What is it? A four-hour fine-dining experience on an Outback desert dune that overlooks the sacred Australian Indigenous landmark of Uluru and the distant domes of Kata Tjuta. Among the sheoaks and mulga trees, a maximum of 20 guests start the evening sipping and supping on champagne and canapés as the setting sun washes pink, purple and yellow hues over the red sandstone monolith. When the sun disappears, the star-strewn desert sky steals the show. Where is it, exactly? The dune is near the Ayers Rock Resort and the border of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a 1,326 sq km region in the southwest corner of the Northern Territory, close to the heart of Australia. It is as remote as it gets – the nearest town of Alice Springs is 440km away and it is nearly 2,000km to the Northern Territory’s main city of Darwin. Melbourne is 2,230km away, Sydney 2,840km. The lack of facilities on the dune is something of a challenge, the food being served from a small, tarp-covered open kitchen that accommodates just two chefs. What’s on the menu? Native ingredients – or bush tucker – inspired by the surrounding landscape and premium Australian produce (much of it coming overland from North Queensland and Western Australia) are woven into the four-course contemporary menu. Blue yabby caviar is served with clotted cream on a cuttlefish crumpet; beetroot is baked in spinifex grass and paired with goat’s cheese; buttery grilled scallops are spiked with pickled emu apple (“a cousin of the cranberry or muntrie,” according to chef); and wallaby jerky is served on crispbread topped with quandong (“a desert peach”). The feast ends on a sweet note, with tequila and desert lime gelato dolloped on coconut parfait. “Australian bush foods aren’t overpowering flavours so we’ve got to work them a bit more, but the good thing is they’re all super foods,” says sous chef Stephen Russell. “They’re all great for you.” Four hours is a long time if you’re bursting; what do we do if we need to “go”? There’s a toilet in a small corrugated iron building that is fitted out with a wooden stand, soy candles, fresh hand towels and hand moisturiser. What’s in the name? Tali Wiru means “beautiful dune” in the language of the Pitjantjatjara people. The Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people, who refer to themselves collectively as the Anangu, are the traditional landowners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Many of the ingredients used on the Tali Wiru menu, such as the quandong, are traditional Anangu bush foods. But is it more than just a dining experience? Yes; it’s a cultural immersion, too. As the sun goes down, an Anangu musician plays wistful tunes on a didgeridoo. When the stars come out, a storyteller armed with a laser points out constellations significant to Aboriginal astronomy, such as Emu in the Sky. Later, guests sit around an open fire, sipping on digestifs while listening to the desert at night. What else is news? From October 26, timed to coincide with the 34th anniversary of the return of Uluru to its traditional owners, the 800-metre climb to the top will no longer be allowed. Visitors will instead be encouraged to indulge in activities that celebrate the rock – and, in turn, its rightful owners – from a respectful distance; rise early for a sunrise breakfast and a 12km Segway tour around the base of Uluru;join a Maruku Arts’ dot-painting workshop or “go bush” on Kata Tjuta’s 7.5km Valley of the Winds walk. Tali Wiru will be closed by October 26 (the season runs from March to October 15), but those visiting then can instead book Sounds of Silence, a less exclusive dinner set on a different dune overlooking Uluru. What’s the damage? A$375 (US$260) per person getsreturn hotel transport, food, paired wines, entertainment and a ticket to Field of Light, a display of 50,000 spindles of colour illuminating the desert. For A$795, a guest can arrive in style following a half-hour helicopter tour. Also operated by Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, Sounds of Silence is more affordable (from A$225), but expect more people and buffet service.