Bruce Munro, the artist behind the Field of Light Uluru and Darwin's Tropical Light, has a special relationship with Yulara (Ayers Rock Resort), where Indigenous flavours are celebrated in the cuisine. The Tali Wiru dining experience opens for its 2020 season on March 23, running until October 15. See ayersrockresort.com.au
Kick-start your day with a Bush Tucker Omelette at Ilkari Restaurant, Sails in the Desert. Native Indigenous flavours such as bush tomato, smoked kangaroo, warrigal greens, lemon myrtle and pepper berries elevate this simple dish into something special. Part of Ilkari's extensive breakfast buffet, this will set you up for a busy day exploring Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and its surrounds.
Pay a visit to Kulata Academy Cafe in the Yulara Town Square for a coffee and an irresistible Desert Lime Melting Moment. This inspiring cafe is completely staffed and operated by young Indigenous trainees from Ayers Rock Resort's National Indigenous Training Academy. You can sip delicious coffee and indulge in gourmet treats while feeling good about contributing to this training facility that empowers Indigenous trainees and supports them on the road to success in the hospitality industry.
Taking its name from the local Pitjantjatjara word for desert quandong, Mangata is a great spot for a casual lunch surrounded by the native greens and ghost gums of the Desert Gardens Hotel. Find a table on the outdoor terrace and choose from a menu of light dishes with notes of bush tucker flavours. I like the Burrata with Roma Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Balsamic, Rocket Pesto and Bush Dukkah Salt.
Swing by Walpa Bar at Sails in the Desert for a tasty Indigenous-inspired cocktail. The Mixologist offers a twist on age-old classics with the Lemon Myrtle Martini, the Davidson Plum Daiquiri and the Wattleseed Espresso Martini, featuring native wattleseed syrup.
You can't beat Tali Wiru for wow-factor. This extra-special dining experience is set on a secluded sand dune overlooking Uluru and Kata Tjuta and limited to 20 guests so feels intimate and luxurious. Sip Champagne and try Indigenous-inspired canapés while watching the sun set over the desert landscape, accompanied by the sounds of a digeridoo. As night falls, a four-course dinner is served, with delicious Australian wines to accompany. This season's menu features ingredients from across Australia, including green ants wild-harvested in the Northern Territory's Top End, quandongs from Alice Springs, desert lime and saltbush from South Australia and camel milk from Victoria. Other ingredients include desert oak from the same family as those surrounding the Tali Wiru site, sea grapes, pickled muntries, boab, bunya nuts and kurrajong seeds which were used in traditional Indigenous baking. Every dish on this menu is special, but chocolate lovers will particularly enjoy the Textures of Chocolate with Davidson Plum, Lemon Myrtle, Rosella and Hot Chocolate sauce.