When it comes to supplying a “true Aussie experience” I have to say the closest descriptive term for the AAT Kings Uluru Sunset & BBQ Dinner is “Aussie cattle experience”.
Right from the start you are herded, orders barked in a whip like fashion and food supplied in a sloppy haphazard way.
If you are looking for true Australian hospitality this is not the tour for you…
So for the purpose of review I’ll head back to the start…
We were picked up for our tour at the hotel. The bus was large an packed to the brim with pensioners who appeared to be part of a larger package tour. I soon learned this herd was soon to be know as “Nellie’s tour”.
While superficially friendly the tour guides were short sharp and staccato in deliver of factoids but you are essentially left to your own devices. The sacred nature of the land we were visiting was given a cursory glance but very little was shared as to the stories or wonder of our countries indigenous people…
The bus dropped us off for our intimate Uluru sunset experience to a viewing area shared with 6 other bus loads of people.
Our tour included champagne, beer or juice which was satisfactory. There was also a table that included 2 bowls of dips, one salsa, chips, cheese cubes and vegetables sticks to dip with. Essentially a preview of Aussie BBQ should you live in the suburbs and have a Coles or Woolworths nearby.
Tips for the photography is to separate from the crowd and move up the hill a little. This way you will not have numerous selfie stick toting fools incidentally photobombing your shots.
Uluru is stunning and it’s the highlight of the afternoon.
Once the sun has partially set (not fully) we were separated and herded to a different bus for the Aussie BBQ experience. This is hosted at the Uluru Cultural Centre about 10min drive from the sunset viewing point.
Normally this is held outdoors however as there was a storm was looming our meal was moved inside in the gift shop / cafe.
It would appear that there was one “leader” who appeared frantic busy seating people in a haphazard way, ignoring people who had been waiting, allowing the pushy and rude to be seated first.
As a result our group was hidden away in the corner that appeared to be well centered in the service blind spot. We were the last to be offered the opportunity to graze at the feed trough.
The Aussie BBQ experience is, well, a BBQ served with salad, “dessert” followed by tea and coffee.
The mains consisted of one steak cooked as you like it… once decided you were locked in and not allowed to check out the other food till your steak was ceremoniously served from a metal bain marie dish as the staff member wandered around questioning “medium rare?”
Nellies group appeared to be the darlings of the evening as they were served very quickly, they were finished their mains before we had to complain to be able to access the other food offerings as our steaks were not yet being cooked.
Other than steak they have a buffet with lamb sausages (these were good), prawns (I’m told were heavy on the garlic but good), chicken sticks that were clearly steamed and small portions of overcooked kangaroo.
The salad was terrible with a selection of 4 choice all looking sad and lifeless by the time we were “allowed” to access them. I say allowed as those who dared to try to get food before their steak was delivered were sent away and told to sit back down.
For those who love to drink there was plenty of bottled wine, beer and drunk people to enjoy these with.
Non drinkers could have tap water or canned soft drink.
Dessert consisted half a Lamington with fruit sauce and a line of whipped cream. Half a lamington. Half…
Tea and coffee was a serve yourself affair with Nescafé blend 43, Lipton’s tea or milo.
Once the cattle were fed all were herded outside to have a brief look at the stars… This had the chance to be a magical moment however it was cheapened by drunks falling over, thick accents talking over the tour guides shrill voice and the guides shrill voice.
Stars gazed upon the cattle was herded back onto the busses where kitch Australian music was played. This included convict favorites to help us to all remember the sacred Aboriginal land we were fortunate enough to visit.
Would I visit Uluru at sunset again? Absolutely. It’s stunning and truly a wonder of the world. Would I do it with AAT Kings? Ahh no.