Uluru in a day, a weekend, a week

Photo: supplied

Photo: supplied

With Sounds of Silence celebrating 25 years, “Field of Light” extended until 2020 and direct flights that take less than three hours, there’s never been a better time to tick Uluru off your bucket list.

A day

Photo: supplied

Uluru illuminated by Field of Light. Photo: supplied

Check into the newly refurbished Lost Camel hotel when it reopens on July 1 (it’s taking bookings) and make a beeline to the free, 45-minute bush food experience. It will whet your appetite for lunch at Kulata Academy Cafe, which supports indigenous trainees. Relax by the pool before a night-at-“Field of Light” experience, where Bruce Munro’s 50,000 solar light bulbs awaken in his Avatar-like art installation. Enjoy a bush tucker-inspired dinner before getting some rest – it’s an early start for the Desert Awakenings Tour. Watch the domes of Kata Tjuta turn from silhouettes to boulders from a dune top over bacon-and-egg rolls before a guided base tour of Uluru.

A weekend

Photo: supplied

Photo: supplied

Ditch the city for a luxurious weekend in Uluru, where the $3000-plus-a-night tented pavilions at Longitude 131° have unparalleled views of the rock from bed. If that’s a little above budget, Sails in the Desert offers more affordable premium accommodation. Both have a pool for an afternoon dip, essential before a transfer to Field of Light at dusk. Return to Table 131° for a four-course dinner or experience Tali Wiru, where you’ll sip champagne to the sound of a didgeridoo, before walking to a dune for an unforgettable meal under the Milky Way. Rise early for a bird’s-eye view of Kata Tjuta and Uluru during a 30-minute chopper ride. You’ll be back in time for the breakfast buffet at Ilkari Restaurant. The afternoon is reserved for a relaxing lunch and treatment at Spa Kinara or Red Ochre Spa. Those splashing out at Longitude 131° should opt for a private dune-top dinner on their last night, before stargazing from the balcony.

A week

The Deluxe Rock View Room at Desert Gardens Hotel. Photo: supplied

The Deluxe Rock View Room at Desert Gardens Hotel. Photo: supplied

There are countless ways to explore the desert, from guided walks and camels to Harley Davidson motorbikes and helicopters. Buy a one-to-three day pass for the Uluru Hop On Hop Off shuttle, or spend a day at Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park, where sandstone walls plunge nearly 300 metres to a tropical oasis. Take advantage of free family-friendly activities (double rooms at Desert Gardens Hotel have two, family-friendly double beds), such as a cultural ‘bush yarn’ from an indigenous storyteller or a performance at the Mani-Mani Indigenous Cultural Theatre. For a little extra, explore the secrets of the night sky during a Family Astro Tour. The whole family can spend a night at Sounds of Silence, an Australian Tourism Hall of Famer offering the sunset, a buffet peppered with native ingredients and stargazing.

Notes from the road

Get there: Jetstar offers the cheapest flights, direct one-way from $189, jetstar.com

Stay: All Uluru accommodation, aside from Longitude 131°, is through Voyages, who help with scheduling of activities.

The writer travelled with assistance from Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia and Jetstar.

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