Why the Tali Wiru experience at Uluru is worth the cost
Contemplating booking in for Tali Wiru at Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park? It’s amazing experience you can have when visiting Australia’s Red Centre. However – should you do it rather than the Sounds of Silence dinner? And is it worth the price tag that comes along with it? I think so, yes. Read on to find out more.
If there’s one holiday where you shouldn’t have to penny pinch, it’s a trip to Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park.
While it’s neither cheap to travel or stay in this resort, for many people its a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the flesh.
Tali Wiru, Uluru’s iconic and intimate dining experience comes with a hefty price tag. Is it worth the expense? Or should you choose to book a spot for the Sounds of Silence dinner instead?
If you have the funds and can justify the cost, I wholeheartedly recommend doing the Tali Wiru dinner.
My mother and I travelled to Australia’s Red Centre for her 60th birthday. We booked onto the experience to celebrate and it was a fantastic way to celebrate.
Tali Wiru is available to book April–October. Discover the best time to visit Uluru.
Review: is Tali Wiru worth it?
Tali Wiru is advertised as being an intimate dining experience.
Unlike Sounds of Silence, which has multiple sites around the resort, Tali Wiru takes place on a dune that is reserved only for it and Desert Awakenings, an early morning tour.
It has fantastic views of Uluru as its backdrop. You arrive before sunset, which is one of the best times to see the Rock.
The maximum number for a group is 20 – I believe ours numbered at around 16. This makes it far more intimate than the Sounds of Silence dinner.
So, what can you expect from your Tali Wiru dining experience? Here’s how ours went, to give you some sort of an idea.
Tali Wiru: The night begins
We are picked up half an hour before sunset by a hybrid coach/monster truck. This is a vehicle the resort has purchased to ferry around multiple guests and deal with the rough terrain of outback Australia.
From there we are driven to the dune.
A lovely waiter is stationed here, with a tray of hot towels, to wipe your hands.
We follow her up the hill, where a man in a flannel shirt and Akubra is playing the yidaki (didjeridu) in front of the unlit campfire.
One of our two other waiters for the night, comes forward to present us with a glass of champagne.
These turn out to be magical refilling glasses, as no sooner are we near the bottom of the cup, would he appear out of nowhere to top them up. Considering many high dining experience in Australia cost extra for accompanied drinks, this is value for money alone, if you ask me
The setting for Tali Wiru
As I sip on my champagne, I observe our surroundings.
The site is two tiered. We sit on the second level.
On the first is a campfire, which looks out to Uluru. The Rock in turn, is glowing red in the light of the setting sun.
A single toilet is behind us, not far away from the kitchen and beyond that, you can see the collection of rocks that is Kata Tjuta, also known as ‘The Olgas’.
Up a flight of stairs is the dining area – around five or six tables, each featuring its own gas heater. This is a necessity to ward off the chill of the winter desert nights.
I can’t wait to see how the evening will unfold.
Canapés are served
No sooner are we there, when the canapés are served.
First up – ‘Emu with Prosciutto Crostini’. It’s melt in your mouth delicious.
I don’t want to spoil what’s next on the menu (and also keeping in mind that it is mixed up from time to time), but everything is delicious.
I keep thinking ‘this is the best thing I have ever eaten!’ only to have my socks blown off by the next offering.
The mood is set & drinks are poured
We are urged to gather around the unlit campfire, where the man playing the yidaki tells us of the history of the instrument.
‘Didgeridoo/didjeridui isn’t the instrument’s original name. It has different names depending on where you are on Country. His descendants refer to it as the yidaki.
He leaves and we are summoned for dinner. Mum and I sit, studying the menu together.
There are three more courses to be served, with multiple options to choose from.
All sounded equally as appetising. Picking our meal looks to be one of the more difficult decisions we will make over the course of the next few days.
“I have a solution,” I say to Mum. “How about we each order something different, eat half and then swap plates?”
She thinks about it, then nods her head. I could tell she has weighed up the options and acknowledged that this is the best course of action for maximum taste sensation.
The attention to detail in the menu is top class.
Each dish is paired with a particular wine – although you can opt to have either red or white and they will cater for your needs.
Mum is a red wine woman and I found out a long time ago that white wine and I don’t mix, so we are happy to go with the recommended pinot noir.
As our waiter pours it into our glasses, she tells us that it is sourced from a vineyard in the Mornington Peninsula, in Victoria.
As I’ll later discover once I move to Melbourne, there’s plenty of great grapes in Victoria and this pinot is no exception.
Tali Wiru dinner: the feast begins
After the amuse bouche of ‘Cauliflower Espuma’ (I don’t like cauliflower but I could have kept eating this forever), our entrée is served.
I have selected ‘Kangaroo Rillettes’. Mum’s presented with some delicious king prawns on a delightfully tasty sweetcorn mousse.
We each take our first mouthful and from then, pretty much inhale the food off our plates.
This would happen again and again over the course of the evening.
What follows are the mains of toothfish and gruyere soufflé.
We are presented with a shiraz next, but both opt for that delicious pinot next round.
I have blabbed about it being Mum’s birthday to the waiter and they very sweetly send over a tray with a delicious macaroon upon it.
For dessert, Mum orders a pudding and I go for cheese.
These are paired with a delicious dessert wine and glass of port. I’m not keeping count of how many glasses of alcohol I have consumed and by this point in the night, I can barely see straight.
Once the meal is done, we gather around the now-lit campfire.
We sip on wattle-infused hot chocolate and cognac, while an First Nations member of staff tells us stories about the night sky.
The night ends with a round of “Happy Birthday” for Mum, before we’re bundled back into the monster truck/coach and are taken back to our very comfortable room at the Desert Gardens Hotel.
How much does Tali Wiru cost?
The experience is priced at:
- $385 /adult (for travel between 1 April 2022–31 March 2023)
- $420 /adult (for travel between 1 April 2023–31 March 2024).
Not cheap, but good to keep in mind that this is inclusive of:
- transport to and from the venue.
- yidaki performance and the night sky presentation.
Plus, you get to see Uluru at sunset. So, when you break it down, it’s not as upsetting a cost.
In conclusion: is the Tali Wiru dining experience worth it?
Tali Wiru is definitely worth considering, for several reasons.
The food is fantastic and I could not fault the wait staff.
The setting is perfect. We felt like the only people in the world, out there in the desert.
I am so glad we went for the Tali Wiru dinner over Sounds of Silence. I am sure we would have been delighted either way, but it is well worth shelling out the extra money for this intimate fine dining experience.
Have you experienced Tali Wiru? What did you think of it?