Yulara is an isolated town in Australia’s Northern Territory. At the 2001 census, Yulara had a population of 1,799. More than three quarters of the residents of Yulara are from either overseas or another Australian state. The name is derived from a local Aboriginal word for howling and dingos. It is 18 km by road from world heritage site Uluru and 55 km from Kata Tjuta. It is located in the Northern Territory electorate of MacDonnell and the federal electorate of Lingiari.
It is home to the busiest tourist resort in Australia, Ayers Rock Resort.
In early 1970, the pressure of unstructured and unmonitored tourism was having detrimental effects on the environment surrounding Uluru and Kata Tjuta and the Northern Territory government agreed in 1973 to relocate accommodation facilities to a new site. Yulara was created in 1984 as an infrastructure hub to support tourism to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
It originally had numerous competing hotels, however this was not financially viable. The Northern Territory government leased the incredibly valuable land to Voyages for one dollar per square kilometre. Voyages owns and manages all aspects of Yulara, with the exception of the post office, which is owned by Australia Post and the bank which is currently leased by ANZ. All residents (almost all workers in the resort or to tour operators) of the town lease their housing from the resort corporation, Voyages.
The nearby Connellan Airport makes it possible to reach the area in a few hours from Sydney, Melbourne or Cairns, compared to five hours by car from Alice Springs, the nearest major town, 428 kilometres northeast.
The town is served by one major road, the Lasseter Highway, which links it to surrounding roads and landmarks. The Lasseter Highway is currently being expanded in the area to help with the tourism traffic flow. The sealed Lasseter Highway extends east to meet the Stuart Highway. The roads in other directions are not so well maintained or travelled. The Gunbarrel Highway and Great Central Road lead west and southwest into Western Australia, but are generally only suitable for high clearance four-wheel drive vehicles.