The Tali Wiru dinner is an amazing experience you can have when visiting Australia’s Red Centre. However – is it worth the price tag that comes along with it? I think so, yes. Read on to find out more.
A holiday to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is one trip where you shouldn’t penny pinch.
Keeping in mind what you’ve paid to fly and house yourself there, you may as well make the most of the experience!
We certainly didn’t when we visited, particularly as the occasion was for my Mum’s 60th.
Regardless, almost every tour we booked blew us away, due to the level of care and detail prevalent. Particularly, Tali Wiru.
Originally booking onto the Sounds of Silence dinner, our minds changed after talking to someone in the Yulara post office.
According to her, Tali Wiru is an unforgettable experience and if you can do it, you should.
Is Tali Wiru Worth It?
Tali Wiru hadn’t crossed my mind as an option for Mum’s birthday night, previously.
This was either because I missed it at the time of booking, or had blanched at the price and blocked it out of my memory forever.
However, after hearing the account of the ladies at the post office, we made a last minute switch.
I am so glad that we did.
Tali Wiru is tooted as being an intimate dining experience.
Unlike Sounds of Silence, which I hear 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.
The maximum number for a group is 20 – I believe ours numbered at around 16.
So, what can you expect from your Tali Wiru dining experience? I’ve outlined ours below, to give you some sort of an idea.
Read more: Tips For Travelling to the Red Centre
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 from Bristol is waiting for us at the bottom, with a tray of hot towels. A necessity for summer rather than the middle of winter, but a nice touch nonetheless.
We follow her up the hill, where a man in a flannel shirt and Akubra is playing the Didgeridoo in front of the unlit campfire.
One of our two other waiters for the night, a charming Frenchman, comes forward to present us with 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.
As I sip on my champagne, I observe our surroundings.
The site is two tiered, with us stood upon the second level.
The campfire looks out to Uluru, which 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 a 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 cannot wait to see how the evening will unfold.
The Canapés Are Served
No sooner are we there, when the canapés are served.
We are first presented with Emu with Prosciutto Crostini. I have never sampled Emu before and I am not sure why I’ve waited 26 years of my life to do so.
It is melt in your mouth delicious.
This is followed by Seared Scallops (always a good choice), Blue Cheese Tart with Truffle Honey and Braised Pork Belly with Pickled Cucumber Salad.
I keep thinking “this is the best thing I have ever eaten!” and then have my socks blown off by the next offering.
Read more: 12,300 Steps Around Uluru
The Mood is Set and Drinks Are Poured
We are urged to gather around the unlit campfire, where the man playing the Didgeridoo tells us of the history of the instrument.
We discover that “Didgeridoo” wasn’t the original name; it was called different things all over the country, but his descendants had referred to it as the “Yidaki”.
I have studied Aboriginal culture for my entire thirteen years of education, yet this is the first I am hearing of this!
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 Peninsular, which excites me to no end as I had driven through there the previous week.
We Begin to Eat
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 the Kangaroo Rillettes and for Mum, 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, but both opted to go back to the Pinot Noir.
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.
Read more: The Best Ways to Experience Uluru
For dessert, Mum orders the Steamed Quandong Puddings and I, the Australian Cheese Platter – there ain’t no cheese like Australian 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.
The dining experience is top notch 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.
On a personal level, my Mum and I very close. She is my best friend, one of a small collection of people that I could be around forever and never ever get sick of.
Unfortunately, as we live in different states, I don’t get to see as much of her as I would like.
This trip is a chance for us to catch up and actually spend some time together.
Having a special experience like this to share between us acts as a guarantee that this is a holiday that will be forever seared in our memories, for all the right reasons.
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 are led to the monster truck/coach and taken back to our respective hotels.
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 dining experience.
Have you dined at Tali Wiru? What did you think of the experience?