Flies at Uluru: When Are They Bad and Do I Need a Net?


The flies in Uluru are worst in summer and autumn, with far fewer of them around in winter and spring. The worst months for flies in Uluru are from September to April, which is when Uluru is at its hottest.

We have recently finished a trip to Uluru, and one of the big questions we researched was whether we needed fly nets and how bad the flies were going to be.

We’d heard horror stories of flies at Uluru, and wanted to make sure we had everything we needed, so flies didn’t ruin our trip.

In this post, I share everything I learned during that research.

I produce this post without pretending to be an expert on flies or Uluru itself, but with a curiosity that comes from planning travel, and wanting to make the limited time we got at this special place, as distraction free as possible.

So here it is, everything I learned about flies at Uluru.

Related: Are there snakes in Melbourne?

OUR AUSTRALIA CREDENTIALS

The Reeves have lived for over 5 years in Melbourne, with little Gracie being born here. We have travelled extensively, picking up lots of tips about how to make the most of this incredible country.
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Ben Reeve
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When Is the Worst Time for Flies in Uluru?

flies on the grey t shirt of a hiker taken in selfie mode with the orange rocks of uluru in the background
My new friends on our afternoon trip to Kata Tjuta

The flies at Uluru are at their worst during the hot Australian summer months of December, January, and February, however they are also present in the shoulder seasons, with flies more noticeable from September right the way through until April.

As temperatures climb and conditions become dry in the Outback, flies emerge in massive numbers to take advantage of prime breeding conditions.

During these peak summer times, flies are at their most annoying and gather wherever there is a chance of food, which often means on the skin of helpless tourists. It can be very difficult to avoid them, even if you’re a member of the Royal Family (Will and Kate battled with the flies on their trip)!

Why Are There So Many Flies at Uluru?

Uluru serves as an ideal habitat for flies with its permanent water sources, animal dung (from camels mostly), rotting vegetation, and dark, rocky crevices for nesting.

Fly populations explode as they mate and lay eggs rapidly in the harsh environment.

The bush flies and Australian sheep blowflies especially thrive in the heat and are responsible for the worst fly plagues.

How to Avoid The Flies at Uluru?

Visiting Uluru in other cooler and drier months is the best way to avoid the flies.

If you are planning to visit during the peak fly months though, here are some tips for avoiding them:

  • Get out on tours early in the morning or later in the afternoon/evening. Fly activity peaks during the hottest part of the day, so try to be out when it’s cooler.
  • Wear light-coloured clothing. Flies are the opposite to insects and are less attracted to pale or bright colours versus dark clothing. Research shows flies are most attracted to the colour blue, but yellow seems to be a repellent. Opt for long-sleeved shirts and pants in tan, white, or other light shades.
  • Use natural repellents. Whilst insect repellents aren’t great against flies, they do help a bit. Essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass can help deter flies when applied to exposed skin or clothing. The Aboriginal people used crushed plants like river lily as natural fly repellents.
  • Cover up with nets. Netted hats are the best way to keep flies off your face.
  • Avoid standing water sources. Flies need water to breed, so don’t linger near waterholes such as Mutitjulu at the southern side of Uluru.
  • Keep food sealed or covered. Don’t leave food scraps out in the open that could attract flies. Keep all food sealed tightly in bags or containers.

If all else fails, you might just need to try an ‘Aussie Salute’, the gesture used across Australia to get rid of bush flies.

Fly Nets

If you’re visiting in summer, the reality is you’re not going to be able to avoid the flies, and repellents aren’t generally strong enough to keep them off your face, so it’s best to invest in a fly net that goes over your head or attaches to a hat.

We saw these for sale at both Oz Collections and Ayers Rock Designs shops in Yulara town square, however, we were at Uluru in winter, so I’m not sure what the availability would be like in peak months when everyone needs one!

It is best to buy a fly net in advance, as they are readily, and cheaply, available from online stores.

Order a Fly Net in Advance

There are fly nets available for lots of difference circumstances, so we’ve picked out a few of the best below, that you can pack for Uluru.

Comhats Net Fly Fishing Hat Summer Sun UV Exploring Men Nylon Bucket Hiking Boating Gardening Veil Hats Army Green
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Comhats Net Fly Fishing Hat Summer Sun UV Exploring Men Nylon Bucket Hiking Boating Gardening Veil Hats Army Green
  • Long Mesh Veil - the nets provide full protection from bugs, mosquitoes, flies and insects when doing outdoor activities like gardening, fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, boating etc. You can also...
  • UPF 50: the waterproof nylon fabric has passed SPF test, the 3.2" wide brim provides great sunshade and blocking.
EVEN NATURALS Premium Mosquito Head Net | Ultra Large & Long, Extra Fine Holes, Mesh | Insect Netting, Soft Durable Fly Screen | Carry Bag
  • SOFT AND DURABLE: Extra fine – 620 holes/inch2
  • SIMPLY THE BEST MOSQUITO HEAD NET: This Mosquito net is bigger than other nets. It has the finest mesh, the only head net with 620 holes/inch2. The net also provides fresh air. It offers great...
Mosquito Net for Stroller (2 Pack) - Durable Baby Stroller Mosquito Net - Perfect Bug Net for Strollers, Bassinets, Cradles, Playards, Pack N Plays and Portable Mini Crib (Black) … …
  • PREMIUM AND ECO-FRIENDLY MATERIAL - Made of breathable material, ultralight, strethchy and durable, no deet or any other chemical repellents, no worry to babies' safety anymore.
  • FINER AND DENSER MESH - 1mm diameter honeycomb mesh structure, make this carseat mosquito net cover more effective, sturdy and durable. An ideal natural and high reusable solution for boys and girls...

Types of Fly at Uluru

Uluru is the perfect habitat for many types of fly (I certainly didn’t realise there were so many!), with over 120 flies documented in the area.

The most prolific of our little friends are the bush flies, Australian sheep blowflies, and the common housefly.

Bush flies, known for their tenacious biting behaviour, are extremely prevalent in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Attracted by the local plants and settlement of Yulara, these small flies emerge in dense clouds during the warmer months, making them a nuisance for tourists.

macro photo of blowfly on stalk of leaf isolated on black background

The Australian sheep blowfly, metallic green in colour, is also found at Uluru in the summer. Drawn by the presence of small mammals, these blowflies are known for their noisy, droning buzz.

Finally, the ubiquitous housefly can be found year-round around Uluru, gathering around water sources and food scraps left by visitors. Identifiable by their greyish colour and clear wings, houseflies ill be found mostly around the camps and visitor centres.

The Role of Flies at Uluru

Yes, they are annoying, but flies actually play a crucial part in Outback ecosystems.

They help with pollination of plants in a tough environment, help breakdown dead animals at times with little moisture, prey on other insects to control numbers and act as a food source for birds and reptiles.

It’s actually quite necessary that there are so many of them, as they have such a crucial role to do, with beautiful birds such as the Shining Flycatcher unlikely to have the food to support them if there were fewer.

Flies at Uluru FAQs

When is Fly Season at Uluru?

Fly season is in the hotter, summer months. They are at their peak between December and February, but can be found between September and April


What are the most common fly species found around Uluru?

Uluru’s three most common fly species are Bush Flies, Australian Sheep Blowflies and House Flies.


Why are there so many flies at Uluru?

Uluru is the perfect place for flies to breed, with the shelter of the rocks and year-round waterholes There are also lots of food sources with human settlement at nearby Yulara and lots of animals, such as the camel farm, it is fly heaven in the area!


Are there flies at Uluru in winter?

You may find a few flies at Uluru in winter, but generally they are significantly worse in the from September to April, where breeding conditions and hot weather are perfect for them.


Do you need insect repellent at Uluru?

It may help keep a few of the flies away, but on the bad days your best bet is to get out early before the flies come out, and back a fly net to go over your hat.


What tips are there for avoiding flies at Uluru?

Top tips for avoiding flies at Uluru would be to get out early or late when flies are less active, stay away from waterholes, where light-coloured clothing and to keep food sealed.

the reeves family picture

AUTHOR – BEN REEVE

Reeves Roam, is a first-hand travel blog. The Reeves have lived in the UK, South Africa and Australia and have travelled extensively in Europe and Southeast Asia.

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Thanks – Ben, Becca and Gracie