The Weekender: Uluru, NT
In the heart of the The Northern Territory, or ‘The Red Centre,’ stands Uluru, or Ayers Rock.
The massive sandstone monolith is 450 km away from the nearest large town, Alice Springs, but that does not mean you can’t have a luxurious weekend devoted entirely to the Rock, exploring the desert and taking in the silence.
The Sounds of Silence, part of the Bush Tucker Journeys program, is a luxury dinner in which diners are sat outside, with a view of the Rock and the stars, complimented by a never-ending flow of Australian wine. The night lasts for four hours, during which dinner will served, the resident star talker will decode the southern night sky, and other entertainment will be provided. In this 5 star experience, you will locate the Southern Cross, the signs of the zodiac, the Milky Way, as well as planets and galaxies that are visible due to the exceptional clarity of the atmosphere.
If you are looking for luxury and amazing views of Uluru, the gastronomic experience that is Tali Wiru should do the trick. For a night filled with champagne and bush tucker inspired canapes and an exquisite 4-course table d’hote menu matched with premium wines, Tali Wiru is another luxury stop off that will make your weekend just that bit more special.
As part of the Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ilakri Restaurant is a unique experience with an international menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can choose to have a three-course dinner experience which can include a selection of seafood, an array of antipasto, cured meats and soups to awaken your tastebuds. There are also options of pastas, Asian favourites, roasts and a grill selection cooked-to-order abound with signature dishes enlivened by Indigenous flavours that will settle your appetite.
The Mangata Bistro and Bar, part of the Desert Gardens Hotel, is a light and chic place to have a drink or two before dinner, or a nightcap after a day of adventuring. The contemporary indoors flows seamlessly to an outdoor terrace, where you’re surrounded by the native greens of the iconic gardens in the hotel. Offering a range of sandwiches, burgers, pastas, tapas and salads, this is the perfect place to simply unwind with a cocktail.
Pira Pool Bar is also part of the Sails in the Desert Hotel, but is located at the pool, meaning that your relaxation and fun do not have to be separated. For the Anangu people the moon or, pira, is a guide through the seasons. At Sails in the Desert, the poolside Pira is a poolside setting for casual dining or a relaxed holiday cocktail.
Gecko’s Café is located at the Resort Town Square, and is just right for a coffee and a bite to eat. With quality produce and an inclusion of Indigenous herbs and spices, Gecko’s has something for everyone.
Camels were imported and introduced in the 19th century and remained the principal means of outback transport until railways and roads were established. There are both wild and tame camels in the Northern Territory, and riding them is an experience unlike any other. So, get ready and explore the outback just as the early pioneers did – on a camel.
One of the primary things to do around Uluru and it’s beautiful surrounds is walk around and in them. Uluru is a 10.6km full circuit, which takes approximately 3.5 hours. There are a range of walks, including the Kuniya Walk, The Lungkata Walk, and The Liru Walk. There are other sites to walk at, such as Kata Tjuta, which provide amazing scenery and beautiful rock formations that you will never forget.
Field of Lights is a recent installation in Uluru that lights up the night sky as a fantasy light garden of 50,000 spindles of light. The exhibition is named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Pitjantjatjara. The work is from British artist Bruce Munro, this being his largest work to date, and will be there until December 2020,
Sails in the Desert is a 5-star luxury hotel that is central to Uluru and provides many of the opulent amenities already listed on this guide. It is a premium outback experience that is centred around the guest, catering to their every need. In a destination where one of the world’s oldest cultures still thrives, the mystery, colour and wisdom of the local Anangu people is interwoven into every facet of Sails in the Desert’s modern design, and has a gallery, spa treatments, a pool, plus bars and restaurants.
Glamping? In the Northern Territory? Views of Uluru? Yes please. Relax at Longitude 131 and discover the World Heritage listed wilderness, stay in a private and tranquil space and enjoy the serenity that the desert has to offer. There is a spa, bar and restaurant and access to the amazing sights and experiences.
The newly renovated 4.5 star Desert Gardens Hotel offers 218 elegant guestrooms with amazing views of Uluru, situated in the Ayers Rock Resort. There are deluxe rooms, poolside rooms, and rooms with garden views of Australian native plants. Offering the pool, a number of restaurants, free guided walks around the gardens, the Red Ochre Spa and a tranquillity that is unique the Red Centre.