This story originally appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of Elite Traveler.
What images does Australia conjure up in your mind? White-sand beaches and epic surfing? Barren Outback, the wilderness of the bush and huge mountain ranges? Beautiful islands teeming with native wildlife among lush foliage, or the Great Barrier Reef? The vast continent has all this and so much more—and the relaxed, friendly Australians welcome you as if you’re an old friend, even if it’s your first visit Down Under.
Longitude 131°, Yulara, Northern Territory
Adjacent to the otherworldly Ayers Rock, Longitude 131° is more of a once-in-a-lifetime experience than a luxury accommodation (although it certainly is that, too). Ayers Rock, also known as Uluru, changes color in the rising light of dawn from a rusty orange to a brilliant red, and you can witness this magical spectacle from the
comfort of the Dune Pavilion’s king-size bed, as well as views of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. As you’re in the desert, it can understandably get rather hot in the daytime — cool off in the pavilion’s plunge pool that overlooks the Outback, or with an ice-cold drink from the bar stocked with your favorite tipples. While this is a landscape you most definitely want to explore (try the walk through Walpa Gorge or a guided stroll along the base of Uluru), the views from the pavilion will perhaps see you spend a little more time indoors than you’d expect. The floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the two-bedroom space bring in those ethereal vistas, and the decor pays homage to the surroundings with Tasmanian Blackwood and artwork from local indigenous artists. When the sun sets, it can get cooler — enjoy it as you soak in the deep tub that overlooks the desert, or take it in from the outdoor deck’s daybed with a dancing fire warming your toes.
Into the wild
Longitude 131° has so many incredible excursions available that it’s hard to choose just one: camel tours, motorcycle rides, helicopter flights, outback cycling, art tours, and lunches and dinners in remote locations, such as on top of Mount Conner. Luckily, if you can’t choose just one, you can curate your very own itinerary and combine anything and everything your heart desires.