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Discover the Indigenous culture of Uluru

Uluru has long been a place of spiritual significance for Indigenous Australians & learning about the Anangu people and their culture is a highlight of any visit to the Red Centre.

Discover the Indigenous culture of Uluru

Friday, 19 July 2019

Guest post by Angela Saurine

European explorers may not have "discovered" Uluru until the 1870's, but the site has long been a place of spiritual significance for Indigenous Australians, who have lived in the area for more than 20,000 years. Hearing the stories of Uluru and Kata Tjuta's traditional owners, the Anangu people, which have been passes down from generation to generation, and learning about their fascinating culture is a highlight of any visit to the Red Centre.

Tjukurpa is the foundation of Anangu life and society. It refers to the period when ancestral beings created the world, and from this religion, law and moral systems. It tells of the relationships between people, plants, animals and the physical features of the land. Elders have kept this culture alive through storytelling, ceremonies, songs, dance and art for thousands of years.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park's Cultural Centre, at the base of Uluru, is a great place to begin. You enter through a tunnel which reveals several creation stories, and can also hear presentation at 10am daily. The centre is also home to two art galleries. You can see artists at work and ask questions about their creations at Walkatjara Gallery. Maruku Arts showcases traditionally-crafted wooden tools and artefacts, paintings, jewellery, pottery and other crafts by artists from the Central Western Desert region.

Maruku also holds super fun dot painting workshops each morning and afternoon int he Town Square at Ayers Rock Resort. You will learn some introductory words from the local language, Pitjantjatjara, and be introduced to symbols and tools before creating your own masterpiece to keep.

Maruku Dot Painting

You can also see traditional art, including geometric symbols such as concentric cirlces representing waterholes, figures representing animal tracks and the outlines of animals, in the caves and rock shelters of Uluru on a base walk with an Indigenous guide, who will also share Tjukurpa stories.

If you want to explore further afield, book a full-day small group 4WD tour to Cave Hill, around 100km away, to see paintings on the cave ceiling that tell the drama of the Seven Sisters creation story. Outside, you will be impressed by views of Mount Conner and the imposing Musgrave Ranges, and learn about traditional food gathering.

You can also discover 'bush tucker' ingredients, including flavoursome native herbs, spices, fruits and seeds that Indigenous Australians have been eating for thousands of years, on a guided or self-guided walk through the native gardens of Desert Gardens Hotel.

But whatever you do, don't leave without partaking in one of the amazing outdoor dining in the desert experiences on offer. Try kangaroo and bush tomato crostini, paperbark smoked crocodile frittata and poached prawn with native finger lime at the A Night at Field of Light. Or sip champagne as you watch the sunset over Uluru before dining on wattleseed damper, chicken breast dusted with lemon mrytle and pepperberry sauce, and quandong apple crumble at the Sounds of Silence dinner under the stars. If you prefer a fine dining experience, taste beetroot and Illawarra plum mousse; Moreton Bay bugs with pickled muntries, walnut emulsion and celery cres followed by rosella and lychee petit gateaux on a sand dune at the exclusive Tali Wiru.

Tali Wiru Food - Dessert

Angela Saurine is a Sydney-based freelance travel writer who specialises in writing about Indigenous tourism experiences. Her stories have appeared in publications including News Corp’s national travel section Escape, The Weekend Australian, Traveller,, Yahoo7, Jetstar Magazine, Voyeur. Qantas Travel Insider, Woman’s Day and MiNDFOOD.

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1 Day Hop On Hop Off Pass

This 1-day Hop On Hop Off pass gives you the freedom to explore Uluru at your own pace for one day. From sunrise to sunset, hop on and hop off as much as you like throughout the day. Additionally, this pass also entitles you to one bonus transfer to and from Kata Tjuta within the same day. Download timetable and map

15min Uluru and Resort Postcard Flight (daytime)

Limited on time? Take to the skies on a 15 minute scenic helicopter flight that takes you past Ayers Rock Resort and onto breathtaking views of the desert landscape and the majestic Uluru, as well as Kata Tjuta in the distance. Enjoy this tour anytime throughout the day, excluding sunrise and sunset. Tour duration is approx. 1 hour

15min Rock Blast (Daytime)

Launch off on a rock blasting adventure and take in the sights of Ayers Rock Resort and surrounding desert landscape as you make your way towards Uluru. Enjoy a panoramic view of the breathtaking scenery unique to the Red Centre.  Tour duration approx. 1 hour
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Longitude 131°

Located adjacent to Ayers Rock Resort, Longitude 131° offers an exclusive experience of the Australian Outback, rich in cultural heritage and history.

Emu Walk Apartments

Ayers Rock Resort's 4 star self-contained apartments: Only 20km from Uluru, the newly renovated 1 and 2 bedroom apartments are sheltered behind gardens of native trees. Lowest Price Guarantee.

Emu Walk Apartments

Ayers Rock Resort's 4 star self-contained apartments: Only 20km from Uluru, the newly renovated 1 and 2 bedroom apartments are sheltered behind gardens of native trees. Lowest Price Guarantee.
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Ecology & Museum Tour

Wintjiri museum provides an educational display highlighting local history, Aboriginal culture, geology, flora and fauna. On this interpretative tour of the museum your Aboriginal guide will introduce you to the region's unique ecology and classes of mammals and fauna types not found anywhere else in the world.  Gain insights into the Anangu land conservation and management practices as well as a brief historical overview; starting 30,000 years ago with the Aboriginal habitation to the early European explorers, and the development of tourism at Uluru. Tour duration: approx. 45 minutes. Days and times: daily, 3pm Location: Wintjiri Arts & Museum

Bush Yarn

Welcome to the Circle of Sand, the Indigenous heart of Ayers Rock Resort. You'll become captivated by the yarns told by an Indigenous storyteller of Aboriginal history, culture and traditional techniques used on the land. Dependant on the season, learn about traditional bushtucker or an Indigenous man’s “survival kit” including weapons such as katjii (hunting spears), tjutinpa (clubs), kali (boomerangs) and miru (spear thrower). Tour duration: approx 30 minutes. Days and times: daily, 10am, 10:30am, 11am, 11:30am Location: Town Square Lawn Area

Guided Garden Walk

Desert Gardens Hotel is famous for it's magnificent gardens full of local flora. Meet your Indigenous guide at the hotel's reception for a guided tour of these authentic native gardens and an introduction to the many different plants which Anangu relied on for food and medicinal purposes. Tour duration approx. 1 hour.
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3 Day Uluru Outback Adventure Itinerary

Discover adventure in the Australian outback over 2 adventure-packed nights. Witness an amazing sunrise over Uluru. Get an adrenaline rush on a Harley Davidson ride. Enjoy dinner under the stars at the award-winning Sounds of Silence and various guest activities. Tours in this itinerary requires a moderate level of fitness.

3 Day Uluru Budget Itinerary

Explore Australia's Red Centre on a budget in 2 packed nights. Experience the magic of Uluru. Enjoy a dinner under the stars at the award-winning Sounds of Silence, walk through the Field of Light and discover various guest activities that will provide you with unforgettable memories. This itinerary is designed for those wanting a budget adventure.

3 Day Family Itinerary

Discover the spiritual heart of Australia with this 2 night Uluru family itinerary including Astro Tour, Uluru and Kata Tjuta sunrise tour, Dot painting and various guest activities. The tours in this suggested Uluru Family itinerary are suited to families with children 5 years and over.
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Ayers Rock Resort is currently closed due to the impact of COVID-19 and related Northern Territory border and remote community closures.  We are currently taking general bookings from 1 August 2020, although this will be reviewed regularly should circumstances change. The Lost Camel Hotel is open for limited bookings for local residents and other guests who meet the mandated travel requirements and adhere to COVID-19 guidelines regarding health and safety. For guests travelling from outside the area prior to 17 July a mandatory 14 day self-isolation period will apply. Please refer to our FAQ page for further information.