Posted on: July 13th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments
Photo: Steve Strike / Tourism Australia
Uluru, also known as Ayer’s Rock, is one of the most important historical sites in Australia. The Anangu people, a group of Aboriginal Australians, revere Uluru as a sacred, holy site. They believe it is evidence of the creation of their culture by ancestral beings.
The immense monolith of red stone shoots up out of the Earth, shouting its significance across the desert. The deep red sandstone and surrounding clay look like some kind of Martian landscape. It’s no wonder they call it “the Red Center”.
Aside from the amazing historical significance of the site, there are plenty of things to do in Uluru that make it a must-visit destination in Australia.
Take a Walk
Uluru’s immensity is almost hard to comprehend in photos. For instance, did you know that this tremendous “land-iceberg” is taller than the Eiffel Tower? At nearly 1,200 feet tall, Uluru is 3 times taller than the Great Pyramid in Egypt. It’s also about the same height as the Empire State Building!
If you really want to appreciate Uluru’s size and massive footprint, set aside about 4 hours for a walking tour. That’s how long it will take you to walk around the base of the giant rock. Along the way you’ll see unique plant life, diverse wildlife and geological features that make up this important site.
But be sure to stick to the base walk. Though Uluru’s peak is a tempting destination for the avid mountaineer, out of respect for the Anangu people it is not advised to climb to the top.
Sounds of Silence
Dine under the stars with an amazing desert night dinner. The Sounds of Silence dinner is an Aussie Hall-of-Fame experience that wines and dines you in the heart of Uluru National Park. You’ll start the evening off with light appetizers and your choice of an array of fine Australian wine and beer.
As the sun sets, you’ll see the Red Center’s colors morph with the light, from bright reds to deep purples.
Photo: Anson Smart / Tourism Australia
Darkness envelopes the desert and the faint light of thousands of stars begins to twinkle, a bush-tucker inspired buffet dinner is served. The buffet incorporates local and indigenous cuisine and native bush ingredients.
Then, an expert guide will take you on a historical journey of the southern night sky. See the constellations of the zodiac, the prominent star cluster of the Milky Way, other planets and their moons and more.
The Sounds of Silence is part al-fresco dinner under the stars, part astronomical stargazing tour and all-around amazing experience.
For more incredible memories of Uluru National Park, add on a visit to the “Field of Light” art-installation. Famed artist Bruce Munro was commissioned to bring his luminary works of thousands of solar-powered twinkling lights to Uluru. For this installation, Munro upped the intensity of his normal installations to match the grandiose nature of Uluru.
You’ll walk through the dense, sprawling web of soft lights that blanket the desert. With thousands of stars visible overhead and the thousands of lights that turn the desert in to a galaxy of its own, the Field of Light is a sensory experience you’ll never forget.
The Field of Light is only running through December 2020, so if you want to see this web of woven light that blankets the desert (and trust us, you do!) – act fast!
Scenic Helicopter Ride
While climbing Uluru is not explicitly prohibited, or against Australian law, it is very much frowned upon and discouraged by the Anangu people as well as most Aussie locals. Since Uluru is a holy site for Aboriginal people, it is seen as highly disrespectful to walk on or climb.
Photo: Steve Strike / Tourism Australia
However, there are ways to see Uluru from all angles, including the very peak. A scenic helicopter ride around the Red Center is one of the best ways to observe the area and see the 1,200 foot peak.
You’ll hop aboard with an expert pilot as you are flown around Uluru National Park. See the numerous, massive domes that make up the Olgas, just south of Alice Springs. A scenic helicopter ride is one of the best ways to appreciate Uluru and the whole Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park area.
Sunset Camel Ride
Where would you say the largest population of camels live? Morocco? Saudi Arabia? Oddly enough, the answer is Australia! Though camels are not indigenous to Australia, they were imported in the 19th century for transportation and field work. Since then, their populations have exploded and more than 700,000 live in Australia.
Photo: The Precinct / Tourism Australia
Mount up on a camel for an amazing ride in the Australian outback. Your camel train will take you around the Uluru National Park area where you will witness the sunset and the changing colors of the Red Center.
The Sunset Camel Ride takes you off the beaten path, away from the crowds of tourists at Uluru. Listen close as your camel pack leader regales you with informative and interesting stories about Uluru’s plants, animals and history. This is the most unique way to see Uluru National Park and an experience you’ll never forget.
Stargazing in most cities just isn’t what it used to be. With always-on street lights, car headlights and densely populated urban areas, light pollution washes out up to 90% of visible stars in the sky. If you’ve never been in the remote back-country and looked at the stars, you might think that the Milky Way is just something we can see with telescopes or in pictures.
The Uluru National Park area is one of the most remote and darkest sites in the world. The lack of light pollution makes it an incredible spot for stargazing. Even before the sun completely sets, the twinkle of astral lights begins to blanket the sky. Once pure nightfall hits, the sky is awash in star clusters, constellations, planets and moons.
Go out with an astro-tour group and you’ll have the added benefit of binoculars, telescopes and an expert astronomer guiding you through the night sky.
Luxury Lodge Living
Looking to make your visit extra special? Longitude 131 is a luxury destination at the gateway of Uluru National Park. Experience the rugged outdoors of the outback during the day. Then, come home to a world-class, full-service accommodation at night. Each luxury lodge is eco-friendly, spacious and feature huge floor to ceiling windows for epic views of the outback. Dine on five-star cuisine and premium wine and drinks. You can also take part in exclusive small-group tours for guests.
Photo: Baillies Longitude 131
Longitude 131 is the perfect accommodation for couples. Celebrate your anniversary, honeymoon or other special occasion in one of the most unique destinations in the world.
Uluru National Park – Australian Outback Must-See
You’ll want to make the extra trip out to see Uluru and Uluru National Park. Since Australia is such a large country, getting out to Uluru requires a bit of planning. We’ll get you there without a hitch. Don’t leave anything to chance in this once in a lifetime cultural journey. Uluru has been described as breathtaking in it’s beauty and moving in its cultural significance – it truly can’t be missed!
Posted on: March 22nd, 2016 by Melissa Maxwell No Comments
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?