The locals, many in pyjamas were out in force around the rock taking photographs and immersing themselves in the unusual vista of rain on the Rock. (Uluru)
Only five per-cent of the locals and one per cent of tourists have witnessed rain on the rock and the ensuing cascading waterfalls.
It was a huge disappointment to learn it was raining in Uluru but this turned out to be a massive plus as we were admitted to the one per- cent club and the falls dotted around the rock turned out to be colour changing and spectacular. The southern side at Kuniya was even more impressive. You can drive around the Rock in 20 minutes and the incessant rain dictated this was the way to go.
The local media, radio, television and newspapers had a great time with the story highlighting how infrequently this event happens and making it an even more important phenomenon for visitors.
The properties that make up Uluru are owned and managed by Voyagers. It is an Indigenous co- operative founded in the mid 80’s and the hotel/resorts were designed by renowned architect, Phillip Cox. Sails in the Desert was the first Resort Hotel in Australia to adopt an indigenous theme. The profits from all the operations go back into indigenous training. Currently 35 per cent of the workforce is indigenous and the aim is to increase this to parity nationally as soon as possible.
There are a number of not for profit operations including shops and cafés in the complex and the profits are turned back into the business. The Kulata Academy Café in the centre of the small but only shopping centre makes great toasted Panini’s. Double beef, cheese and tomato is a winner.
The accommodation is tiered from top of the range, Sails in the Desert to Desert Garden and then there is the Outback Pioneer. Shared a Saturday night BBQ there with some lovely and lively people which was a great experience. Desert Garden’s Silver Service restaurant the Arnguli Grill caters for all comers with its new menu featuring a unique entrée platter of crocodile, emu, wallaby and kangaroo. For mains there are many cuts of steak and fish, chicken and ribs are also popular. Accompanied by some piped light background jazz and a bottle of premium Australian wine a dining experience doesn’t get much better. Jane (don’t mention Tarzan) was our waitress and like many of the holiday makers who came for a week are still there 20 and 30 years later.
A new product receiving rave reviews is the Field of Light which can either be undertaken as the sun rises or of an evening. The exclusive dining experience combines the award winning Sounds of Silence dinner under the outback sky with the Field of Light installation. Imagine a sunset over Uluru, a three course bush tucker meal, premium Australian wines and beers and a walk through the fabulous Field of Light. Put all these ingredients together and it becomes a once in a lifetime experience.
Written by John Savage