There are two windows through which it is best to view the majestic, surprising geology of Uluru-Kata Tjuta—a smaller one bridging the monsoon and cold months of Australia’s winter (March and April), and the larger one when the desert snaps back to life following colder days and often freezing nights (August to November). Take your pick, and you will find not only a swirling photographic safari as the color of the landscape and its most famous features shifts beneath ever-changing light, but also as many tourism activities as you want to stuff into your stay. Choose from a multitude of day hikes and Harley rides, cultural tours and wildlife-watching opportunities—the park boasts dingoes, wallabies, various lizards, and nearly 180 bird species. Be sure to take a couple of days, and whatever you do, don’t miss the award-winning Sounds of Silence dinner, a white-linen picnic and concert beneath the desert stars.
Cool days and freezing nights make the Australian winter (May to July) a slower time in the heart of the Red Center. But given that photography and simple sightseeing are what draw people to Uluru and the Olgas, it’s not such a bad time to watch the changing light on the landscape. Keep in mind that the park does not offer overnight visitation—you’ll stay in a nearby resort, or camp on the outskirts. Though the reptiles will be in hibernation, there is wildlife to be seen. And with proper planning, you can catch up with a guided Aboriginal tour to learn about the folklore of the region and see some rock art.
Summer in the Southern Hemisphere arrives during the Christmas season (December to February), and the daytime desert heat rules out most activities. Some families do take advantage of low-season pricing and the lack of crowds. You’ll still get your sunrise photos of Uluru, but that’s about it.