Following dusty desert paths around the north-western edge of Ayers Rock (Uluru, the Mala Walk offers a chance to see the mighty landmark up close. The short and accessible trail runs to the Kantju Gorge, passing beneath the towering red rock walls of Uluru and dotted with ancient Aboriginal rock art sites.
Self-guided or ranger-led tours of the Mala Walk take around 1.5 hours, following a scenic route around the base of Uluru. Stop along the way to admire the unique natural rock formations and learn about the geological wonders of Uluru. Peek into the Mala Caves, where the walls are adorned with ancient rock art, and hear Tjukurpa (ancient stories) of the Anangu people. The star attraction is the Kantju Gorge, where the sheer cliffs of Uluru make for some impressive photos, transforming into a dramatic waterfall on rainy days.
Things to know before you go
*The Mala Walk is one of the shortest and most easily accessible trails at Uluru; a return hike of 1.2 miles (two kilometers). *Entrance fees apply to enter the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park; ranger-led walks are free and set out daily from the Mala Car Park. *Restrooms and drinking water fountains are available at the Mala Walk carpark. There is little shade along the walk, so bring a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a refillable water bottle. *The Mala Walk is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.
How to get there
The Mala Walk sets out from the Mala Car Park on the north-western edge of Uluru. Most tours and independent visits set out from the Ayers Rock Resort in Yulara, 11 miles (18 kilometers) north of Uluru or an about 20-minute drive along Route 4. There is no public transport directly to Uluru so it’s best to join a tour if you don’t have your own transport.
When to get there
It’s worth timing your visit for one of the daily ranger-led walks, which set out at 8am in summer (September to April) and 10am in winter (May to September). The most impressive views are on rainy days when waterfalls cascade from the rocks, or at sunset, when the setting sun illuminates the west face of the rock—with most travelers heading to the sunset viewing area, the Mala Walk is often at its quietest at this time too.