The ultimate Australian outback dining experience

It's a candlelit dinner with white starched napkins, wine and mouth-watering food, yet I'm sitting on top of a red sand dune in the middle of the desert in Australia's spiritual heart.

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 digeridoo.  This is the Tali Wiru dinner at Ayers Rock Resort, a very special Uluru dining experience unlike any other.

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 where you can see Uluru in all it's glory.  Wooden platters of canapes appear to tempt included seared scallops with native lemon myrtle butter, crostinis topped with emu proscuitto, tender braised port belly bites and blue cheese tarts with seductive truffle honey.

We perch around the campfire pit listening to the sound of a didgeridoo play ed by an Indigenous artist.

The dining area is a little further up the sand dune and its elegance amongst the red dirt is remarkable. 

The sky really lights up with colour as we take our seats and the chef sends out an amuse bouche of cauliflower espuma served with a 2014 Shaw Smith M3 Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills.  Premium Australian wines have been 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.

Chilled king prawns with a sweet corn mousse, native thyme dried heirloom tomatoes, a sprinkle of chopped chorizo and chive-scented oil is my entree choice.  My companions are enjoying rillettes of paroo kangaroo. with a beetroot and Davidson plum puree, topped with a wattle-see brioche wafer.

There's a choice of mains including wagu beef fillet from the Darling Downs accompanied by paperbark smoked onion puree and a wild mushroom ragu.  The Tim Smith Barossa Valley Shiraz is a great match.

The other main is a good-sized portion of toothfish with the sea salty flavour of warrigal greens  and a shaved fennel and samphire salad.

Dessert doesn't disappoint  with a steamed quandong pudding or coconut panna cotta on the list. The dessert wine is a 2011 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon from Bibul, Australia.

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.

Only 20 people can enjoy this experience each night and Vegetarian options are available for all courses.

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.

Tali Wiru

Ed+bK rating: Five star experience - It's not cheap but you won't find this combination elsewhere and it's very special.

Best tip:  This experience is only available from April 1 to October 15 each year due to the weather.

Bottom line:  The Tali Wiru dinner costs from $325 per person.

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

Kerry Heaney