From a bird’s eye view, Longitude 131° appears as a slender crescent of tents in an endless expanse of crimson earth and desert scrub known as Australia’s Red Centre. From one of its 15 luxury tented pavilions, the view is something quite extraordinary: the outback unfurls in every direction, and then rises up abruptly in the sacred, magical monoliths of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, once known as Ayers Rock and The Olgas. The entire lodge is built into the curve of a sand dune, invisible to the township where most tourists stay, isolated from everything but the raw beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Guests experience the magnificent interplay of the elements here, timing excursions for sunrise and sunset when the great rocks glow an ethereal red. They set out on daily adventures with inspiring, knowledgeable guides to learn about the desert flora and fauna, the original explorers of the outback, and the ancient spirituality and culture that imbue this land. They watch from their rooms as dawn light bathes Uluru and dine atop dunes under an unbelievable desert sky. Longitude 131° is the road less traveled to one of Australia’s most celebrated sites.
The experience guests have here is deeply Australian, in every sense of the word. The lodge itself seems built as a tribute to the sacred monoliths it looks out upon, but it is a tribute, too, to the traditional owners of this desert land, whose mythology brings meaning to these legendary sites. Guests explore the base of Uluru or venture between the towering domes of Kata Tjuta, led by exceptional guides who interpret the symbolism behind each site, recount the creation stories of the ancient inhabitants, and shed light on the Anangu culture that lives here still.
The lodge itself is built of the outback, using endemic species in its landscaping and taking care not to disturb the natural lay of the land. The very best ingredients sourced from around the nation figure strongly within the lodge’s daily menus, which is no small feat considering that it is located in the heart of a desert. The lodge pays particular attention to presenting the source of regional foods and explaining their cultural significance. From the architecture to the ingredients, this lodge has been developed thoughtfully to celebrate Australia’s cultural heritage in a sustainable way.
When you reserve your space through National Geographic Unique Lodges, you’ll be invited to join the executive chef in the kitchen and gain insight into how native ingredients and stories from the Anangu Dreaming are incorporated into the lodge cuisine philosophy. Learn the recipe to the outback-inspired dukkah or quandong jam or the lodge’s signature bread, made with ground native grass seeds.
Longitude 131° is designed with a minimal environmental footprint: each tented pavilion fits into the existing landscape and is built on stilts so it can be entirely dismantled and removed, leaving the desert as it was before. The lodge was built using energy-efficient design with guest tents constructed to enhance thermal and acoustic insulation and maintain a comfortable interior climate. Floors are insulated and covered in natural stone to provide cooling in summer and warmth in winter; and the main lodge area, the Dune House, was built into the side of a sand dune to maximize natural insulation, further reducing energy needs. Solar panels cover the roof and provide hot water for the kitchen and guest tents. Guests are provided with reuseable water bottles to reduce plastic waste.
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