palette on display while touring Uluru and Kata Tjuta by helicopter is truly inspiring. AJ was particularly enthralled by the distinct patterns of the spinifex grass.
I was hopeful of spotting a camel but our pilot advised she rarely sees them on the flights. We had been fortunate a few evenings earlier to have one meander in front of us as we were driving to sunset viewing at Kata Tjuta. I was beyond excited!
The 36 minute flight went by so fast, but it was a highlight of our time in Central Australia. If your budget can stretch to do a helicopter tour, we highly recommend it.
HWWT TIPS – Our flight was at 7am but we were advised the best light and time to do a helicopter flight over Uluru and Kata Tjuta is late in the afternoon. In the morning the glare is still strong from sunrise. As we were wanting to use our photos for the website and Instagram, we needed to fly in the early morning when the shadows would cover sacred sites and be approved for use (we needed a photography permit and all our photos needed to be approved before we could share them.)
Ask in advance about a doors off flight if you are interested. If you are flying in peak season you may be sharing the flight with others and therefore it may not be possible. I’m not sure if they offer the option in winter but it would be extremely cold. Uluru mornings are chilly in the winter months. AJ and I did this experience in summer.
If you plan on doing a doors off experience, ensure you have a gimble or way of securing your phone. I was worried I’d drop my phone and only felt secure using my camera which I could secure around my neck. Something tells me it would be impossible to ever locate a mobile phone if dropped from the helicopter somewhere over the sand dunes of the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park!
You can read more about the various Uluru and Kata Tjuta helicopter tour options on the Ayers Rock Helicopter tour website.
You may also find the following helpful in planning a trip to Central Australia