Dreaming of Uluru

A trip to Australia’s Red Centre has always been on my bucket-list, yet I could never have predicted the impact it would have on me.

I flew direct from Brisbane to Uluru on Jetstar, an easy three-hour flight, and as the plane approached the runway I could hear the ‘wows’ from passengers as they saw quick glimpses of Uluru from their windows.

As the plane finished its loop, there it was – Uluru.  My first view of the enormous red rock in the middle of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was an experience I’ll never forget. Anyone who has been lucky enough to see the World Heritage-listed landmark could relate to my first impressions.

Traditional custodians of Uluru, the Anangu, believe this iconic landscape was created by their ancestors at the beginning of time and have been protecting it ever since. It’s cultural significance and spirituality is something to cherish and it’s clear why so many people would be drawn to it to celebrate a special occasion or to fulfil a lifelong dream.

Sails in the Desert

I stayed at the beautiful Sails in the Desert hotel where the Anangu culture thrives. Visitors can enjoy modern accommodation suites, a crystal-clear swimming pool, restaurants, bars, day spa and transfers to tours. Plus, it’s only a short walk to the Resort Town Square which has a supermarket, cafes, art galleries and souvenir shops.

While you’re there, take part in a Maruku Arts Dot Painting Workshop to learn from Indigenous artists about the different symbols used to create beautiful works of art depicting Creation Time (Tjukurpa) stories. Create your own artwork to take home as a memento of your experience. By learning the symbols you will be able to understand the incredible Indigenous paintings on display in the local resorts.

Tali Wiru

Before I had even left Brisbane, people were asking me if I was doing ‘the dinner’. The Tali Wiru open-air fine dining experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which sells out every night.

To get there, we travelled off-road through the desert to a secluded and remote sand dune. When we arrived, we walked along a candlelit pathway to a stunning dining area which overlooked Uluru and the distant domes of Kata Tjuta. From there the sun set, the champagne flowed, the canapes were passed around and Mother Nature put on a spectacular fairy floss-coloured sky. 

As night fell, we indulged in a four-course d’hôte menu under the stars with perfectly matched premium Australian wines. The menu featured award-winning local bush tucker containing native ingredients, ancient Indigenous flavours and modern cooking techniques.

Then as we were appreciating the stillness of the desert night, all of the lights are turned off and the entire sky came to life with stars. A storyteller shared tales of Indigenous culture and the southern night sky before the night ended around a campfire enjoying a port, cognac or Ceylon Souchong tea. The Tali Wiru dining experience was the highlight of my stay and one of the best things I have done in my life.

Uluru by Segway

One of the best ways to get up and close to Uluru is to segway around it. Travel into the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park and be led by a guide around the full 12km base of Uluru. Witness the awe-inspiring Mutitjulu Waterhole, sacred meeting areas, natural fauna and flora and wildlife.

As you get closer to Uluru you begin to notice its unique details and textures which you would not see from a distance. Our guide pointed out the best photo opportunities while keeping sacred and sensitive sites private. It was truly a unique experience and was a great way to learn more about the Anangu culture.

Camel to Field of Light

What better way to explore the desert than on the back of a camel! We travelled to the Uluru Camel Farm where I met my companion for the evening – Tex the camel. Tex chewed on a bit of hay and heavily breathed the flies away as we meandered for an hour through the desert overlooking Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the distance. Along the journey I couldn’t help but soak up the contrasting colours of the rich red dirt beside the bright blue sky. Along the way our cameleer guide described the unique flora and fauna around us while throwing in some funny camel facts.

As my ride with Tex came to an end, we were welcomed with champagne at an exclusive elevated viewing deck which overlooked Uluru. Here we enjoyed canapes and admired another spectacular sunset. As the night sky slowly built, so too did the 50,000 spindles of light from the Field of Light art installation. Field of Light is a global phenomenon created by internationally-acclaimed artist Bruce Munro, which represents the feeling he felt when he first saw Uluru.

Uluru has left a significant impact on me. The feeling you get when seeing it firsthand is hard to describe, but is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life. If a trip to the Red Centre is on your bucket list – do yourself a favour and tick it off.  

 

RACQ Travel Offer

One of the great natural wonders of the world, Uluru is an iconic destination not to be missed. Packaged holidays, self-drive adventures, rail packages and escorted tours are just some ways to discover the spectacular beauty, spiritual connections and ancient history of the region. Call RACQ Travel on 1300 188 713.

 

The writer travelled courtesy of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia and Jetstar. Photos by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia and Sam Marsh.