Tali Wiru is award-winning candlelit table dining with starched white napkins and mouth-watering food set on a red sand dune. It is the ultimate in Australian Outback dining for just 20 people each time. The experience departs from Ayers Rock Resort and takes guests to watch a distant sunset over the majestic Uluru and the ruby domes of Kata Tjuta in Australia’s spiritual heart.

Australian Outback dining at Tali Wiru

The departing sun turns the sky a vibrant shade of red while I relax with a glass of Louis Roederer Brut and nibble canapes listening to the sounds of a didgeridoo. This is the Tali Wiru dinner at Ayers Rock Resort, a very special Uluru dining experience unlike any other.

Tali Wiru, meaning ‘beautiful dune’ in the local Anangu language, brings together the magic of fine dining under the Southern Desert sky. Instead of walls, this open-air restaurant has magnificent views of Uluru and the distant domes of Kata Tjuta, and for unique ambience, there’s the stillness of the desert at night.

This exceptional experience has won the Tourism Restaurant category at the 2021 Hospitality Northern Territory ALM Gold Plate Awards.  The hotly contested category recognises establishments and experiences which are promoted proactively to a tourism market. Tali Wiru also won this award in both 2018 and 2019.  The experience was also voted Restaurant of the Year both times.  

Staffed by an Indigenous team, Tali Wiru runs daily with an exciting menu featuring native bush ingredients complemented by premium Australian wines. 2022 marks the tenth season of this popular dinner.

Sunset from Tali Wiru. Photo: Kerry Heaney

The ultimate Australian outback dining experience starts with a drive

Our evening started with a pick up in one of the largest four-wheel drive vehicles I’ve seen.  It made for an almost bump-free, short ride along the unsealed desert road to a location away from the resort.

Then there was a stroll along a sandy path up the dune to a paved viewing area Uluru was revealed in all its glory.

This season’s menu features local Spinifex that is foraged daily by the Tali Wiru chefs, Green Ants that are wild-harvested in the Northern Territory as well as Desert Oak, Emu Apple, Freeze-dried Finger Lime and Illawarra Plums smoked using the traditional Indigenous method in Melaleuca.


Big outback dunes need a big bus that departs from Ayers Rock Resort. Photo: Kerry Heaney

What’s on the Tali Wiru menu?

In 2022 the ​Tali Wiru menu celebrates the diversity of Australian native ingredients with items sourced from across the country. There are green ants wild-harvested in the Northern Territory’s Top End, quandongs from Alice Springs, desert lime and saltbush from South Australia. You’ll also try desert oak pods, similar to those found in the dunes around Tali Wiru, wattle seed which is traditionally used in desserts and baking and pickled muntries,

Canapés include Blue Swimmer Crab with wasabi leaves, piccalilli and quandongs; Paroo Kangaroo Tartare; Gin Compressed Cucumber with green ant and celery salt and Pan Seared Scallops with Duck Foie Gras and Desert Lime. The amuse bouche is a Celeriac Espuma with truffle pearls, black garlic and macadamia nuts.

Entrées include Port Lincoln Kingfish Sashimi with pickled muntries, torched scampi, quandong coulis and native warrigal greens; Boston Bay Pork Belly with green ant gin-infused fennel, Kakadu plum compote, caramelised Davidson plum and creamy cauliflower; and Black Rice Truffle Risotto.

Mains include Wagyu Beef Fillet with aged king brown mushrooms; Glacier 51 Toothfish with desert lime, and a lemon myrtle and caper cream; and Organic Miso Eggplant with seablite, lemon myrtle goat curd and rosella powder.

You’ll finish with desserts such as Desert Lime Brulee with a wattleseed meringue or Textures of Chocolate with quandong and blackberry compote, vanilla fairy floss, wattle seed gelato and hot chocolate sauce. There’s also a delicious cheese option of Monforte Cheese with Granny Smith apple, quandong compote, truffle bush honey and wattleseed lavosh. 

Campfire didgeridoo

We perch around the campfire pit listening to the sound of a didgeridoo played by an Indigenous artist as the sun starts its descent.  This is one of those moments that will be etched into my memory.  I can see the dining area a little further up the sand dune, and its elegance amongst the red dirt is remarkable.

Sunset in the outback

The sky really lights up with colour as we take our seats, and the chef sends out an amuse bouche and the first of the premium Australian wines matched to each of the four dining courses.

When the sun departs, it takes the world’s warmth with it. Gas heaters go a long way towards keeping me cosy but I’m glad I dressed with extra layers and when the offer of a poncho comes later in the night I grab it quickly. It’s like having a warm tent around me, and I’m very comfortable with that.

Watching the sunset on Uluru. Photo: Kerry Heaney

Delectable outback dining

Tali Wiru runs daily until 15 October 2021 and is limited to just 20 guests each evening.

As a bonus, guests also receive a pass to the stunning Field of Light, Uluru installation to use during their stay at Ayers Rock Resort.

Here’s the Outback kitchen. Photo: Kerry Heaney

No electricity for outback dining

One of the most amazing parts of the night is a visit to the camp kitchen, which has provided the feast. There’s no electricity here, so everything has been prepared on a barbecue.

It all ends with a warming cup of hot chocolate around a roaring fire while I listen to an Indigenous presenter who shares his culture with the group.

Getting there

Tali Wiru is a special dining event offered by Ayers Rock Resort at Uluru. It is a five-star experience and priced accordingly, but you won’t find this special combination elsewhere. More about Tali Wiru

Best tip:  This experience is only available between April and mid-October each year due to the weather.

Bottom line: The Tali Wiru dinner is priced at $385 pp, fully inclusive of return hotel transport, table d’hote menu, matched wines and entertainment. Minimum age 15 years.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Ayers Rock Resort.

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