Sunday. D Day. Departure day. As the day dawned I began to feel bereft yet I was still in that extraordinary environment. I had no time to revisit Uluru or Kata Tjuta but there was time to revisit the town centre and the cultural outlets nearby, this time with feet less sore (my visit there would be early in the day) before travelling to the Connellan airport and flying home to Hobart.
When my luggage was packed and stored at the hotel’s reception, I boarded the town shuttle bus and headed off to the Town Centre, with Betty expecting to take a later bus because her flight to Cairns was leaving later in the afternoon.
Methodically I worked my way through all the clothing and souvenir shops admiring the quality of the products and the creativity shown with many. I spent some time in the IGA supermarket and left with a prepared salad that I could eat for lunch. Then I ordered breakfast at the Kulata Academy Café . At Kulata, trainees of the Ayers Rock Resort’s National Indigenous Training Academy take the first step in their hospitality career. Here, trainees learn a range of skills in a supported environment to help prepare them for exciting careers in the hospitality industry. The Kulata Academy Café menu included a wide range of fresh sandwiches along with salads, coffee or tea with an array of cakes and pastries, and breakfast classics like fresh yogurt, smoothies and fruit options. The traffic flow within the café and the management flow for making an order, paying and receiving an order were most professional – and fast and accurate. Very impressive. ‘The resort displays an impressive commitment to training indigenous employees who now make up 36% of the workforce, and who also lead free cultural activities each day, including at the Wintjiri art gallery, and the Mani-Mani theatre, where local stories are told through song and dance.’ (Amelia Lester, The Age Good Weekend, mid 2017).
Passing the Mani-Mani theatre (too early in the day for it to be open) I walked through laneways to the Wintjiri Art Gallery adjacent to the Desert Sands Hotel. Contemporary art and craft are for sale. In addition, a large space to one side has been established as a museum. Drawings showing the underlying geological shape of the area, were displayed here.I exhausted the possibilities in and around the Town Centre and bussed back to my hotel.