Being gluten free in Uluru was pretty easy for me as I was invited to the fabulous Longitude 131. It’s a super-luxury outback resort and having only 15 luxury two-person tents and charged at a (staggeringly high) all-inclusive rate, they pride themselves on catering to guests individually.
It was a sensational couple of days but aside from the food-on-tap scenario, ie., ‘Could we have a cheese plate and a glass of wine each please – we’ll be by the pool….’, the food is definitely not what Uluru is all about. And being so far from everything except the desert (even Alice Springs is a good 450km away), the ‘local produce’ is fairly limited.
NB – these crackers were not gluten free..
The permanent ‘tents’ have white, dramatically pulled ceilings, wooden floors and stylish furniture. Built on stilts, they wobble in the red earth when the wind blows. While the resort restaurant was great at providing gf meals, the tours provided by the resort were not so well-equipped – and when your tour starts at 4.20am and there are nothing but a few grapes between then and 11.30am, it’s noted!
We did stop once at ‘Sails in the Desert’ which is next down in the Uluru resort pecking order and it has a couple of restaurant options. I wasn’t enamoured with my thai curry but none of my fellow diners were impressed with their meal – I repeat – no one is there for the food!
As a travel experience, it feels pretty ‘rail-roaded’, with tours taking guests from resort doorstep to various points of interest and spoon-fed information, it’s more senior citizens bus trip than wilderness adventure. They do make a point of saying how dangerous it is to wander off though, apparently many people have died on and around the rock and even more at Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) where temperatures in the rock folds soar above 50°C. No doubt next time I’ll be roughing it – driving and camping; I wonder how different it will feel.
This was my heroic adventure – setting out to a knoll about 100 metres from our tent… maybe you knew this but things do grow in the desert and they’re scrubby, prickly things that make it tough going. I was excited to photograph this snake trail when I got there…. then I looked around and saw lots more and scooted back to my luxury tent like a frightened pony. Hard-arsed Aussie indeed.
A truly awe-inspiring place though and I was so so lucky to be able to go in such style – it’s not every morning you wake up to this: