5D/4N Backpacking Uluru (Ayers Rock) : Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge

The thought of renting a camper van and self-drive to Uluru a.k.a Ayers Rock in Northern Territory, Australia to see the iconic red rock and experience the Australian outback sent our hearts racing with delight! It was a dream come true for my best friend, Daphne and I to plan and execute our once-in-a-lifetime dream getaway together despite being ocean and continents apart. Thanks to the advancement of technology, everything is possible now. 😀

To Self-Drive Or Just Take The Plane?

However, after weighing the pros and cons, instead of self-drive through the picturesque Red Centre Way of Northern Territory of Australia, we decided to play safe and just travel by air. Jetstar Airways, Virgin Australia and Quantas fly in/out of Ayers Rock (Uluru) airport on a daily basis.

If you’re feeling adventurous, then by all means go for a drive in the heart of Australia on the Red Centre Way, Northern Territory and discover brilliant landscapes, gorges, canyons, camping and hiking trails of the West MacDonnel Ranges, Watarrka National Park, Uluru and Kata Tjuta. It’s listed as one of the 14 Best Road Trips in Australia. Also, on the list is the Great Ocean Road, Victoria road trip which I did previously and loved it so much! I will share that story on another time and blog post. 😉


A Turbulent Welcome To The Red Centre of Australia

Prior to our visit, we booked our flights, tours and accommodation in advance to get the best price possible, also to avoid any disappointments. When the big day came, we excitedly began our adventure to the Red Centre of Australia. Our flight with Jetstar Airways from Melbourne to Ayers Rock (Uluru) took about 3 hours. I have to say, it was one of the most bumpy and turbulent rides I have ever experienced in my life, but the view from above was simply spectacular! 😀

There, out in the open stood the magnificent monolith with all its glory, one of Australia’s famous landmarks – Uluru a.k.a Ayers Rock. It is located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, along with the equally impressive Kata Tjuta a.k.a the Olgas and Kings Canyon nearby. Being able to see the iconic rock not from the pages of a travel magazine or postcard, but with my very own eyes at its origin for the first time in my life was a surreal experience!

From the airport, we made our way to the free shuttle bus waiting outside to get us to our hostel. The fully air-conditioned, clean and comfortable shuttle bus service is provided by AAT Kings @ Ayers Rock Resort. Wasting no time, we hopped on the designated shuttle bus and made our way to Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge.


Our Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Ayers Rock (Uluru)
Uluru (Ayers Rock) from above & Ayers Rock airport
The parking lot of Ayers Rock Airport
Free shuttle bus service courtesy of AAT Kings & Ayers Rock Resort
Our accommodation at Ayers Rock in Northern Territory, Australia
A good friend of mine, Daphne & I on a trip-of-a-lifetime to Uluru (Ayers Rock) !
The Australian outback at Uluru (Ayers Rock)


An Oasis in the Middle of the Desert

It was a scenic 30 minutes ride through the hot and barren terrain of the Australian outback to get to our hostel. Its unique landscape was simply out of this world! Red dirt and earth stretched as far as the eyes can see, while strange trees and shrubs with needle-like leaves covered the land to create little shelters for the animals to escape the heat from the scorching hot sun. I hoped to see some camels, emus and dingos along the way.

At Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge, Daphne and I were welcomed with the sight of the eye-catching Uluru Camel which is not a camel, but a quaint old retro car. A few steps away from it was a unique-looking classic motorcycle. Both the car and the motorcycle were promoting the various types of interesting tours available to the public.

We chose to stay at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge for its budget friendly dormitories that come with excellent amenities/facilities and strategic location within the Ayers Rock Resort. We are only 20 kilometres away from Uluru (Ayers Rock). A night in a dorm costs USD38 per person. Wasting no time, we proceeded to check-in to our female dormitory and took the time to explore its surroundings.


Among the amenities/facilities available at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge are:

  • Free in-room WiFi
  • Free guest activities program
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Kitchen & open-air/indoor dining area
  • Laundry room
  • Lounge & activity room
  • Bought House Restaurant & Outback Pioneer Bar
  • Free parking
  • Check-in: 3pm / check-out: 10am
  • Free return airport transfers
  • Free shuttle bus service around Ayers Rock Resort
Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge at Ayers Rock, Australia
Free shuttle bus service provided by AAT Kings to get around Ayers Rock Resort
A quaint old retro car at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
Fancy going for a stylish motorcycle tour around Ayers Rock (Uluru) ?
Hotel guests waiting to check-in at the reception counter in Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
Anangu aboriginal artwork beautifully decorated the walls of the lobby at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
The friendly reception at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
Lounge / activity room at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
Indoor dining area at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
Paid internet service is available at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
My favourite area at the Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge – the communal kitchen!
The communal kitchen at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge had sufficient equipment/utensils for preparing our own food, perfect for budget travellers! Fresh and dry ingredients can be bought at the supermarket located at the Resort Town Square <3
The Pioneer Bar at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge operates in the evening through the night
The Pioneer BBQ offers a wide variety of steaks and exotic meat for consumption. It is here that I had my first taste of kangaroo, crocodile, emu and barramundi meat! 😀

Love the Dormitory, But Hate Our Insensitive Dorm Mates!

The one thing that I dislike about spending the night in a dormitory is the insensitive dorm mates I get especially when a group of tourists is in the house. Thankfully, I do not encounter such annoying situations often, but when I do, it sure is an unpleasant experience indeed. 🙁

For your info, it is basic common sense and courtesy to lower your voice and minimise any noise especially after 10 pm when some poor, tired souls are trying to get some sleep. Daphne and I were unlucky to have shared the room/dorm with a group of rowdy female Asian tourists (why it is always Asians who does these things, huh?!) who talk loudly to each other, slam the door behind them whenever they enter or leave the room, and drag their suitcases instead of carrying them around especially when it is stored under the bed. WTF!! I guess their manners and common sense flew out the window the moment they left home. Grrr…

If that is not bad enough, in the middle of the night, we were forced to listen to obnoxious ringing tones and music, digest mindless bed talks, and even tortured through the symphony of zippers and plastic bags being inconsiderately opened and closed at odd hours. 🙁

To those insensitive dorm mates who by any chance happen to come across my travel blog and read this blog post of mine, I say f*** y**, b******!! Please pardon my vulgar words, for I’m really angry at them. Thankfully, I have the ability to fall asleep at any given place and situation, therefore I had no trouble sleeping that night although I find it a huge nuisance. Good news is, we were upgraded to a 4-bed dormitory later for free and had the entire room to ourselves! Thank you for the kind gesture, Mr. Jason! (if I remember your name correctly). 😀


The 12-bed female dormitory at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
The dormitory at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge has both heating and air-conditioning with usage depending on the season
My bed on the upper deck of the double decker bed in the 12-bed female dormitory, Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
Later, we were upgraded to stay in the 4-bed dormitory at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge for free and had the entire room to ourselves! Thank you for the kind gesture, Mr. Jason! (if I remember your name correctly)
Every room/dorm at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge has its own window – a feature I love very much
Swimming pool at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge, Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Ayers Rock Resort, Via Yulara Drive, Yulara NT 0872, Australia
Phone:+61 2 8296 8010


Up next: A visit to the Imalung Lookout, sand dunes, Uluru (Ayers Rock) in view and the Resort Town Square

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