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Longitude 131

Image credit © Longitude 131°

Holidays with Kids checks into Longitude 131°

Uluru, NT

Andrew Mevissen and his daughter discover a way to connect with the heart of Australia – in style at Longitude 131°.

Every Australian should experience the magic of Uluru at least once, so when my daughter said she would like to feast eyes on the great rock instead of having a party for her 21st birthday, I thought I would indulge her wish in a very special way with a stay at the luxurious outback camp, Longitude 131°.

A recent $8 million facelift of this property, nestled in Australia’s spirited heartland, has further elevated Longitude 131°’s standing as one of Australia’s premier wilderness lodges. Nestled discreetly amid spinifex-cloaked dunes, with peerless views of Uluru from every safari tent, this world-famous desert sanctuary welcomes families with children 10 and over for an unforgettable sojourn together, savouring the spiritual power of this most compelling of Dreamtime places.

Longitude 131

Image credit © Andrew Mevissen

Fast facts:

Traveller: Andrew Mevissen

Room: One of 16 luxury tented pavilions, accommodating two people, with one rollaway bed permitted per tent. Children 10 and over welcome.

Address: Uluru, Central Australia, NT

Family factor: Sharing the magic of the Rock and Dreamtime legends with your family in live-it-up style.

Longitude 131

Image credit © Longitude 131°

Stay

Each pavilion, capped by a sweeping, white canvas canopy, is unlike any tent your family may have holidayed in before, offering a ‘swag’ of mod cons, headlined by much-welcomed air-conditioning. The sumptuous bed (can be split in twins), leather armchairs, timber tables, organic linens, luxurious throws and Indigenous artwork fuse to reflect the ochre-hued palette of the desert which cradles each tent. The bathroom – complete with rain shower – is deluxe, as is the outdoor terrace with day/night beds and propane fireplace to enjoy the stunning, nightly star show. City kids may never have seen so many stars before!

There are treats for the whole family in the luxe, complimentary and constantly replenished mini-bar, including authentic champagne, premium beers, wine and spirits, soft drinks and juices, deluxe cheeses, chocolate treats and gourmet cookies. There’s also a coffee machine and premium, loose-leaf teas.

Ambient music plays on entry to soothe the soul and there’s no TV, because why would you want the kids to watch TV when your tent offers one of the most amazing views in Australia? Uluru can be seen from every angle with my favourite being resting my head on the oversized pillows on the bed while gazing at the majestic rock.

There are also thoughtful touches, handy for families, such as daypacks, jackets, torches, insect sprays, sunscreens and lip balms for days spent exploring the outback. There are also plush bathrobes, daily housekeeping, evening turndown service (every parent’s dream-come-true), a music system and wireless internet.

Ideal for families is the recently added Dune Pavilion, modelled on an Australian homestead, which accommodates four people (plus one rollaway bed for a fifth person), with the bonuses of a private plunge pool, desert-view bathroom and bathtub.

Longitude 131

Image credit © Longitude 131°

Camp features

Warm, personal greeting, with water, at Ayers Rock Airport and luxury van transfer to Longitude’s secret location among the dunes away from the main resort

Mounted mist jets refresh guests outside reception and by the pool with fine sprays of water – an Insta-worthy novelty for the kids!

The staff may be friendly and relaxed but they are also devilishly efficient, seemingly knowing what you want to drink or eat before you do. Don’t let your children get used to that!

The air-conditioned Dune House is the guest hub, offering a stylish lounge and restaurant surrounded by Indigenous artworks and the open bar where any beverage you can think of is available, gratis.

There’s an enticing, billabong-like swimming pool, surrounded by deck chairs and flanked by a free, help-yourself mini-fridge with soft drinks or otherwise.

For the parents, there’s a luxe spa sanctuary with Indigenous-inspired treatments

Our favourite, go-to-spot was the new, elevated Dune Top plunge pool, sun deck and another free drinks fridge overlooking the entire property, Uluru, Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and a great swathe of desert. The sweeping panorama and overwhelming stillness from this special hideaway high on a dune was unforgettable.

Longitude 131

Image credit © Andrew Mevissen

Eat

All meals and beverages are included in the tariff, so your tribe, hungry after a day of exploration, can feast on anything they like. The focus is on quality Australian produce and local flavours to mirror the outback location. Dishes are infused with Indigenous flavours, with Longitude’s chefs using wild spices, muntries, quandong and native berries to champion the flavour of the desert. Dishes that disappeared quickly from my plate included smoked kangaroo fillet with Jerusalem artichokes, green beans and Daintree chocolate; and Cape Grim eye fillet with kumara, saltbush and quandong relish. The kitchen’s mission is to source produce that is thoughtfully grown and ecologically maintained and harvested. Longitude’s wine list also features varietals from Australia’s finest wine regions. The eager-to-please chefs also cater for any diet or special requests. Your culinary journey at Longitude continues even after you check out, with chefs sending the family off with a gourmet lunch pack to enjoy on the flight home.

Play

Included in your stay are exclusive explorations of Uluru-Kata Tjuta, escorted by friendly Longitude guides passionate about the natural and cultural landscape. The tours range from three to five hours in length so they’re not too long, with ample time left for kids to enjoy the pool at the camp. Children will be fascinated by the Dreamtime stories and there’s a bit of walking involved in several tours too, so they can burn off energy. Our two-night stay featured five ‘experiences’, beginning with a close-up view of Uluru at sunset, chilled glass and canapés in hand, followed by Uluru’s now famous Field of Light display, a spectacular solar-powered exhibition comprising 50,000 bud-like stems that hauntingly glow as night falls. Dawn next day saw us exploring the weathered gorges of Kata Tjuta while in the late afternoon, Uluru’s secret caves and waterholes beckoned, again with sunset drinks and canapés. On our final day, we joined Longitude’s own sunrise walk around part of Uluru’s base to hear the fascinating creation stories of the Anangu people who own this land. Families will find the weather milder and more comfortable between April and September.

Longitude 131

Image credit © Longitude 131°

For families

Longitude 131° offers older families a luxuriously magical base from which to experience, together, the spellbinding allure of Uluru. Memories and discoveries made here last a lifetime.

Find

Alice Springs is a 4.5-hour drive away on sealed roads. Virgin Australia offers direct flights from Sydney to Uluru, daily, with connections from other cities.

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