I like to think of myself as a woman of the world. I’ve travelled a little, and I have big plans to travel a whole lot more.
I want to go to North America and see the Aurora Borealis. I want to see the beaches and islands in Thailand. I would kill to do a week in an Hawaiian resort and when I’m a bit older and a bit wealthier I am going to travel Europe in style. (I’ll stay at the London Ritz, thank you, not the Earl’s Court backpackers.)
But as a learnt recently, I really should have had Central Australia on my list. You simply cannot go without seeing that great Australian icon, Uluru.
If you haven’t seen the sun rise standing on the viewing platform between Uluru and Kata Tjuta then you have missed one of life’s truly magnificent experiences. The sky goes from the blackest of nights through every shade of blue and yellow as the sun slowly lights up the red earth beneath you. In the distance Uluru is in silhouette and next to you are the slowly changing colours of The Olgas, Kata Tjuta. It’s God’s country, that’s for sure.
Speaking of the sky, this city slicker had no idea that you could see the dusty milky way with the naked eye. If you get far enough away from the ambient light, the night sky puts on quite a show. The astronomy lads at the Ayers Rock resort know how to bring the stars to life. I was lucky enough to be guided on my tour of the night time sky by two very knowledgeable astronomers and their very serious telescopes.
Ayers Rock Resort, known as Yulara by the locals, is a great set up. The accommodation options range from back packer hostel to five star hotel with everything in between. There are a full range of dining options (café, the best buffet I’ve ever had, fine dining), a suite of free cultural activities, shops, local art galleries and a gorgeous day spa.
I was lucky enough to be a guest at Sails in the Desert when I visited Uluru. This luxurious hotel was renovated recently and the results are spectacular. Every detail, from the iconic dry river bed motif in the carpet, to the exclusively commissioned light fittings, has been carefully designed for the ultimate outback experience. The pool, the bar and the restaurants are enticing. The staff are welcoming and helpful.
But for your true outback experience, there is nothing that compares to seeing Uluru for the first time.