Here’s part 2 of my Uluru review. The first part was on Uluru’s attractions, this time I’ll be talking about where we stayed, what we ate and what souvenirs we bought.
Ayers Rock Resort has the closest accommodation to Uluru. There’s a variety of accommodation suitable for different budgets, but some of the cheaper accommodation books out very quickly. We ended up at Desert Gardens Hotel, which is rated 4.5 stars but I think it may have been a bit generous. It came with a free buffet breakfast because we booked for 3 nights.
The beds were comfortable and the room was equipped with the standard amenities (bar fridge, kettle, hairdryer). However, some of the standard housekeeping things weren’t done, like replacing dirty mugs.
The rooms open to the outside, so the hotel does seem to have a mouse problem – a mouse came into our room and ate some of the unopened muesli bars in my bag! I think this problem could have been limited by some door snakes.
The air conditioning also refused to turn off on one of the nights, and the 10 am checkout was pretty annoying (but quite standard in Australia for some silly reason).
Because we were feeling stingy after spending so much on everything else, we mostly brought our own food with us in our baggage. There’s an IGA in Ayers Rock Resort which has pretty much everything you’d find in a city, but at steeper prices (think Sydney prices, but slightly higher). We cooked a lot of cup noodles with sliced bok choy and canned baby corn using just the hot water in our room, and ate a lot of fruit and cereal.
The buffet breakfast at Mangata at the Desert Gardens Hotel had pretty impressive variety – I was particularly impressed by the fact they had pho (well, a Westernised approximation), which was pretty much all I ate! They also had the standard continental breakfast offerings as well as very good chia seed puddings. My main complaint is that at peak times the service was friendly but inefficient, especially while waiting to be seated and for coffee and tea service, even though there seemed to be plenty of staff.
We also splurged one night on dessert at Arnguli, the slightly fancier restaurant at Desert Gardens. It was around $20 per dessert, and the service was fantastic. I had quite a lot of food envy seeing other people’s meals!
We also went to the Sounds of Silence dinner on one of the nights, and ate a few packed breakfast and lunches that were included in our tours (in the first Uluru post).
As well as the usual mass-produced touristy souvenirs, there’s a lot of art available for purchase at Uluru. I ended up buying quite a few things from Utopia Giftware, including a sunglasses case and a notebook. I also discovered some banksia scent pods which are a cool way of diffusing essential oils!
That’s all for my Uluru trip! I’m not sure where I’ll be heading next, but there’ll be reviews 🙂