I recently was fortunate enough to visit Uluṟu. I was even more fortunate to visit in summer and have rain! And Sydney-like temperatures!
When planning this trip, I wanted an experience as authentic and local as I could get. When researching, I was surprised at the lack of information about visiting the area. There is very little useful tourist information about Uluṟu. Every site seems to be pushing tours and all the same hotels and restaurants. Once you visit, you understand why. It is all owned by the same company, with exception of some of the tour companies, which are reliant on guests of the hotels.
I can highly recommend Voyages Desert Awakenings Tour ($163 per person plus Park Entry Ticket). The guide is really knowledgeable and the group is small, never more than 15 people. Learning about the rich history, sacred spots and natural beauty made Uluṟu come alive through context, stories and personal impressions. I really loved seeing the art on the walls of Uluṟu and the waterfalls and full watering hole, which are not normal in summer.
I also went to the Voyages Sounds of Silence dinner ($185 per person) and can not highly recommend this experience. It is a massive group of people, the food is a mediocre buffet and we had no stars and a little rain, not Voyages’ fault. We were unable to cancel our reservation without losing the $185 per person we had paid, totally in Voyages control. If you are interested in this dinner, be aware that they have 4 very large sites and the capacity to serve 600 people each night. Unless this is your dream experience, I would advise booking when you arrive when you can make an informed booking and not be out $185 should the weather not be perfect for alfresco dining.
In the town center, there are several restaurants with something for everyone. Additionally, each hotel has a restaurant or two and are open to the public. There is also a small grocery store which has all the staples as well as some gourmet treats. We expected the prices to be inflated as we are in the middle of nowhere, but the prices were similar to or less than prices in Sydney.
My best tip for visiting Uluṟu is to rent a car and do it yourself. You can rent a car at the airport and create your own tours. Stop in at the grocery store & pack a picnic to take to the sunset viewing area within the national park. Pick up some muffins and create your own sunrise tour. The resort is close to the national park and it is easy to get around, allowing you to create the experience just right for you!
My biggest piece of advice for visiting Uluṟu is to respect the Traditional Landowners, their culture, requests and sacred spaces. Every day people disregard the sanctity of Uluṟu and climb up the rock face and take photos of sacred places around Uluṟu. Please have respect. Enjoy Uluṟu, feel the magic of the area, see the beauty in the surrounds and experience what is right before you.