When visiting the Red Centre & Uluru, you’ll being staying at Yulara (Ayer’s Rock Resort), a collection of hotels and resorts that cater to different budgets and tastes, all conveniently located on one property. The best tip we can give you is to try the restaurants located in other hotels. Don’t just stick to the options located in your particular hotel. There’s even a free shuttle that will take you around to the location of your choice. Honestly, the experience is a bit like being on a cruise ship surrounded by sand, except nothing is included.
But it’s actually still pretty incredible. The resort is in the middle of a desert with few resources close by but the staff does an amazing job transporting in fresh meats and produce. Even the seafood is surprisingly fresh! Additionally, Ayers Rock has been gradually upgrading the range of experiences available and there are a few that really stand out. Altogether there are about 15 restaurants and bars and 3-4 dining experiences. Based on client feedback and our own experiences, we have highlighted 8 of our favorites below.
A Night at Field of Light
This four and a half hour dining experience easily tops the list. It’s going to be the “must-do” experience of 2016 and the first 3 months of 2017. Why? Because it’s an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will only be possible from April 2016 until the end of March 2017! The Field of Light is an art installation by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro. It’s an installation with over 50,000 slender stems crowned with frosted-glass spheres that will illuminate as darkness falls over Australia’s red heart.
This dining experience uses the Field of Light and resplendent desert sunset as a backdrop for one incredible dining experience. You’ll start by enjoying canapés and chilled sparkling wine as the sun sets, creating majestic views of Uluru. The darkness will gradually fall while thousands of glass spheres gently sparkle as you enjoy a special three-course bush tucker inspired menu. You’ll enjoy a didgeridoo performance and then take a walk within the pathways of the Field of Light. You’ll return to a sweet treat and hot chocolate or port before you head back to your hotel.
Tali Wiru, similar to the popular ‘Sounds of Silence’ dinner, is on the higher end of luxury and exclusivity. The name, Tali Wiru, which means ‘beautiful’ dune’ in the local language of Anangu. It perfectly describes the magnificent setting overlooking Ayers Rock (Uluru) in one direction and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) in the other. Choose this experience and you’ll be transferred from your hotel to the remote sand dune by an Aboriginal guide. You’ll walk up the dune and be greeted by Uluru, almost black against the darkening sky, and the rhythmic humming of a didgeridoo. Start with chilled champagne and canapés while you watch the dipping sun turn Uluru a deep red.
You’ll be taken to the highest point of the dune and seated at your table, which offers a 360 degree view of both scared landmarks. Your arrival is perfectly timed so that you see the sun disappear over the horizon, leaving a wash of color in its wake. Soon you’ll enjoy a gourmet 4-course dinner under the star-filled southern sky. Choose from a small, but creative selection of dishes, each paired with its own premium Australian wine. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to try a variety of dishes and wines. After dinner, the guide will give you a tour of the night sky and tell ancient stories of the constellations while you sip on a glass of port, cognac with native wattleseed infused hot chocolate.
Tali Wiru operates from April to October.
Sounds of Silence
Sounds of Silence is an award winning Gourmet Australian barbecue dinner with a bush-tucker flare. Inspiring the two experiences above, this dinner will have similar elements. You’ll arrive right before sunset, listen to the sound of a didgeridoo as the sky washes with brilliant colors. You’ll enjoy wonderful dishes and quality selection of Australian wine and beer. The main difference is that you’ll help yourself to your own selection from a bush tucker inspired buffet that incorporates ingredients like crocodile, kangaroo, barramundi and quandong. You’ll sit at table with about 8 other guests and have plenty of opportunity to make new friends and take photos of the landscape before your tour of the night sky. It’s a little less fancy and a little less romantic but still one amazing dining experience. It’s also a little more affordable!
Pioneer BBQ and Bar
Located at the budget friendly Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge, the Pioneer BBQ & Bar is a great laid-back eatery for people who want to socialize with other travelers and maybe meet a few of the locals. The bar can be busy in the evening, but with the live music jamming and people sitting along long trellised tables chatting away, it’s a friendly atmosphere with an unique dining experience. Head up to the counter to order your food. You’ll receive your choice of raw meat that you carry over to one of the 20 or so flat barbecues to cook up to your liking. Maybe try the Outback combo with emu sausage, beef sausage, kangaroo skewers and croc skewers. The salad bar is well stocked and it’s one of the few places on the resort that serves draft beer. Double check the menu if you order the pizza, many Americans are surprised when they receive a fresh pie loaded with a fried egg.
Relaxed and informal, yet still managing to be refined and eleganct, the Iikari Restaurant is located at the Sails in the Desert. This dining spot is known for it’s amazing buffet style cuisine. It’s one of the more expensive restaurants but most of our clients end up raving about the food. There is a wide selection of food during both breakfast and dinner. Choose from fresh oysters, seafood, bush tucker and classic meat dishes made to order right in front of you. You can eat all you’d like from a huge range of side dishes, salads and desserts.
Kulata Academy Cafe
The Kulata Academy Cafe is located in the Resort Town Square. Its purpose is to provide culinary and hospitality management training for trainees of Ayers Rock Resort’s National Indigenous Training Academy. There’s fresh bread and the coffee is fantastic. They make fresh sandwiches, rolls, salads and amazing shakes and desserts. It’s a great place to find a yummy and affordable breakfast or lunch while at the resort.
Argnguli Grill is located at the Desert Garden Hotel and specializes in fine dining with a touch of Australian native cuisine. It’s known for it’s friendly, attentive staff and gorgeous setting. We highly recommend the tasting plates matched with wine flights. The soft shell crab starter is also amazing! Accor Plus members get 50% off a meal for two.
Walpa Lobby Bar
This laid-back bar is located at Sails in the Desert. Walpa is one of the few places open after 9pm which means it’s a great place to catch a late dinner after your sunset tour in the desert. A few of our favorites here are the pumpkin and feta salad, fish and chips, or the prawns and crocodile meat laksa. It’s also a great place for lunch or just a casual drink with snacks.
Those are our favorite dining experiences in Uluru. From the extravagant once-in-a-lifetime experience to the affordable quick bite, you’re sure to find something to fit your fancy on your Outback adventure. Speaking of Outback adventures, are you ready to start planning yours?or Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm).
You may also like: An Outback Journey on The Ghan – 7 Reasons You’ll Love It! | Places to Visit in Australia – The Outback | 7 Breathtaking Regions of Australia’s Outback | Places to Visit in Australia to Experience Aboriginal Culture | Australia Vacation SpotsTags: australia, Dining, Field of Light, Uluru- Ayers Rock