Luxury Escapes Guide to Uluru

The sacred, beating heart of Australia’s great Red Centre, needs no introduction – with the iconic rock renowned for spectacular sunsets, once-in-a-lifetime cultural experiences and the untold stories of creation.

Uluru stands both literally in the heart of Australia, and figuratively in the nation’s collective unconscious, a rust-red icon that continues to draw visitors from across the country, and the world, in seemingly endless busloads. The impressive natural landmark and its surrounding bushland hold deep cultural significance for the traditional Anangu owners, whose stories can be best experienced with a journey to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Embrace the morning by foot, helicopter or camel – and watch in awe as sunrise unfurls across the outback and ignites Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in a spectacular parade of changing colours, a million shades of red, pink and orange. Bowerbirds and crimson chats awaken, eager to sing out and break the all-encompassing stillness; followed by the warming aroma of parched spinifex grasses and ancient earth. The staggering soulfulness of the land demands your full attention. After the sun has risen on the Northern Territory’s mightiest monolith, take the chance to cycle or walk around Uluru’s base, pausing for a moment to slow down and listen to gentle caresses of the wind, said by the Anangu to be the whispers of creation.

For food lovers, the bush offers culinary delights in abundance – grill up crocodile or kangaroo on the barbie (affectionate Australian slang for ‘barbecue’) or embark on a cultural odyssey of the local flora. The ‘Sounds of Silence’ dinner shouldn’t be missed – begin with sparkling wine and seasonal canapes before being whisked away to a secret location, meticulously curated to allow guests to embrace every extraordinary moment as the sun falls and twilight descends gently across the park. As the Milky Way appears and a lavish bush tucker dinner is served, listen as a local stargazer maps heaven beneath one of the clearest night skies in the world.

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Escapes different in every sense

Things to see and do

Witness the dazzling colours of the Field of Light

Bruce Munro’s illuminating exhibition has been given an indefinite residency on the unspoilt canvas of Uluru’s outback. The 50,000 spindles of light cast an otherworldly web of luminescence across acres of bushland, lighting up the black night with deep magenta, cool blue and ephemeral white. Take a seat at the Field of Light dinner table and taste a three-course bush tucker feast as the thousands of frosted bulbs bloom with colour, or simply weave through the grounds on your own expedition.

Take a helicopter tour over the outback

Perfect for those on a time crunch, this tour allows you to see the mesmerising Uluru, Kings Canyon, Lake Amadeus and Kata Tjuta on a helicopter journey through Australia’s Red Centre. Taking to the skies, an educated pilot provides informative commentary about the storied history and geography of each landmark, followed by a stop at Kings Canyon Resort with time for the Kings Creek Walk. With flights departing from Ayers Rock Resort daily (weather permitting) from sunrise to sunset, you’ll enjoy a sky-high view of all the region’s best sights in just a few short hours.

Embark on a sunrise camel ride through the desert

Watch as the sun’s first simmering rays tickle the top of Uluru and Kata Tjuta on a peaceful sunrise camel ride. Majestic beasts fall into a tidy line as experienced cameleers guide guests across the crimson sand dunes, teaching travellers about the flourishing flora and fauna along the way. Stop at remote lookouts, taking photos of the swimming sun peeking out of the horizon, and sink your teeth into freshly baked beer bread damper with Australian jams, tea and coffee.

Cycle around the base of Uluru

Endeavouring to explore the immense monolith of Uluru is no small feat, but thankfully there are pathed, cyclable roads to guide your ride around the rock. Strap on a helmet and bike the 15-kilometre distance around the base of Uluru as you take in rugged landscapes featuring ancient rock art and reviving waterholes on this three-hour journey. Upon your return, visit the Ininti Cafe and souvenir shop, serving gourmet pies and coffee and selling a selection of Uluru-inspired gifts to take back home.

Hike along the rim of Kings Canyon

A trip to Australia’s Red Centre offers no shortage of naturally formed wonders; budget a few days in your itinerary to visit Kings Canyon, a three-hour drive from Uluru, to hike its ancient layers and view the dusty outback from a soaring altitude. The Rim Walk takes you up 500 steps to the peak of the basin, where you’ll undertake a three-hour-long trek along rocky red paths with rewarding views across the cavernous landscape. Despite the challenging terrain, you will find explorers of all ages and fitness levels conquering the journey, and the endless photo-ops will leave you with ample time to recharge.

Visit the impressive salt lakes near Curtin Springs

The salt lakes just 50km north of Uluru could be mistaken for a mirage with powdery-white banks starkly contrasting the deep ochre sands of the outback. Holding over 600 million tons of salt, Lake Amadeus is the focal point of the region, flowing for over 180 mesmerising kilometres. You can view the lake from the top of the Mount Connor lookout or take part in a guided walk with Curtin Springs Wayside Inn as they delve into the landscape’s unique geography.

Experience a dot-painting workshop with local artists

Learn about the ancient heritage of Uluru and the Anangu culture with a dot-painting workshop at the not-for-profit Maruku arts and cultural centre. For 30 years, Maruku has been connecting guests to indigenous stories through tours and workshops. A local Anangu artist will share with you the knowledge passed down to them through hundreds of generations, teaching you the meaning behind traditional symbols, introducing you to Anangu tools and inspiring you to create your own artwork to take home.

Learn about ancient rock art with a free ranger-guided walk

The beautiful art that paints the walls of Uluru’s red rocks is a lasting note of an ancient way of learning, each drawing representing a lesson that has been passed down through thousands of years. Take a free ranger-guided walk through the Mala trail and learn about the site’s sacred geology and cultural heritage. Your educated ranger will decipher the meaning of passing rock art and tell you Tjukurpa (creation stories) of rock formations, before ending your walk at the Kantju Gorge — a steep wall that transforms into a tumbling waterfall after it rains.

Wander through the grandeur of Kata Tjuta

The soaring red rock domes of Kata Tjuta have owned a sacred place in the culture and traditions of the Aboriginal Anangu people for over 22,000 years. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Kata Tjuta features a range of designated walking trails that allow visitors to immerse themselves in this sacred site, from short, leisurely strolls to longer hikes with breathtaking views. The Walpa Gorge walk will take you up a gentle incline past rare flora before ending in a grove of spearwood, whereas the immersive Valley of the Winds is a steep 7.4-km climb with two spellbinding lookouts that make the journey worth your while.

Top places to eat and drink


Ilkari restaurant’s tremendous buffet offering has as many options as the sky from which, in the local Pitjantjatjara, it takes its name. Boasting an immersive environment and a mouthwatering menu – including, during breakfast, a live pancake and egg cooking station – the restaurant’s menu proudly serves both local indigenous heritage-inspired and international cuisines. Dinner is reservation-only; it is best to book early as this gem is a fan-favourite amongst both locals and travellers alike.

Tali Wiru

An evening at Tali Wiru – meaning ‘beautiful dune’ in the local Anangu – offers hungry travellers a chance to taste local bush delicacies in a setting seemingly woven out of dreams. Dine beneath the vast, star-filled skies of the Southern Desert as you soak in spectacular views of Uluru and the ancient domes of Kata Tjuta. Across four sumptuous courses – each showcasing native ingredients long prized by indigenous Australians – you’ll discover brand-new bush flavours carefully paired with premium Australian wines. Feast on scampi caviar, Japanese scallops with duck foie gras espuma and Glacier 51 Toothfish with polenta and native beach succulents, enjoying the unique ambiance of the desert stillness as twilight falls over Uluru.

Arnguli Grill & Restaurant 

Named after the Pitjantjatjara word for ‘bush plum,’ Arnguli Grill & Restaurant serves spectacular modern Australian bites surrounded by mighty ghost gums and the restaurant’s wonderful gardens. Offering an extensive menu with a variety of quality Australian wines, keen diners will notice a wealth of local grains, spices, seeds and flavours on display. For a true taste of country, go for fresh oysters Kilpatrick (accompanied by local bush tomato) or the Native Tasting Plate, parading local culinary delights such as smoked wallaby, grilled crocodile scallions and kangaroo medallions upon a bed of braised cabbage. Reservations are essential so make sure you book early!

Wintjiri Wiru Sunset Dinner

Wintjiri Wiru means ‘beautiful view out to the horizon’ in Pitjantjatjara, and that’s a promise! Lounge upon a dunetop in the open-air desert theatre as you take in unparalleled views of Uluru and get ready for the show to come. Greeted by delectable cocktails infused with bush fruits and spices, feast on a delicious gourmet dinner hamper displaying Wintjiri Wiru’s masterful fusion of cutting-edge culinary techniques and ancient ingredients. As the sun sets behind the fiery rock, witness the indigenous Mala story bought to life in the night sky by projections, lasers and choreographed drones. Accompanied by narration in local Pitjantjatjara and a traditional soundtrack, embark on a journey across millennia in one spectacular night.

As custodians of the land, Anangu hold the Mala story from Kaltukatjara to Uluru. To share their story from Kaltukatjara to Uluru, RAMUS designed and produced an artistic platform using drones, light and sound to create an immersive storytelling experience.

Outback BBQ and Bar

For an authentic taste of Aussie barbecue, look no further than Outback BBQ and Bar. Tucked within the massive Ayers Rock Resort, this laidback dining option offers mighty portions of fun and flavour. Choose from a dazzling array of locally sourced meats – beef, pork, chicken, fish, emu or steak are all available – and then cook them yourself over the flaming-hot grill. Finish with a quick visit to the restaurant’s expansive salad bar and an ice-cold frothy at the end of a day of exploring

Lux moments

Discover the outback’s magic at the Sounds of Silence dinner

Rightfully legendary among visitors to UIuru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Sounds of Silence offers guests a dramatic glimpse into the magic and mystery of the Red Centre from one of the best seats in the house – atop an ochre dune. As twilight falls, canapes are served, wine is poured and the Milky Way arrives in all its spectacular majesty to the rhythmic droning of traditional didgeridoos. Fresh, bush tucker-inspired cuisine awaits as the evening’s resident ‘star talker’ walks you through the evening sky, drawing your attention to constellations and planets that can only be seen in the utterly clear evening atmosphere of the bush.

Dine ‘Under a Desert Moon’ at King’s Canyon

A breezy three-hour drive from Uluru King’s Canyon hides one of the Red Centre’s most sought-after culinary adventures, Under a Desert Moon. Diners are treated to relaxed canapes and sparkling wine at Carmichael’s Restaurant before being whisked away to a secret location in the great bush beyond. Dining under the desert’s vast canopy of stars, guests are met with five sumptuous courses of bush-inspired, locally sourced cuisine celebrating the flavours of the Northern Territory, all illuminated by the flickering light and whispering warmth of the nearby campfire. It’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Indulge with a wellness treatment at Red Ochre Spa

After dust-filled days spent exploring Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park’s extraordinary natural splendour, retreat to the Red Ochre Spa at Ayers Rock Resort to soothe your weary body with treatments designed to rehydrate, exfoliate and reinvigorate. Highly recommended is the ‘Dreaming’ signature wellness journey – begin with a full body exfoliation, said to assist with blood flow and lymphatic drainage, followed with a whole-body massage customised to your needs and preferences, and finished with a flash facial designed to fully relax and recharge.

Soar over Uluru in a helicopter

There’s nothing quite like it – the feeling of soaring over mighty Uluru like the local brown falcon (called kirkinpa in Pitjantjatjara) as you take in the Northern Territory’s breathtaking majesty. Make sure you take your camera – the photo opportunities are extraordinary. It’s an especially satisfying ascent for those who’ve hiked the park’s rocky gorges, mulga woodlands and sweeping spinifex-filled grasslands – to behold the entirety of the park at once is an almost spiritual experience well worth seeking out.