Day one of the SSAA Uluru Summit is done and dusted, and I think it’s probably fair to say that everyone’s having a good time. With many delegates and service members arriving several days before the conference relaxation and exploration was on the cards. The unique location meant that even before the larger contingent of delegates arrived today (on some seriously delayed flights) there was already a collegiate feeling throughout the venue; members bumping into each other by the pool, at the Outback Pub or at the aptly named Ayers Wok.
Uluru put on some fantastic weather for us today with a beautiful sunrise over the rock (which can be viewed from a lookout just a few hundred meters away from the Sails in the Desert Hotel). The sunshine continued, allowing us to welcome our arrivals with a cool drink and a bright lunchtime buffet by the pool. With over 140 attendees people quickly got chatting to one another before a portion of the group headed off to the dot painting workshop in the town square. The dot painting was a fantastic way for members to get involved with the locals and soak up some of the rich cultural heritage the site has to offer. Participants got to keep their paintings as a memento and everyone returned with an interesting and unique painting, even the adults!
Tuesday evening saw us head off to the award-winning Sounds of Silence Dinner, proudly sponsored by Visy Boxes and More. After a bumpy bus ride guests stepped off the bus into the vivid red sand and wound their way up the crest of a hill through the desert. Majestic views of both Uluru and Kata Juta greeted guests, enhanced by a smoky fog from back burning at Kata Juta. As the sun began to sink delegates enjoyed drinks, bush tucker inspired canapés and a traditional dance by the local Anangu people. With dusk beginning to fall we wound our way down to the Sounds of Silence Dining site and enjoyed a delicious three course meal as well as an insightful talk from local Star-guide Steve. As the temperature continued to drop guests borrowed ponchos and gathered by the fireside with port and dessert to exchange stories. Not long afterwards the coaches appeared out of the darkness to take us back to the hotel.
Bring on day 2 of the SSAA Summit!