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Putting Bush Tucker on the Menu

Many consider food to be one of the main reasons for travelling and in selecting a new destination to visit. Visitors who come to see Uluru can complement their quintessential Red Centre experience with desert-influenced dining that puts the focus squarely on native flavours.

Putting Bush Tucker on the Menu

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Guest post by Toni Broome

There’s a force that draws visitors towards Uluru, the iconic 300 million-year-old rock in Australia’s red centre. The drama of the UNESCO World Heritage listed site, the connection to the land and being our most recognised landmark make it an essential destination for both domestic and international visitors.

Uluru and surrounding scrub

What may surprise some is that there are many reasons to visit the region besides Uluru itself. Many consider food to be one of the main reasons for travelling and in selecting a new destination to visit. To experience the local delicacies, different ways of preparing a familiar ingredient or to try something completely new is one of the joys of stepping out of your familiar comfort zone.

The food culture in Australia can be hard to describe, there’s an abundance of fresh and delicious ingredients and a melting pot of dishes and cooking styles to try. Bush tucker, as we discovered in Uluru, is something that’s truly unique, delicious and Australian.

The term bush tucker is given to ingredients that have been used in both daily life and celebration by Australia’s indigenous people as part of their culture that dates back over 40,000 years. It feels right that this is the destination to be introduced to the diversity of these special foods.

Bush Tucker Close Up

The addition of bush tucker ingredients onto the menu at Ayers Rock Resort was an important step but Executive Chef, Vanessa Grace, and the culinary team at Ayers Rock Resort have taken it much further. They’ve invested time and resources studying them, experimenting and creating dishes that really draw out the unique attributes of each one, allowing diners to enjoy a gourmet experience with a difference.

Bush Tucker Fine Dining

Sourcing indigenous ingredients in a way that will support local communities, be gentle on the environment and sustainable over the long term requires a commitment. When you add an ingredient such as native green ants to the menu at a market price as high as $700 a kilo you need to be confident in your ability to showcase them. There is a reason for that high price though and it ensures that commercial use remains sustainable. The ants are gathered as they have always been, with a big stick and a brave attitude, these tiny delicacies pack a painful bite.

Another feature that stands out about the resorts bush tucker menu is the dedication to making it accessible to all visitors. The experience is available across all dining options around the resort ensuring everyone has the opportunity to try it during their stay.

Foodies will also want to get along to one of the daily free activities such as the Bush Food Experience for an opportunity to see, taste and cook with local ingredients or the Garden Walk with an indigenous guide to find out more about the desert garden and how the plants are used in food and medicine.

The ultimate dining experience here is Tali Wiru which takes place on an isolated sand dune with a view out to Uluru in one direction and Kata Tjuta in the other. During the course of the evening you’re introduced to the indigenous ingredients in their raw state by the knowledgeable chefs and then as each appetiser and course is served you try them again in a creative menu. Each dish is constructed to respect and put a spotlight on the quality and attributes of each ingredient and bring them together in harmony. There are no gimmicks here for the sake of inclusion. Dishes such as pressed wallaby with fermented quandong, the native peach and puffed ancient grains or a dessert of textures of chocolate with Davidson plum, lemon myrtle, quandong and hot chocolate sauce leave you in no doubt that bush tucker firmly belongs on a fine dining menu.

Tali Wiru Dining with Vew of Uluru

Bush tucker comes in many forms and to suit all tastes. After an active morning walking the Uluru 10 km base walk or hiking the Valley of the Winds at Kata Tjuta some relaxation and a cool drink might be on the agenda. There are many bush tucker inspired options to choose from such as the crisp and refreshing Red Rock Negroni enhanced with the flavours of desert fruit and herbs. Of course all preference are catered and interesting alcohol free mocktails are also available.

One thing is clear, Ayers Rock Resort has earned its reputation for exceptional cuisine and has set itself apart for its role in reintroducing traditional bush tucker foods to the Australian menu.

About Toni Broome

Toni Broome is one part of the '2 Aussie Travellers' duo, a husband and wife travel & food blogger team. Listed as one of the Top 20 Australian Travel Blogs and Websites to Follow in 2018, they started the blog to share inspiration and information needed for their readers to create their own independent travel plans. They live by the philosophy that "you shouldn't wait for holidays to enjoy yourself, explore and experience new things. Get out, take short breaks and get away for the weekends. Even a day trip can turn up a completely new experience."


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Uluru Bicycle Hire (Departure 1)

Take a morning ride around the base of Uluru by bicycle. The 15 kilometre self-guided journey is easily made within 3 hours and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Stop and explore the pure beauty of this spiritual and unique wonder of the world at your own pace. Once you have finished your ride, you are free to explore the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre. Includes return hotel transfers operated by Uluru Hop On & Hop Off. Children toddler seats and tag-a-longs available on request, subject to availability. Departure times: Return transfer from your accommodation by Uluru Hop ON Hop Off 7:15am December 7:45am February 8:30am March 9:30am October and November 10:00am September 10:15am 16-30 April and May 10:30am 1-15 April and June to August Duration approx. 4 hours

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
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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.

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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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Ayers Rock campground is located only 15km from Uluru and offers cabin accommodation, unpowered and powered sites for caravans, campervans, motor homes and camper trailers. Campground offers modern camping facilities and a playground, pool, supermarket and petrol station.
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Bush Food Experience

Learn about Australian and local native bush foods with a tasting of seasonal seeds, fruits and spices. Your knowledgeable guide will describe how for centuries the Indigenous people used the bush for food.  You'll find out about the uses of certain plants, fruits, grains and spices and about traditional food preparation methods. Enjoy a cooking demonstration of a recipe using some of the ancient native bush ingredients. Tour duration approx. 45 minutes. 

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.

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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.
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3 Day Best of Uluru Itinerary

Discover the best of Uluru and surrounds with once-in-a-lifetime tours and activities on this 2 night Best of Uluru itinerary. Witness the Field of Light art installation, watch as the sunrises over Uluru and Kata Tjuta and learn about Indigenous culture and traditions in Australia's spiritual heart.

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Enjoy this 2 night Luxury Uluru getaway and experience the unforgettable Tali Wiru dinner under the Central Australian desert night sky. Watch the sun rise over Uluru as the desert awakens and join various Indigenous activities at Ayers Rock Resort. This itinerary is suited to couples or two singles wanting an indulgent Outback stay.
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