“Yano”, I thought, “yano, it'll be difficult to take pictures when the flies are at rest on my face”. Yano? I was wrong.
The flies of Ayers Rock and surrounds are persistent local residents. After a refreshing breakfast (click here) and evening canape situation practically coated with the l'il buggers (like panko breadcrumbs, but darker and more mobile), I couldn't face another snacking opportunity infiltrated with flying protein.
I discovered that the much posher hotel (posher than the Outback Pioneer), the catchily named ‘Sails in the Desert', had a restaurant called Ilkari.
In my enthusiasm, I was an hour early for my buffet supper experience, and took some time to wander the glorious interior, cooled by functional air conditioning.
Even the carpets are informed by the pointilism of Aboriginal art traditions.
Some lovely seats to relax. I could do with one now.
Ilkari offers a dinner buffet – three courses. Starter and dessert are selected from cold buffet counters and the main is freshly made.
I started with a little chicken caesar and rye bread and other bits to try.
My main course was a tinsy bit of rib-eye beef and a piece of salmon with ONE potato (hello?) and a piece of broccoli. Yum.
Other options were available:
The hot food (main course) was prepped in an open/central kitchen area.
Lots of people were eating cheese as a starter. To each their own! The weather was so hot, I wasn't in the mood for cheesiness.
The scale of cold meat options!
There were even oysters available. I'm not a fan anyway, but would I trust these in the heat?
Prawns were available (I'm not a fan) and lots of different salads.
Now this I DO appreciate – lots of types of freshly made bread.
Desert was available from little fridges stocked with morsels of cheesecake or fondant. Or this enormous chocolate fountain. I'm wary of these things anyway (and I don't rate Australian chocolate at ALL – sorry Aussie friends!) and I could see the odd local flying geezer doing a backstroke through the pool of chocolate at the bottom.
No in so many ways.
I was very happy to have a meal that featured some salad and fresh veggies and didn't mind the high-ish cost. Back outside, the temperature had dropped to a balmy 32 degrees and people were still coming back from tours. Would you be up for touring the base of Uluru on a camel? After my experience of elephant riding in India in 2017 and a disastrous horse-rearing-drama in New Zealand in 2012, I'll stick to Shanks's Pony for now.