It is our privilege to supply Cafe Ininti, which is nestled beneath one of the most iconic rock formations in the world. Two of our dedicated team Zoe and Dave took a flight to Aṉangu country to set up the equipment and help hone the local barista skills so they can start slinging delicious Five Senses brews to those taking a pilgramage to this awe-inspiring environment. Here is Zoe’s account of what she described as an “incredible trip”:

There’s a skid and a bump as the wheels touch down, the horizon shimmering like a mirage. The sun scorches down on the red earth, the bone-dry dunes roll on as far as the eye can see. Despite what they told you about the desert, the red centre teems with life. 

Small patches of green, tufts of grass dancing in the baked breeze, and purple wildflowers dot the landscape. Beneath the shadow of the wild, deep orange rock, there’s many stories to be told. Early summer rains drenched the plains only a week before, waterfalls cascading from the smooth heights, a perfect contrast. You see remnants of this in footprints, now cemented into the red clay, a path that’s been walked for thousands of years. The Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people are the traditional owners of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, the Aṉangu people who have spent countless years on these sacred lands. They welcome us…

Pukul ngalya yanama Ananguku ngurakutu (Yankunytjatjara welcome)

Pukulpa pitjama Ananguku ngurakutu (Pitjantjatjara welcome)

“This is Anangu land and you are welcome. Look around and learn in order to understand Anangu and also understand that our culture is strong and alive.”

Cafe Ininti sits beneath the rock, and the tall windows allow you to marvel at its beauty in the shade and cool, providing respite to tourists and locals alike. A delicious Crompton Road flat white or a Tightrope iced long black goes down a treat after exploring the paths that twist around Uluru. 

A door down from the cafe is the incredible Walkatjara art centre, where locals sit during the day and paint their Creation stories, as well as traditional aspects of desert life. Both of these incredible spaces are owned by the Mutitjulu community, and the opportunity to create and provide hospitality fits in seamlessly. These businesses create regular income for the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation and aim to keep the Aṉangu culture and knowledge strong for the future. This also provides employment and learning opportunities for the Aṉangu people.

Mutitjulu is a closed community, and we were lucky enough to be given permission to enter to install a coffee machine and provide training for nine of the local community members who had shown interest in the skill of making coffee. We spent time sharing knowledge and pouring flat whites together. At lunchtime, we sat and shared stew and damper as we listened to some of their most important Dreaming stories. 

Before the sun rose on our last day, we began at the Mala car park, and journeyed the entire rock, taking in the silence and listening to the land. Learning of the Tjukuṟpa stories and following the Iwara raised goosebumps across my arms, and another layer of respect for the history and culture of these lands. The story of Lungkata speaks of greed and dishonesty, and part of the reason it has always been dangerous to climb Uluru. Aṉangu people have always respected the rock by not climbing, and it brings peace to the community that it is now illegal to climb such a sacred space. The land has always been taken care of by the Aṉangu, and this was officially recognised in 1985 when the title deeds were returned to the Mutitjulu community. They now lease the land back to Parks Australia and jointly manage it to ensure its protection and culture.

It is the hugest privilege to be on Aṉangu country, and to be welcomed in order to support the Ininti cafe and the hospitality learning it can provide to local community members. Their focus is on fresh, daily prepared food and being mindful of enjoying the beautiful surroundings and the incredible people. They are a proud addition to the Five Senses Coffee family, and we cannot wait to watch them flourish, like the desert flowers so bright against the red, sacred earth. 

Uluru is a well-travelled journey for Australians and tourists alike, so make sure that you stop off at Ininti cafe and support the local community in their venture. To enjoy such incredible hospitality in such a stunning spot is a testament to their vision and determination to see the local community thrive on their lands, in the footsteps left by their ancestors. 

In the spirit of reconciliation, Five Senses Coffee acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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