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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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Create your own itinerary using the My Itinerary planner. Start by browsing and adding experiences to your itinerary to help you plan your days. Then select accommodation that best suits your style and budget before finalising your perfect Uluru escape. You can easily save your itinerary and come back to it at a later date.

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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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Bush Food Experience

Learn about Australian and local bush tucker and how for many centuries local Indigenous groups would hunt, gather and prepare these bush foods. This will be followed by a fun cooking demonstration utilising a flavoursome Indigenous ingredient that you can try at home. Tour duration: approx. 45 minutes.  Days and times: daily, 1pm Location: Arkani Theatre, Amphitheatre area

Didgeridoo Workshop

Listen to the enchanting sounds of the didgeridoo. Yidaki, the traditional Aboriginal term for the didgeridoo, was discovered in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. During this workshop, guests are invited to try and play the didgeridoo. Note: Culturally, the didgeridoo is only played by males. We request your understanding and respect for Indigenous culture during this activity. Tour duration: approx. 45 minutes. Days and times: Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at 3:00pm Location: Resort Town Square, Lawn Stage

Bush Yarn

Listen to the stories of Aboriginal culture and tradition where you will be shown men’s weapons that were used for hunting or women’s tools and techniques to gather bush tucker in the central desert. These sessions may also provide an opportunity to learn aspects about the local Pitjantjatjara language.. Tour duration: approx 30 minutes. Days and times: daily, 10am, 10:30am, 11am, 11:30am Location: Circle of Sand, Town Square Lawn
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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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