I just returned from Uluru. Flew in and camped for 3 days. While there I noticed some other campers had Ford station wagons from "Alice Camp 'n' Drive". I talked to them about what it was and I really wish I had known about them. I will use them next time. The campers I spoke to were very happy with them.
They are a small company in Alice Springs run by two guys. They rent you a station wagon with all the camping gear packed in. All you need to do is buy the food and fuel and head off to explore Uluri and King's Canyon. They told me that the company has a fleet of about 6 wagons.
What the camper's I spoke to liked was that is only cost about $125 a day and they don't have the 7 day minimum like the RV camper companies have. They also liked the fact that the wagons got much better mileage. You can sleep in the back of the wagon.
The wagons aren't brand new. But they seemed in excellent shape. I was very impressed. They seem to have hit upon the perfect solution for people like me who are on a tight budget and have to fly in Alice Springs or Uluru to visit.
Definitely the best way to fully experience the outback is to drive around trhough it. You get a unique sense of the landscape and animals. They drive on the left side of the road which does take some getting use to. However, since the driver is sitting on the right side ofthe car, it seems almost natural. Our biggest problem was turning on the windshield wipers instead of signalling.
Its easy to drive in the outback, especially because there are so few people on the roads. Even if you were on the wrong side, there woudlnt be anyone there anyway.
Just to add to previous comments about Uluru Express, I found that they were the cheapest and most flexible way to get around if you don't bring your own car. I also took some guided tours of Uluru and the Olgas, and found these tours overpriced -- if I had just taken Uluru Express shuttles everywhere on my own, I would probably have attained close to the same benefit as I got with the guided tours.
I saw Uluru by taking Northern Territory tour called the 3 day Uluru Safari. The first day we visited Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). The second day we went to Uluru and the third day we went to see Kings Canyon. At night we slept in camp grounds, where we had the option of sleeping in a tent or in a swag. I slept in a swag which I recommend. A swag is a large sleeping bag with a mattress inside. You put your sleeping bag inside it and you are all set for the night. There is nothing like sleeping outside with the stars. We heard some animals in the distance, like dingos, but nothing to worry about. My guides for the tour were Rew and Jess. They were great guides, tons of fun, Rew kept us laughing the whole trip.
3 hours flight from Perth and Sydney.
The flight is almost full, must make your flight confirm in advance.
Rent a car to move around in Uluru National Park is the best way to save your money and time. Ths cost about A$95 per 24 hours.